15 Hit Songs That Were Meant For Other Artists

15 Hit Songs That Were Meant For Other Artists

Picture this: an alternate reality where “It’s Raining Men” is sung by Diana Ross instead of The Weather Girls, Britney Spears sings the refrain: “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” instead of Kelis, and “Disturbia” isn’t Rihanna’s hit single but Chris Brown’s. Well, it’s not so far-fetched. In fact, it almost happened, but those artists decided to pass on those songs. The music industry is full of examples of “almost-was” that could have altered the course of several artists’ careers like a scene from Back to the Future.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Tina Turner

Photo: Getty Images

Offered to: Several artists, including Phyllis Hyman and Donna Summer

Recorded by: Tina Turner

Imagine if Tina Turner’s hit “What’s Love Got to do With It?” had been sung by Donna Summers. Then it would have been a disco-dance track instead of the gritty pop-soul track it became. Tina Turner may not have become a successful solo artist, and the movie of her life titled after the song may have never been made…or at least, it would have been titled differently.

I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing


Photo: WENN

Offered to: Celine Dion

Recorded by: Aerosmith

This chart-topping power ballad is Aerosmith’s biggest hit to date. It’s sappy flare added to the poignancy of Armageddon‘s bittersweet ending. The Diane Warren-penned ballad was initially offered to Celine Dion (naturally, given her sweeping voice and their history of collaborating), but in the end Aerosmith recorded it, and the song went on to be nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Razzie.

Because You Loved Me

Celine Dione PF WENN

 Photo: WENN

Offered to: Toni Braxton

Recorded by: Celine Dion

It’s not hard to imagine Toni Braxton’s dramatic sultry voice crooning “Because You Loved Me”  but for one reason or another Braxton passed on the tune and Celine Dion took it instead. The song became Dion’s second number 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and is featured on the soundtrack to the 1996 drama Up Close & Personal. This isn’t the only song that Dion and Braxton seemed to switch…

Un-Break My Heart

"Toni Braxton"

Photo: WENN

Offered to: Celine Dion

Recorded by: Toni Braxton

“Un-break My Heart” was originally offered to Celine Dion, who passed on it. The Diane Warren-penned hit was then offered to Toni Braxton, who according to Warren, “hated it” because she didn’t want another heartbreak song. Label head L.A. Reid was able to convince Braxton to do the song anyway, and it eventually became her most successful hit ever!

Rock Your Body

Yahoo! Wireless Festival

Photo: WENN

Offered to: Micheal Jackson

Record by: Justin Timberlake

It’s obvious that Justin Timberlake’s music and dance style has been heavily influenced by his idol Michael Jackson, so it’s not surprising that several songs from his Justified album, including the pop-dance track “Rock Your Body” were initially offered to The King of  Pop. MJ turned down the song; perhaps a poor decision on his part as his last album Invincible met with only marginal success and criticism for its uneven sound. It was, however, a serendipitous occurrence for JT, who scored a hit with “Rock Your Body” while his entire debut album set him on the path to music superstardom as a solo artist. You know what they say: One man’s trash is another man’s platinum-selling single.


"Lada Gaga nurse costume pf"

Photo: WENN

Offered to: Britney Spears

Recorded by: Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga originally wrote “Telephone” to be a track on Britney Spears’ Circus album (2008), but when the song didn’t make the cut Mother Monster saved it for herself. She released it on her The Fame Monster album (2009) with a feature from Beyoncé.


Since U Been Gone


Photo: WENN

Offered to: P!nk and Hilary Duff

Recorded by: Kelly Clarkson

The song that topped the pop charts as a Kelly Clarkson hit was actually written by Dr. Luke and Max Martin with Pink in mind, but the spunky singer rejected the song. It then found its way to Hilary Duff but the wispy-voiced pop star couldn’t reach the songs higher notes. Finally, Clive Davis convinced the songwriters to give the tune to Kelly Clarkson. “Since U Been Gone” became a hit and set the tone for Clarkson’s signature stronger-than-before breakup songs.

N—as in Paris

Jay-Z and Kanye West

Photo: WENN

Offered to: Pusha T.

Recorded by: Jay-Z and Kanye West

Imagine if “N–as in Paris” had been a different song with the same dope Hit Boy beat. Would we still be watching the throne? Well,  former Clipse member Pusha T., who was originally given the track, has his doubts. The Virginia-born rapper passed on the song, and says it’s a good thing, too, because Jay and Ye made magic with it. “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.”

