Call It Divine Musical Intervention: 15 Hit Singles That Were Originally Meant For Other Artists

October 25, 2012  |  
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Songs are rarely written by the artists who record them and it’s no surprise that songs are passed around before it finds it’s perfect recording artist. Here are 15 very popular songs that were meant by one artist but were eventually sung by another.



We Found Love – Rihanna

Rihanna’s collaboration song with Calvis Harris turned out to be a huge hit, but the song was originally meant for Leona Lewis, who apparently recorded the song with Harris as well. The song was never released because Leona wanted a different lead single for her album.


I’m a Slave 4 U – Janet Jackson

I’m a Slave 4 U was proposed to be a song recorded by Janet Jackson but instead became one of Britney Spears’ claim to fame songs. The song reached reached number twenty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100.

AP Photo

Bad – Michael Jackson

Bad was proposed to be a duet song between Michael Jackson and Prince, but MJ took the reigns and masterfully pulled off the song in September 1987. The song reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 on October 10 of the same year.


Un-Break My Heart – Toni Braxton

Originally Toni Braxton disliked the song Un-Break My Heart, which was first offered to Celine Dion, but producer Clive Davis convinced her to record it. Toni Braxton’s song won a Grammy Award in 1997 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

What’s Love Got to Do with It? – Tina Turner

Tina Turner’s song What’s Love Got to Do with It? turned out to be a great hit, but the song was originally offered to Donna Summers who had the chance to record the song for years, but never did.


Baby One More Time – TLC

Though Britney Spears debuted her career with the song Baby One More Time, TLC was first offered to record the song but declined because it wasn’t mature enough.

Let’s Get Loud – Jennifer Lopez

Let’s Get Loud was supposed to have been sung by Gloria Estefan, but Jennifer Lopez swooped up the track after Gloria decided it was too similar to her previous songs.

My Humps – Black Eyed Peas

My Humps was originally meant to be sung by The Pussycat Dolls but instead became a hit by the Black Eyed Peas, reaching number three on the U.S. Hot 100.

Milkshake – Kelis

Kelis’ infamous song Milkshake was once offered to Britney Spears, but she rejected it. The song was released in August 2003. The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs in 2004.

It’s Raining Men – Diana Ross and Donna Summer

It’s Raining Men was offered to both Diana Ross and Donna Summer, both who turned it down. Instead it was sung by the Weather Girls and hit number one on the US Hot Dance Club Play.


Rock Your Body – Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake released Rock Your Body in March 30, but the song was originally given to Michael Jackson to record for his comeback album.


Disturbia – Chris Brown

Crazily enough, Disturbia was meant to be sung by Chris Brown, though he does sing the back-up vocals on the track. Instead, Rihanna recorded the single and earned an award at the 2009 NRJ Music Awards for Best International Song.


DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love Again – Usher

DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love Again was offered to Rihanna but the song was ultimately recorded by Usher. The song made it into top-ten charts in more than 15 countries.

Dont Cha – Nicole Scherzinger & the Pussycat Dolls

Dont Cha, which hit the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, was originally written for Paris Hilton, who said she heard a different version which caused her to pass on recording.

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

How Will I Know – Whitney Houston

How Will I Know was beautifully sung by Whitney Houston, but the song was originally offered to and turned down by Janet Jackson. The song became the name of Whitney Houston’s debut album released in February 1985.

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  • Chevonne22

    A lot of these songs are very believable for the originally intended artist. I’m not mad at how they ended up, however.

  • Chevonne22

    Glad Janet turned down “How Will I Know.” That song has some changes in it that only a real singer could make believable. Janet is not that great of a singer. Now Janet could have done one hell of a vid for that song, though.

  • Chevonne22

    Wow, a Prince and MJ collab…That would have been AWEsome!!

  • Jenson Morton

    That ‘Nicole Scherzinger and the Pussycat Dolls’ is bugging me….BIG TIME. Pussycat Dolls alone PLEASE.

  • Jorial

    More mistakes: it’s Donna Summer not Donna Summers.

