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Ever wonder who wrote the iconic songs you shamelessly bop to? Well, turns out you might have some recognizable names thank. (Harry Styles is just one name on our short list.)
These aren’t the unknown songwriters (no shade) you see in the lyrics booklet of your fave singer’s album; these are some of the biggest pop stars in the game, who have just as much talent on pen and paper as they do behind the microphone.
So before you put in those ear buds, take a couple seconds to look at who wrote your fave song because it might be someone you know. Or, you know, you could also click through our list for 10 iconic songs written by other singers.
“Sorry” – Justin Bieber
That’s right, “Uh Huh” singer Julia Michaels wrote this bop (and basically the song of 2015) for the Biebs.
“We thought the chances of getting on Justin’s album were so slim but we were just like ‘Fuck it, let’s do it,'” Michaels wrote on Genius. “We were just trying to capture that moment in a relationship or a particular moment in your life where you realize you made a mistake and you’re finally ready to admit it and apologize.”
“Pretty Hurts” – Beyoncé
Before she blew up and became the mega pop star with no face (and no last name), you better believe Sia had something to do with Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts.”
“One Kiss” – Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa
You know that jam all over the radio right now by Calvin Harris and Due Lipa? Yeah, that one: “One Kiss” was also written by “Figures” singer and all around badass, Jessie Reyez.
“Party in the U.S.A.” – Miley Cyrus
Before there was hammer-licking Miley Cyrus or country-crooning Miley, there was post-Disney Miley. Among the Hannah Montana star’s immediate hits was “Party in the U.S.A.”—which some might be surprised to learn was written by British pop star, Jessie J. (Could a “Party in the U.K.” be in the pipeline?)
“Breakaway” – Kelly Clarkson
If you were around in the early 2000s, you probably heard Kelly Clarkson sing “Breakaway” about a bajillion times on the radio. While we’re still not tired of the classic pop-rock bop, we’re pleased to inform you that the song was actually written by another early 2000s pop-rock princess, Avril Lavigne.
“Little Things” – One Direction
Before the members of One Direction went off on their own, the group actually collabbed with another famous British pop act for their ballad, “Little Things.” Well, that collaborator was none other than singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, who wrote the sweet track the boys serenaded millions of girls with. (The world thanks you, Ed.)
“Forget You” – CeeLo
CeeLo can thank Bruno Mars for the insanely catchy lyrics of “Forget You,” as well as its NSFW version, “Fuck You.” (Who knew Bruno Mars had such a potty mouth.)
“Till the World Ends” – Britney Spears
Fans might be surprised to know that Kesha is a secret hitmaker. Along with writing songs for pop stars like Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande, the singer is also creditted for composing Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends,” which she actually made with the pop princess in mind.
“That song was written specifically for Britney,” Kesha told Digital Spy. “I put my brain in Britney Spears land and wrote that whole song for her.”
“Black Widow” – Iggy Azalea & Rita Ora
Katy Perry is known for cranking out her own pop hits (just look at how many No. 1 hits she has), but for Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora, the pop star stepped away from the microphone and wrote the up-and-comers (at the time) a song—and thus, “Black Widow” was born. (Fun fact: Perry was considering the track for her own album, Prism, but decided against it last minute.)
“Irreplaceable” – Beyoncé
Ne-Yo had the honor of writing one of Beyoncé’s first hits, “Irreplaceable,” off her second solo album, B’Day. Initially, the R&B singer wrote the track with a country singer in mind, but once Queen Bey heard a demo, she knew she wanted it—and, of course, she elevated it to No. 1 because that’s just how Bey rolls.
“A Little Bit of Your Heart” – Ariana Grande
With a voice like Ariana Grande’s, the singer has some power ballads in her repertoire. Among them is the sweet track, “A Little bit of Your Heart,” which is actually written by one of our fave curly-haired boybanders, Harry Styles. (Are you shook yet?)
“Disturbia” – Rihanna
Initially intending to record the song for himself, Chris Brown eventually gave it to his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. Though the relationship fizzled through for reasons we all know about, “Disturbia” eventually became one of Rih’s many hits to come.
“Flash Light” – Hailee Steinfeld
Here’s a secret for you “Pitch Perfect” fans: the iconic song Hailee Steinfeld sings in Pitch Perfect 2 was actually written by smash vocalists, Sam Smith and Sia. Yup. “Flashlight,” which was sung on the soundtrack by Jessie J, has some of the most respected names in the biz as its songwriters. Plus, it sounds damn good a cappella.
A version of this article was originally published in June 2017.