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21 Famous Pop Songs You Didn’t Know Were Meant for Other Artists

When a song becomes a classic, there are usually so many reasons why — from the way it’s sung, to the music video, to the way the lyrics or the beat resonate with fans. But sometimes even the best pop stars miss the mark (did you know “Umbrella” was originally offered to Britney Spears before Rihanna made it a smash hit?!) — here are the top singles that were *almost* sung by someone else!
1. Nicole Scherzinger turned down Rihanna’s “We Found Love”

The former Pussycat Dolls singer has tried to get a solo career off the ground for years, and passed on the smash hit because she was “tired of dance music.” It’s rumored that Leona Lewis also passed on it, too! What were you ladies thinking?!

2. Rihanna almost went for “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus

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Rihanna was going to record the song until she heard “Pour It Up,” which she liked better. We can totally see Rihanna doing “We Can’t Stop” and rocking it, though — can you girls do a duet version?!

3. Kanye West wrote “Gold Digger” for a female rapper

Kanye’s 2005 hit became the fastest selling digital download of all time. The song was originally meant for a female rapper named Shawnna, who passed on it. Kanye tweaked the lyrics and made it a hit. Bet she regrets that decision now.

4. Both Pink and Hilary Duff passed on “Since U Been Gone”

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The song has since become one of Kelly Clarkson’s hugest hits (and the breakup anthem of the century) but both Pink and Hilary Duff passed on it. We think both ladies would have done a kick ass job!

5. “Umbrella” was written for Britney Spears

Back in 2007, when Britney had a lot going on in her personal life, songwriters offered “Umbrella” to her to help revitalize her career. Her managers turned it down, and it became one of Rihanna’s hugest hits to date. Ella ella ella — ey ey ey!

6. Kylie Minogue didn’t likeToxic

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Britney may have passed on “Umbrella,” but no worries. “Toxic” became one of Britney’s biggest smash hits (and one of the sexiest music videos of all-time), but it turns out Kylie Minogue was not impressed with the song and passed it up. Sorry, Kylie!

7. Paris Hilton regrets passing up “Don’t Cha”

Yes, it’s hard to remember when Paris Hilton had a musical career, but she did. Apparently her judgment wasn’t too keen, though, because she passed up “Don’t Cha,” which ultimately went to The Pussycat Dolls. Paris said: “I did hear the song, but not in the format we all came to know and love. If I’d heard that, of course I’d have jumped at the chance.”

8. “I’m A Slave 4 U” could’ve been a comeback hit for Janet Jackson

Back when Britney Spears was at the top of her game, she slithered around on stage with a snake to perform “I’m A Slave 4 U,” right after Janet Jackson passed on the pop hit.

9. “…Baby One More Time” was almost a R&B hit

The song (and video) that catapulted Britney to bubblegum super-stardom was almost sung by TLC! Clearly Britney is the queen of song swaps, which has mostly worked out in her favor.

10. Celine Dion almost sang “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”

The song that ended up being the lead track for the movie Armageddon by rock band Aerosmith was almost belted by none other than Celine Dion. We think Celine, with her insane vocal range, could do a powerhouse job of it!

11. Justin Timberlake wrote “Gone” for Michael Jackson

JT wrote the song with MJ in mind, but his team turned it down. It then went on to become one of the *NSYNC’s most popular ballads off their last album, Celebrity. MJ’s vocals would’ve been amazing on this one, though.

12. Pharrell’s team originally wrote “Rock Your Body” for MJ too

The Neptunes wrote Justin’s solo smash for Michael Jackson, but he turned it down. Pharrell later admitted that most of the song’s from Justin’s debut album were written for MJ. We are still so sad the two never teamed up for a duet. It would’ve been phenomenal.

13. “S.O.S.” could’ve been sung by Christina Milian

Christina Milian passed on one of Rihanna’s first and most major hits, and then claimed their record label, Island Def Jam, dropped her to promote Rihanna’s burgeoning career. Ouch, girl.

14. Kylie Minogue’s biggest hit almost went to S Club 7

The infectious “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” was turned down by British pop group S Club 7, and marked Kylie’s comeback to music. It shot to the top of the charts. Bet they can’t get it out of their heads.

15. Chris Brown wrote “Disturbia” for then-girlfriend Rihanna

He could’ve made the hit his own, but ultimately gave it to Rihanna, who he was (in)famously dating at the time.

16. “How Will I Know” was almost belted by Janet Jackson

Years before passing on the sexy “I’m A Slave 4 U,” Janet also showed questionable choices by passing on the iconic “How Will I Know,” which became a number-one hit for Whitney Houston.

17. “Holiday” almost had an R&B flare


Madonna’s iconic pop smash “Holiday” was almost given an R&B flare, thanks to Mary Wilson, founding member of The Supremes, but she passed. We wish we could’ve heard her take — we bet it would be SO nice!

18. Stevie Nicks hung up on Blondie’s “Call Me”

Disco producer Giorgio Moroder originally asked Fleetwood Mac’s lead songstress to write and add vocals to “Call Me” but the plans fell through. Moroder then asked Debbie Harry for her help, and the rest is amazing music history.

19. Cee-Lo Green wasn’t “Happy” about “Happy”

Pharrell admitted the song was originally meant for Cee-Lo, but his team passed, and it ended up becoming the most successful song of 2014, selling 13.9 million copies worldwide.

20. Many artists passed on Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”

It’s one of the most iconic songs of the ’80s thanks to a little movie called The Breakfast Club, but a lot of people weren’t feeling it! It was originally offered to The Fixx, Bryan Ferry, and, finally, Billy Idol, all of whom took a pass. Simple Minds almost said no too, but their team convinced them otherwise, a move that cemented them in both movie and music history for all time. Hey, hey, hey, hey!

21. Christina Aguilera kept her distance from “Miss Independent”

The lead single from Kelly Clarkson’s debut album was initially intended for Christina’s fourth album, Stripped, but was later given to Kelly. Though Kelly did a great job with the song, we think “Miss Independent” would’ve fit in well with the vibe of Stripped, too. Ladies, please make all our dreams come true and let us know what happened to “miss no longer afraid!”

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