How Will I Know



Offered to: Janet Jackson

Recorded by: Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston’s iconic ’80s tune “How Will I Know” could’ve been a Janet Jackson ’80s tune had she taken the songwriters up on the track when they sent her the demo. Admittedly, that dance track would have sounded a lot different with Janet Jackson’s sweet airy voice instead of Whitney Houston’s robust emotive talent. Lucky for Whitney, Janet declined the song and Whitney got her second number one hit.

Let’s Get Loud

 Jennifer Lopez performing live in Moscow

Photo: WENN

Originally for: Gloria Estefan

Recorded by: Jennifer Lopez

“Let’s Get Loud” has Gloria Estefan written all over it, literally. The veteran Latin songbird originally penned the song for herself but decided to pass it along to Jennifer Lopez, who was seeking to break into music with her debut album On the 6. The single became a hit for the dancer-turned-actress-turned-singer selling over 400,000 copies.



Photo: WENN

Offered to: Christina Milian

Record by: Rihanna

We know that Christina Milian has got to be kicking herself over this one. The song “S.O.S.” was perfect for her voice and light pop sound, but instead of snatching it up, she let the song go, and it fell right into the hands of her Def Jam label mate, an up and coming Rihanna. “S.O.S.” gave the Bajan bad girl the first of many No. 1 singles to come. If she hadn’t passed on the song, Christina Milian could be enjoying a career of Rihanna-sized proportions, right now. Instead, she released her last album So Amazin’ to poor record sales and was dropped by Def Jam in 2006, the same year “S.O.S.” reigned on the charts.


rhianna 080607

Photo: WENN

Offered to: Britney Spears

Recorded by: Rihanna

Back in 2007 when Britney Spears was planning her big comeback after a disastrous public meltdown, producer The-Dream tried to do his part to help the pop princess back to her royal standing by offering her his song “Umbrella.” Unfortunately, Brit’s team didn’t want any parts of the song, so it went to Rihanna, who made it a number one hit and successfully recreated her image with it. Crazy to think that the career Rihanna has today might never have existed if it had been Britney singing “Umbrella ella ella ay ay ay…”

Baby One More Time

Britney Spears WENN PF

Photo: WENN

Offered to: TLC

Recorded by: Britney Spears

And where would Britney Spears be if her breakout debut single “Baby One More Time” had been sung by TLC, as it was originally intended? Max Martin offered the song to the R&B trio for their Fan Mail album, and it certainly isn’t hard to replace Brit’s voice with the raspy voice of T-Boz, but TLC took a pass, allowing 16-year-old Britney to ride the song to superstardom in her skimpy school girl outfit.




Britney Spears Free Concert At Monumento De La Revolucion

Photo: Wireimage

Offered to: Kylie Minogue

Recorded by: Britney Spears

Britney Spears’ Grammy-winning tune “Toxic” could have been the perfect follow-up to Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Outta My Head.” It certainly is her style but when the Australian singer heard the track she says she “decided against it.” It’s a decision Minogue would come to regret when the single went platinum and scored Britney her first Grammy. She expressed her regret in a 2008 interview saying, “It’s like the fish that got away. You just have to accept it.”


Pussycat Dolls WENN PF

Photo: WENN

Offered to: Paris Hilton

Recorded by: The Pussycat Dolls

One listen to the hilariously shallow lyrics  “Dontcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me,” and it’s not hard to see that the “Dontcha” was originally intended for Paris Hilton. The heiress-turned-singer, who popularized the the phrase “That’s hot,” turned down the song, leaving the Pussycat Dolls to record it as the lead single from their debut album PCD. It’s just as well; had Paris released the song it likely wouldn’t have become a hit. Instead of being a Hot salacious single it probably would have just become a joke, mocking Hilton’s venture into music as if it wasn’t funny enough already.


  • Ulukinatme

    They missed a big one. One of Celine’s biggest early hits “It’s All Coming Back to Me” was originally written for Meat Loaf.

  • S + M SUXXX

    That’s one of the most pompous and bloated songs in history. It’s so bombastic, obnoxious, pretentious, wretchedly god-awful and totally unlistenable.

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