Have you been bobbing your head to “Babe” by Sugarland? Turns out, you have Taylor Swift to thank. And she’s not the only one moonlighting as a secret songwriter. Music fans, prepare to be surprised: The following tunes were written by an artist who wasn’t the one who performed it.
“Better Man” by Little Big Town
Swift also penned “Best Days of Your Life” by Kellie Pickler, “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home” by Miley Cyrus, and infamously, “This Is What You Came For” by Calvin Harris and Rihanna.
“We Found Love” by Rihanna
Swift may have helped write a song for Harris, but he’s got plenty of songwriting talent of his own. He wrote Rihanna’s smash hit “We Found Love” way before the days of Tayvin and Nils Sjoberg.
“Pretty Hurts” by Beyoncé
Sia’s written songs for pretty much everybody: Britney Spears, Lea Michele, Carly Rae Jepsen, Maroon 5, Christina Aguilera — and that’s just the start. But one of the most notable is this Beyoncé track, which pretty much means we’re forever in Sia’s debt.
“Till the World Ends” by Britney Spears
Like Sia, Kesha’s written songs for a number of other artists (or they’ve gotten the ones that didn’t make it onto her own albums.) Not the case with “Till the World Ends,” however, which Kesha wrote with Spears in mind. “That song was written specifically for Britney,” she told Digital Spy. “I put my brain in Britney Spears land and wrote that whole song for her.”
“Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé
It’s the ultimate post-breakup girl power track, but Beyoncé’s hit was originally intended to be sung from the male perspective. Ne-Yo was the one who wrote the song, and he reportedly regretted giving it up afterwards.
“That’s More Like It” by Selena Gomez & The Scene
Remember when Gomez had a band? Back then, she had an unexpected songwriter, too: Fellow pop goddess Katy Perry, who wrote this tune for Gomez and her group.
“Whataya Want from Me” by Adam Lambert
One of Lambert’s biggest hits wasn’t written by the American Idol alum. Instead, it’s the work of Pink, who has quite the songwriting chops in addition to a killer voice.
“Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus
You may think of this song as a big hit for Cyrus, but it did plenty for its writer, Jessie J, too — she’s said the royalties paid her rent for three years!
“Little Things” by One Direction
If you hear 1D’s acoustic melody and think, hey, that sounds like something Ed Sheeran would sing, there’s a reason why: He wrote it!
“Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson
From one aughts pop icon to another. Avril Lavigne wrote this heart-wrenching record for her debut album in 2002, but it didn’t make the cut. Clarkson definitely did it justice, though!
“Forget You” by Cee Lo Green
With those distinct vocals, it’s hard to imagine any big name connected to “Forget You” besides Green’s. But there is one: Bruno Mars wrote the song for the former Voice judge.
“Elevator” by The Pussycat Dolls
Lady Gaga cranked out hit after hit, and not just for herself. She penned this PCD tune back in 2008 under her non-stage name, Stefani Germanotta.