One of the things we miss most about physical CDs are the liner notes. While listening to our favorite tunes, we’d scan the hot pictures inside of what was often the sexy singer while either trying to figure out the words (if they were kind enough to print their lyrics inside) or reading their cutesie thank-yous to those who had helped them make the album. One of the neat things we’d tend to land on was who wrote the songs, which would sometimes suggest to us that the song was a cover or was given to the artist from a behind-the-scenes legend.
Many artists have written songs for other artists, whether directly or indirectly, and others have simply passed their songs around. Some artists are offered a song that they then reject, and it goes to the next hot top 40 act in the stream.
Here’s a list, compiled by those rockin’ folks over at Mental Floss, of some of the songs that were originally intended for other artists, but were passed off to become someone else’s next big success.
Performed By: Mariah Carey
Originally Offered To: Gloria Estefan
Would It Have Been as Big?: Mariah and Gloria’s styles, especially at that point in Mariah’s career, weren’t all that different. It’s easy to picture Gloria singing it and having just as big a hit with it as it ended up being for Mariah. So we say yes, it would have been.
Performed By: Rihanna
Originally Offered To: Britney Spears, then Mary J. Blige
Would It Have Been as Big?: Hard to tell. “Umbrella” was obviously huge for Rihanna and set her up for much bigger and better things, and by the time this tune came out, Britney was past the prime of her “Oops, I Did It Again” days. As for Mary J., we’re going to go out on a limb and say no. Mary J.’s style has more of an R&B flavor and less of a pop-infused hip-hop vibe, with the exceptions of songs like “Family Affair” and “No More Drama.” Still, we can’t imagine Mary J. giving it that youthful punch that a song like that would need to propel Rihanna to the top of the charts.
Song: “I’m a Slave for You”
Performed By: Britney Spears
Originally Offered To: Janet Jackson
Would It Have Been as Big?: Yes. Taking Britney out of the equation and putting Janet in is not that much of a stretch, and the song might have even benefited from Miss Janet’s (“If ya nasty”) R&B-twinged spin. This could have easily fit right in with Janet’s work from All For You, her album which was released two years prior. “Toxic” would have fit right in with the title track, as well as with her hits “Doesn’t Really Matter,” and “Someone to Call My Lover.”
Song: “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”
Performed By: Aerosmith
Originally Offered To: Celine Dion
Would It Have Been as Big?: Maybe. It’s hard to imagine this song being as perfect on its own as it was for the Armageddon soundtrack, and while Dion could have done it, being that Liv Tyler, Steven’s daughter was in the film, it was only right to let the man and his band perform the song. While this was around the time that Dion’s album A New Day Has Come was released, if she had performed “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” while she tends to practically print money with every new hit she churns out, this tune probably wouldn’t have made it much further than album filler.