VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu
WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
You'll never guess who wrote these awesome tracks! For this list, we'll be looking at pop hits written or co-written by well-known artists that are widely associated with someone else. Our countdown includes Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, and more!
Top 10 Hit Songs You Didn’t Know Were Written by Famous Singers
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 hit songs you didn’t know were written by famous singers.
For this list, we’ll be looking at pop hits written or co-written by well-known artists that are widely associated with someone else.
Did you know about any of these? Let us know which ones in the comments below!
#10: “Forget You” (2010)
Released in the summer of 2010, CeeLo Green’s “Forget You” was a huge success. It made the top ten in thirteen different countries, hit #2 in the United States and was certified 7x platinum. And while CeeLo gets all the credit, the man behind the song is Bruno Mars. Mars was part of a songwriting and production team called The Smeezingtons alongside Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine. The Smeezingtons produced the song and helped write it with CeeLo Green and Brody Brown. Since “Forget You” was released just one month after “Just the Way You Are,” its popularity was a good sign that Mars would rapidly ascend into pop culture history.
#9: “Get on Your Knees” (2014)
“Get on Your Knees” is a track on Nicki Minaj’s double-platinum selling The Pinkprint that features Ariana Grande. Since the two artists had previously collaborated on the top five tune “Bang Bang”, hype was quite high for this one. It also helped that The Pinkprint had many famous guest songwriters such as Beyoncé and Lil Wayne. “Get on Your Knees'” in particular was co-written by Katy Perry. Rumors and interviews hinted that she was originally going to be on this track with Nicki Minaj. But the wild success of “Bang Bang” may have led to Grande being featured on this 2014 song instead.
#8: “Islands in the Stream” (1983)
Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton
Arguably the best country duet in music history, “Islands in the Stream” went through a lot of popular hands before it was released in the summer of ‘83. The song was actually written by the Bee Gees, the popular disco trio that dominated the mid-to-late ‘70s. It was also co-produced by Bee Gees member Barry Gibb through his Gibb-Galuten-Richardson production team. Although it was offered to R&B legend Marvin Gaye, he passed on it. From that point on, it landed with Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. The Bee Gees eventually released their own version of the song on their 2001 compilation Their Greatest Hits: The Record.
#7: “Trust Fund Baby” (2018)
Why Don’t We
The Gold-selling single“ Trust Fund Baby” proves that the notion of boy bands like Why Don’t We are still alive and well. This American group’s first major single appeared on their debut album 8 Letters. However, fans might not be aware that the song couldn’t have been made without the involvement of pop superstar Ed Sheeran. He helped author the song with a writer named Fred and producer Steve Mac. Listeners can also hear him on the song itself providing background vocals. Thanks to the sheer songwriting talent Sheeran and his collaborators have, this quality tune eventually resulted in a Teen Choice nomination for Choice Song: Group.
#6: “Hypnotico” (2011)
This dance song from J Lo’s studio album “Love?” has quite a story behind it. Despite being performed by Lopez, the song was co-written by two very popular artists: Akon and Lady Gaga. At the time, Akon and producer RedOne had been working together and Lady Gaga was writing her debut album The Fame. Since Gaga knew RedOne from prior recording sessions, he flew her to Los Angeles to help write songs for an upcoming Tami Chynn record. They teamed up with artists like Akon to create “Hypnotico” as a single for an album. Unfortunately, Chynn’s release was eventually cancelled. When Lopez began working with RedOne, she discovered his unused “Hypnotico.” and decided to bring it back for her album.
#5: “Till the World Ends” (2011)
If you listen to the Brtiney Spears album, Femme Fatale, you’ll find a wickedly entertaining dance-pop track called “Till the World Ends”. It was a huge success for the popular singer that reached #3 on the Hot 100 and sold over three million units in the United States. The song was co-written and co-produced by Dr. Luke and Max Martin. They also had the help of pop superstar Kesha. In 2011, she told Vulture that writing “Till the World Ends” had given her the most pride. And we can definitely see why. Not just anyone can write a top five single for Britney freakin’ Spears!
#4: “Party in the U.S.A.” (2009)
In the late 2000s, country icon Miley Cyrus was switching from country pop to more radio-friendly pop rock. And while she experimented with the sound before “Party in the U.S.A.,” this song marked the point where she nailed the formula. Surprisingly, she apparently didn’t even like it that much. The tune was produced by Dr. Luke and written with help from Claude Kelly and pop star Jessie J. Although Jessie J had intended to release the song herself, she eventually decided that its upbeat pop sound wasn’t exactly her style and passed it along. Ironically, Cyrus didn’t expect it to be a big hit. Now it’s arguably one of her most well-known songs.
#3: “Breakaway” (2004)
Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway” was a fun folk pop tune that reached #6 in the United States and was even released as part of the Disney film “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.” But its life started back in 2001. When Avril Lavigne was writing songs for her debut album Let Go, she penned this song with Bridget Benenate and Matthew Gerrard. Although the pop punk artist intended to release it herself, she decided its folk sound didn’t fit with what she was working on. It was then given to Clarkson. While she intended to release it as a casual single, the song was a huge success. Clarkson not only included e it on her sophomore album, but to name the entire record after it.
#2: “This Is What You Came For” (2016)
Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna
After working on “We Found Love” and “Where Have You Been” together, Calvin Harris and Rihanna debuted the pulsing EDM track “This Is What You Came For.” It may be surprising to learn that this energetic rack was originally attached to Taylor Swift. She actually created the song with Harris and was originally credited under the Swedish name Nils Sjöberg. Swift chose this alias so her popularity wouldn’t overshadow the song. Harris later revealed on Twitter that he wrote and produced the music while Swift penned the lyrics. Aside from writing, Swift also appears in the song performing background vocals.
#1: “Irreplaceable” (2006)
This empowering R&B ballad had a whole team of songwriters. One of the superstars involved was Ne-Yo. After writing the lyrics to “Irreplaceable”, he intended on making it a country song. But after listening to the drum track, he decided to switch it up and make it an R&B tune. The song entered a bidding war of sorts with two different labels before it was eventually handed to Beyoncé. She then worked directly with Ne-Yo on the melody and vocal arrangements to turn the song into what it became. After an incredible journey, “Irreplaceable” became a #1 hit that was eventually certified 3x platinum in the United States.