Professional songwriting can be rough on the ego. You put all your heart and soul into a song, and someone else makes it a hit, with probably a large chunk of the general population completely unaware it was yours in the first place.
So that might be why the songwriters occasionally feel the need to, well, take their song back, as it were. Below, catch nine performances by songwriters performing the songs they made famous for other people.
Taylor Swift, ‘This Is What You Came For’
Swift wasn’t super up-front about the fact that she wrote her ex Calvin Harris’ song, but since she was outed as the co-writer, she’s been less shy about it. Above, she performs the song with considerably less EDM bombast at a concert in October.
Despite her best attempts to make sure no one sees her face, Sia’s achieved a considerable amount of fame on her own and as a behind-the-scenes songwriter. There’s a story that when she heard Rihanna’s version of “Diamonds,” the latter hewed to Sia’s demo version so closely that the Australian songwriting phenom thought they were her own vocals.
Bruno Mars, ‘All I Ask’
The best story about this song (that Mars co-wrote with Adele) is that he wanted to cut the “lovers” line, thinking it was a bit cheesy. Adele apparently shot him down: “She was like, ‘Nope. That’s what it has to be.'”
Lee Brice, ‘More Than a Memory’
Brice helped bring country superstar Garth Brooks back out of retirement in 2007 with this song, and he’s joined Brooks onstage for performances of it since then. But he’ll still bust it out solo-style, just because.
Katy Perry, ‘I Do Not Hook Up’
Perry wrote this song with a set of sliiiightly more risqué lyrics — “keep your thing in your pants” — before Kelly Clarkson (or her management) changed it to “keep your hand in my hand” for the latter’s version.
Pink, ‘Whataya Want from Me’
Pink actually recorded this before Adam Lambert made it a hit, but her version was left off her album Funhouse. That hasn’t stopped her from performing it, though, and she’s one of the few stars whose outsize personality is a match for Lambert’s.
Chris Stapleton, ‘Your Man’
Before breaking big with Traveler, Stapleton was already a Nashville must-call for his songwriting chops. Check out his version of “Your Man,” which was one of his first big hits in 2005, for Josh Turner.
Linda Perry, ‘Beautiful’
Perry will forever be linked to her hit with 4 Non Blondes, “What’s Up,” but she also penned Christina Aguilera’s self-confidence anthem, “Beautiful.” She talks about her inspiration for the song in the clip above.
Lori McKenna, ‘Humble & Kind’
McKenna’s ode to her children became a big hit for Tim McGraw and took home song of the year at Wednesday’s CMA Awards. So, she’s entitled to perform it whenever she wants, okay?