  • Jorial

    Uh, what happened to fact checkers? Bad did not peak at #8 on the Hot 100. It was in fact, #1 for two weeks

  • Wow, it seems as though nobody writes their own music. Makes me wonder how many rappers actually write their own rhymes?? I am beautiful woman and I love good man…..inter racial romance is my dream… so Ijoined —blackwhitePlanet.С0M—–it’s where to- connect with
    beautiful and excellent people! yesterday (Rihanna been struck by lightening twice, 1st with Umbrella, that was meant for MJB & now We Found Love … lucky girl) … and I
    don’t want anyone else in life to offer Paris Hilton a song, she just
    might take you up on it and TRY to sing it … NO NO NO!!!!!!!

  • tysandsnyc

    You forgot Rainy Dayz which was originally given to TLC, but done by Mary J. Blige.

  • Chassie

    shoot, i wish that bad duet was a reality, i love me some Prince

  • DNNY

    Rihanna’s and Britney’s career highlights are just a mere shot-of-luck… that’s nothin’ new under the sun to be honest…

  • Alex

    Whitney Houston’s debut album was self-titled, not “How Will I Know”

  • funny…to think that the infamous super bowl nip slip wouldn’t have happened if janet’s brother hadn’t rejected the song!

  • I think britneys milkshake would have sounded good.

  • Music

    The last one shocked the mess out of me. I can’t even imagine Janet’s tiny voice singing “How Will I Know”. I’m sure the song would’ve been rearranged to fit Janet’s voice but I’m glad Janet rejected it.

  • ayches

    The name of Whitney Houston’s Debut Album Was “Whitney Houston” NOT How will I know!! But the song is on that Album.

  • Just my 2 cents

    I know there was no real beef between the two. That’s why I put it in quotes. Rivalry may have been a better word choice…to-may-toe, to-mah-toe.

  • T

    Yes, Disturbia was originally supposed to be for Chris Brown because he was one of the original writers of the song. Please do all your research!

  • Anonymous

    Rainy days by Mary j blige was originally written 4 TLC

  • ijs

    Ok you know wat i cant even go through the rest of the list lol i’ll just look through the comments. who is picking these pictures!!!! i know you could’ve found a better picture of tina turner than that smh i cant

  • real rap

    they missed a huge one…’irreplaceable’ was written by neyo who originally offered it to chrisette michele for her 2nd CD but she turned it down because she wanted to do the writing herself. he offered it to bey and it was a rap.

    • Sweet Honey

      Yes, that is a good one.Then Beyonce recorded EGO written by Chrisette Michelle. The money is in the songwriting.

    • I thought he wanted it for himself but realized it should be a woman’s song.

      • real rap

        that is correct. when neyo previewed the song for LA Reid who was the head of the record company at the time, Reid said that the lyrics seemed more like something a woman would say to a man. so neyo offered it to chrisette

    • NONEYA

      It was also offered to Mary J Blige and she also turned it down!!

    • I would love to here a Chrisette Michele version of irreplaceable. I’d like to hear her sing EGO too!

      • real rap

        given her voice and her vocal style, i would DEF want to hear her do them both.

      • Dichu eba realy lub mehSteebie

        if I were a boy was originally written by a 16 yr old girl named B.C. Jean. Her version is on youtube

  • HoneyDipp

    Nice article!

  • gmarie

    With the exception of what’s love got to do with it all of these songs would’ve sounded equally great performed by the singers they were originally meant for.

    As for “don’t cha” (PSD) this is the first I’ve ever heard of it being meant for Paris Hilton. I do recall the song being originally released by a singer named Tori Alamaze- I’m sure her version is on YT somewhere. It was good and it was soulful. but you know how the industry goes. PSD had the “look”

    • Dev

      The PCD song is funny because i’m sure on a clip of Nicole Zingerburger she was saying that she wrote/co wrong the songs on the first PCD album as well as singing all the vocals

      • gmarie

        lmao!! from what I understand Cee-Lo wrote the song.That girl gotta quit. she has a nice voice but she gotta quit.

