15 Iconic Pop Songs Originally Written For Different Singers

Perrie Samotin
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15 Iconic Pop Songs Originally Written For Different Singers
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Today’s pop music landscape may have looked very, very different had a handful of singers accepted the tracks that were originally written for them.

It’s pretty mind-blowing to consider that Rihanna almost never got to wow us with “Disturbia” because it was actually written by Chris Brown, who planned to include it on one of his albums (ironic, we know). Also, who knew TLC was thisclose to recording ” … Baby One more Time,” the 1999 mega-hit that turned a Louisiana teenager by the name of Britney Spears  into a bonafide pop culture icon?

MORE: 50 Actors Who Passed on Famous Roles

Furthermore, artists like Janet Jackson and her late brother Michael both passed on songs that would later go to Spears and Justin Timberlake, while Spears herself passed on plenty of pop tracks, including Rihanna‘s “Umbrella,” Lady Gaga‘s “Telephone,” and (many) others.

Obviously, iconic pop songs could easily have become duds had every artist accepted every song offered to them, but it’s fun to see who passed on now-famous songs. Here, 15 songs originally written for other singers.

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Song: "We Found Love" by Rihanna
Originally offered to: Nicole Scherzinger

The former Pussycat Doll told Notion magazine that she had the chance to record "We Found Love," the Calvin Harris-produced song that became a mega-hit for Rihanna. "I passed on 'We Found Love,'" Scherzinger said. "I've got the demo of that song and I was busy at the time."

Photo: WENN

Song: "Irreplaceable" by Beyoncé
Originally written for: Shania Twain or Faith Hill

Beyonce's "to the left" R&B hit was written by Ne-Yo and Norwegian producing duo Stargate, but it wasn't written with Beyoncé in mind. According to MTV News, Ne-Yo revealed in interviews that he had Faith Hill and Shania Twain in mind when he wrote "Irreplaceable" as a country song, and Hermansen still thinks the tune could easily have been a country radio hit. Once Bey heard it, however, she loved it and said she thought she could put her own spin on it.

Photo: WENN

Song: "...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears
Originally offered to: TLC

It's hard to picture TLC—the '90s R&B trio known for baggy pants and skimpy tops—having the same success with this track as Spears, but producer Max Martin originally offered it to them for 1999's "FanMail" album. They obviously rejected it, giving Britney a one-way ticket to superstardom.

Photo: Getty/WENN

Song: "Rock Your Body" by Justin Timberlake
Originally offered to: Michael Jackson

This smooth, disco-inflected track was offered to Jackson for his tenth and final studio album, 2001's "Invincible," along with other songs by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo's production duo The Neptunes. Jackson reportedly rejected all the songs, which eventually landed on JT's debut 2002 album "Justified."

Photo: Getty/WENN

Song: "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson
Originally offered to: P!nk and Hilary Duff

Initially, this pop track—written by producers Dr. Luke and Max Martin—was written for P!nk, who reportedly turned it down, as did Hillary Duff, their second choice. Supposedly mega-producer Clive Davis convinced them to hand it over to  inaugural "American Idol" winner Clarkson in 2007, who cemented it as one of the most successful pop songs of the decade, and helped sell 2.6 million downloads of her album "Breakaway", according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Photo: WENN

Song: "Telephone" by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé
Originally offered to: Britney Spears

Gaga originally wrote "Telephone" to be included on Spears' 2010 "Circus" album, but the pop star rejected it. Gaga eventually kept it for herself and turned it into a banging duet with Beyoncé. To be fair, this is one of the few songs on this list that probably would have been just as good if it was recorded by the artist it was intended for.

Photo: WENN

Song: "We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus
Originally offered to: Rihanna

"We Can't Stop" producer Mike WiLL Made-It has confirmed that the 2013 party song was written for Rihanna, whom he ended up working with on "Pour It Up."

"When I originally worked on 'We Can't Stop,' we had did it for Rihanna. The idea was more towards Rihanna," he told MTV News. "Rihanna, she heard 'Pour It Up' right away, and she didn't even hear 'We Can't Stop.'" He also said Miley "nailed the record, and she did it with her swag. So it sounds totally different than from what we originally tried to come up with."

Photo: WENN

Song: "Ni**as In Paris" by Jay Z and Kanye West
Originally offered to: Pusha T

If he wanted it, Pusha T—a former member of hip-hop duo Clipse—could have had this massive track from Jay and Kanye's 2011 album "Watch The Throne" but has admitted it probably wouldn't have turned out as good. "I tell people all the time that I don't know if I would've attacked it that way," he said in a 2011 interview, "which means the record might not have been as special once I got on it."

Photo: WENN

Song: "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith
Originally offered to: Celine Dion

This power ballad appeared on the soundtrack to 1999 film "Armageddon," which starred Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler's daughter, Liv. The track was written by legendary songwriter Diane Warren, who reportedly has said she meant it for Celine, but loved the idea of a macho voice on such a sensitive track.

Photo: WENN

Song: "Toxic" by Britney Spears
Originally offered to: Kylie Minogue

Britney's 2004 hit was meant to serve as a follow-up to Kylie's banger "Can't Get You Out of My Head" but the Aussie pop star rejected it. "I listened to a snippet of it in the record company offices and decided against it," she said in a 2008 interview. "It's like the fish that got away. You just have to accept it."

The song ended up winning Brit her first Grammy and  has sold 1.9 million downloads since its release according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Photo: WENN

Song: Whataya Want From Me" by Adam Lambert
Originally offered to: P!nk

"American Idol" finalist Lambert made this gorgeous 2009 pop ballad a major hit, but it could have ended up on P!nk's album "Funhouse." Interestingly, she co-wrote the track with producers Max Martin and Shellback before deciding to pass it on, though she's since recorded a version of the song.

Photo: WENN

Song: "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls
Originally offered to: Paris Hilton

This 2005 single was originally offered Hilton before ending up with the Pussycat Dolls, who turned it into the lead single from their first album "PCD." Hilton released an album in 2006 but never had a hit.

Photo: WENN

Song: "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson
Originally offered to: Avril Lavigne

Lavigne actually cowrote this hit for her own debut album "Let Go" in 2002, but decided it didn't quite fit with the rest of the material. At that time, Clarkson had just been crowned the first "American Idol" and the song went on to be her first hit. While it may not have worked on Lavigne's album, you can definitely hear traces of the singer in the song.

Photo: WENN

Song: "I'm a Slave 4 U" by Britney Spears
Originally offered to: Janet Jackson

Written by Pharrell Williams' producing group The Neptunes, this slinky pop song was one of Spears' first "I'm all grown up!" tracks from her third album "Britney," but it was originally offered to Janet Jackson, who passed. Jackson also had the chance to record "Boys," another Neptune's track that Britney made famous, but only got so far as recording an unreleased demo.

Photo: WENN

Song: "Disturbia" by Rihanna
Originally offered to: Chris Brown

Oh, the irony. "Disturbia" was actually written by Brown and his team to be part of a re-release edition of his album "Exclusive" in 2007, but Brown decided to include "Forever" instead. He reportedly felt that "Disturbia" would be better suited for a female singer and gave it to Rihanna. We all know how that turned out.

Photo: WENN

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