Can you imagine Chris Brown singing Rihanna’s hit “Disturbia?” Or TLC singing Britney Spears’ debut song “…Baby One More Time?”
Nope? Neither can we, but it nearly happened.
Below is a list of 7 hits that were meant for and rejected by other artists.
1. Michael Jackson turned down Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body”
The hit single on Justin Timberlake’s debut solo album “Justified” was originally meant for the one and only King of Pop.
Michael Jackson ended up passing on the song, which was to be featured on his 2001 “Invincible” album.
2. Shawnna turned down Kanye West’s “Gold Digger”
Kanye West wrote “Gold Digger” with a female vocalist in mind, with the chorus as, “I’m not sayin’ I’m a gold digger,” according to author John Seabrook of “The Song Machine.”
The song was offered to female rapper Shawnna for her debut album “Worth tha Weight.”
After she passed on the tune, West tweaked the song’s lyrics to be spoken by a man about a woman.
3. TLC turned down Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time”
The track initially called “Hit Me Baby,” was written by Swedish songwriter Max Martin for the all-woman R&B group TLC.
TLC’s T-Boz later recalled the group’s decision to reject the song, according to author John Seabrook of “The Song Machine.”
According to author John Seabrook of “The Song Machine,” T-Boz said in an interview, “I was like, I like the song, but do I think it’s a hit? Do I think it’s TLC? … Was I going to say, ‘Hit me baby one more time’? Hell no!”
Because of its potentially ominous meaning, “Hit Me Baby” was later tweaked to “…Baby One More Time.”
The song went to a then-unknown Britney Spears who was preparing for her pop debut. The song was an immediate success and spent 32 weeks on the Hot 100 chart.
According to Billboard, the song still remains as her longest-charting single.
4. Chris Brown turned down Rihanna’s “Disturbia”
Chris Brown gifted the catchy hit song “Disturbia” to his then-girlfriend Rihanna while he focused on “Forever,” according to Billboard.
RiRi’s “Disturbia” spent a cool two weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100.
5. CeeLo Green turned down Pharrell’s “Happy”
In an interview with radio personality Howard Stern, Pharrell Williams said that the infectiously joyful and popular tune “Happy” was meant for CeeLo Green.
During a 2014 interview with Oprah, Pharrell began crying after watching a supercut her team put together of people across the globe dancing to his song.
“It’s overwhelming because I love what I do,” he told Oprah. “Zero airplay, nothing, and then the next thing you know, we put out the video on November 21st and all of a sudden … boom.”
“We were like, what’s happening, okay, first of all, people are putting up their own videos and it was no longer my song.”
6. Pusha T turned down Kanye West and Jay Z’s “N—-s in Paris”
Warning: The following video contains explicit language.
Known by his stage name Pusha T, hip-hop artist Terrence Thornton passed on what became a partnered effort by Kanye West and Jay-Z.
“I tell people all the time that I don’t know if I would’ve attacked it that way, which means the record might not have been as special once I got on it,” Pusha T said in a 2011 interview with VladTV.
7. Britney Spears turned down Rihanna’s “Umbrella”
The song “Umbrella” was originally written with pop star Britney Spears in mind, Seabrook wrote in “The Song Machine.”
Spears’ label ended up rejecting the song because the young pop star was already busy recording other songs and thus the jam was given to Rihanna.
Released in late March 2007, “Umbrella” topped Billboard’s charts and stayed there for seven straight weeks.
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