      • Chevonne22

        “Zingerburger” hee hee hee hee

    • Tonya

      Yes, it was originally released by Tori Alamaze. I live in Miami and that song blew up, it was all over the radio. Tori Alamaze did a better job than the Pussycat Dolls. So, I’m completely lost as to how it was meant for Paris Hilton.

      • I was just about to comment about how they left out Tori Alamaze with regard to “Don’t Cha”. I don’t know how Paris crept up in this.

  • IllyPhilly

    Wow, it seems as though nobody writes their own music. Makes me wonder how many rappers actually write their own rhymes??

    • Jenn


      • gmarie

        which is why they go broke so quickly! Or I should say never obtain half the wealth they brag about. Song writing and producing is where the real money is at!

        • IllyPhilly

          I so agree with that.

      • IllyPhilly

        I believe it.

      • Tonya

        Lmao!!! Exactly. All those big artists like Beyonce, Rihanna, Britney Spears, etc. don’t write sh*! Ne-Yo and Keri Hilson are actually great songwriters. Chris Brown wrote a couple songs. Christina Milian wrote Play for Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera wrote Miss.Independent for Kelly Clarkson. Akon wrote Just Dance, Poker Face and LoveGame for Lady Gaga, so there a few still out there.

    • ijs

      its the same with movies, very few actors write their own movies

    • Mariah Carey writes and produces most of her Material

    • Tonya

      It’s rumored that Lil Wayne had a ghostwriter for The Carter albums. I believe Gillie the Kid did The Carter 1 and 2. And Currency did The Carter 3. I’m not sure if it’s true or not. I do know that Jay-Z wrote Still Dre, there’s probably many more that I don’t know of.

  • stillJUICYbaby!

    Another man’s trash, is another man’s treasure. I am glad the person in which the music was written for rejected it!

    I couldn’t imagine Donna summers singing “what’s live got to do with it”

    • Sweet Honey

      Tina is an icon and can also work any song..Donna can sing anything, she is a underrated vocalist. It doesn’t surprise me that Donna turned it down since she’s a songwriter herself. Donna also turned “What a Feeling” by Irene Cara from Flashdance.

  • Well, it’s not a guarantee that the songs would have been a hit if the “original” person had sung it (although I could see a few of the “originals” taking some of the songs & making them hits, but I guess we’ll never know) … I couldn’t imagine anyone else singing What Loves Got To Do With It, but Tina & bless Janet for passing on How Will I Know b/c THAT song was meant for WHITNEY … I could hear Celine singing Unbreak My Heart & making it a hit too … Leona, Leona, Leona, what was she thinking, she should have most def taken We Found Love b/c she needs a hit like, yesterday (Rihanna been struck by lightening twice, 1st with Umbrella, that was meant for MJB & now We Found Love … lucky girl) … and I don’t want anyone else in life to offer Paris Hilton a song, she just might take you up on it and TRY to sing it … NO NO NO!!!!!!!

    • Tonya

      Rihanna was struck by lightening four times, S.O.S was meant for Christina Milian but she turned it down and Chris Brown wasn’t supposed to record Disturbia, he actually wrote the song for Rihanna. Another unknown the J.Holiday song Bed was intended for Chris Brown but his ppl turned it down. He actually paid them $100,000 to get the song back but it was already given to J.Holiday.

      • Whoa! I didn’t know that. Chris and nem should have definitely done “Bed”. That song fits perfectly with “Take you Down” and “Poppin”. J. Holiday did it justice though…what happened to his career?

        • tysandsnyc


  • Just my 2 cents

    How will I know was NOT the name of Whitney’s debut album. Her debut album was the self-titled “Whitney Houston”. Also, “Bad” was originally meant to be a duet for MJ and Prince, but Prince declined, which is what some say stemmed the longstanding “beef” between the two.

    • ijs

      yeah it was all playful bandit although i think that song might have still been fire if prince had jumped on it. he should do a remake or something just to see

  • KJ23

    I was surprised by A LOT of these!