16 Hit Songs You Didn’t Know Were Originally Turned Down by Other Artists

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In the entertainment and music industry, the process of getting a song written, recorded, mixed and actually on an album or ready for digital download is a lot more strenuous, extensive and stressful than most of us even realize.

Not only do artists spend hours upon hours capturing the perfect vocals, backup instruments and sound effects, but, even before that, they spend even more time either writing or searching for the right song to fit their voice, style, sound, etc. — and a lot of the time, the perfect song might be in the hands of another artist.

So, often in the world of music, artists get offered songs that they either don’t want, don’t have time to record or simply don’t like, so they pass them on to another, just as capable artist.

You’d probably be surprised by how many of your favorite songs were originally offered and turned down by other artists.

16 Hit Songs You Didn’t Know Were Turned Down by Other Artists:

1. “How Will I Know” // Whitney Houston

“How Will I Know” was originally written for, and rejected by, Janet Jackson before becoming a defining moment in Whitney’s uber-successful career.

2. “We Can’t Stop” // Miley Cyrus

The song that led Miley’s striking career-reconstruction in 2013 was actually originally offered to Rihanna.

3. “We Found Love” // Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris

Before Rihanna recorded this famous dance track, it was actually turned down by Pussycat Dolls member Nicole Scherzinger because she was apparently “too busy” at the time it was presented to her.

4. “Telephone” // Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce

The song that was just as (if not more) famous for its music video was originally offered to Britney Spears, but she turned it down.

Britney’s demo of the track is said to still be floating around on the internet somewhere.

5. “Don’t Cha” // The Pussycat Dolls ft. Busta Rhymes

Apparently, before The Pussycat Dolls made this song the hottest dance club hit of the early 2000s, the song was offered to Paris Hilton, but she turned it down.

It’s probably because of her famous line, “That’s hot,” right?

6. “I’m a Slave 4 U” // Britney Spears

This super famous Britney song was actually offered to Janet Jackson first.

7. “Miss Independent” // Kelly Clarkson

“Miss Independent,” which was the first song Kelly released after winning “American Idol,” was actually originally written for Christina Aguilera’s album Stripped.

8. “Disturbia” // Rihanna

Rihanna’s 2007 smash hit was originally intended for Chris Brown.

We’re glad RiRi got it.

9. “Happy” // Pharrell Williams

Even though it’s almost impossible to imagine anyone but Pharrell singing “Happy,” the song was first offered to Cee-Lo Green, who turned it down.

The track went on to 14 million copies worldwide, so Cee-Lo is probably kicking himself for that one.

10. “Gone” // NSYNC

Apparently, Justin Timberlake originally wrote this song for Michael Jackson, but after being rejected, the hit ended up on the group’s album Celebrity.

11. “Umbrella” // Rihanna

The song that became the defining moment of then newbie Rihanna’s career was actually first offered to Britney Spears.

12. “…Baby One More Time” // Britney Spears

Arguably the most famous song of Britney’s career, “…Baby One More Time” was originally meant for the girl group TLC.

13. “SOS” // Rihanna

This ultra-famous Rihanna song was passed up by Christina Millian in 2004.

14. “Let’s Get Loud” // Jennifer Lopez

This 1999 hit was originally written by Estefan and Kike Santander for the Latin-pop superstar to use for herself, but it eventually got passed down to J-Lo, who made it famous.

15. “Gold Digger” // Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx

Kanye’s biggest hit to date was originally meant for female rap star Shawnna. After the song was passed to Yeezy, he re-wrote the hook to fit a male perspective.

16. “Since U Been Gone” // Kelly Clarkson

It may be hard to imagine, but “Since U Been Gone” was offered to singer and actress Hilary Duff before Kelly got her hands on it.

The main thing we’ve learned here — Rihanna is really good at turning songs that weren’t supposed to be hers into bonafide hits.