“Happy” For Cee Lo, “Irreplaceable” For Faith Hill? Hit Songs Originally Meant For Other Artists (Part II)

May 1, 2014 ‐ By

Can you imagine if your favorite songs by your favorite artists were sung by someone completely different? Well, before the following songs were topping the charts and making us dance (or cry in one case), they were in the hands of other popular artists, who for some reason, decided that they wanted or needed to pass on the track. Here are 10 such examples of hit songs that were originally meant for other artists, but when they were rejected, became some of the biggest hits in the careers of these artists…

songs originally written for other artists


Cee Lo – “Happy”

In an interview with Howard Stern recently, Pharrell Williams revealed that the song that made him America’s black sweetheart was originally intended for Cee Lo, though it was written and produced by Williams. Not only was it originally intended for the “Forget You” singer, Cee Lo actually recorded a version of the song and everything, but his people weren’t feeling it:

“[Cee Lo Green] wanted to do it…and he did do it.
He burns my version! But…how do I say this diplomatically? The powers that be, at the time, did not see it fit for him…they elected not to do that song.”

MadameNoire Video

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  • Brian Simpson

    You forgot to include “Physical”. It was originally written for Rod Stewart but went to Olivia Newton-John instead, who made it a huge hit!

  • keepitcuteorputitonmute#1

    Who the fxck cares

  • Steve Stone

    Maria Carey thought a song was to schmaltzy? Child please

  • therealnumber1

    I can see Cee-Lo ripping Happy and I can picture Christina Milan doing S.O.S as well as Celine doing unbreak my heart…I actually liked Say I by Christina…Another good is Britney Spear’s hit Hit Me Baby One MOre Time which was originally for TLC…

  • Stacy D. Smith

    The first time I ever heard “Happy” I knew it had to have been written for Cee Lo. Sounds like a song he would sing. It’s even arranged in a way that suits his voice.

    “Irreplaceable” though? I had no idea. Here’s what’s funny though. Listen to “Irreplaceable” and then “How To Love.” The vocal arrangements are interchangeable.

  • JewelThompson

    I KNOW Cee Lo put a hurting on his version of “Happy”. I can really see him singing that song. However, if the reason Pharrell got his shot is because of optics/persona – I can see that also. I still want to hear Cee Lo’s vocals on this though 🙂

  • FamuRattler85

    Now that I know Cee-Lo was supposed to sing “Happy”, I think I would have liked it better if he had.

  • Miss E

    I could definitely hear Cee-Lo singing “Happy”!

  • At A Crossroads

    I always thought Irreplaceable sounded like a country song anyway. And I would love to hear Cee-lo’s Happy. I can almost hear it in my imagination.

  • lea

    Now y’all know Cee lo would have slayed the mess out of “Happy.” Now I really want to hear his version.

  • Chanda

    I can totally see Cee-Lo singing Happy. Now I wonder how many songs where passed up for Whitney Houston to sing. God rest her soul (one of the greatest singers) but Houston never written a song her whole career.

  • kiki j

    I would need to hear the country version of Irreplaceable because I just can’t see it. I imagine it was nearly a whole different song. But the rest of the list I can see being interchangeable. Especially ceelo singing Happy.

    • itiswhatitis

      the version Beyonce put out IS country…it just went POP…there is a reggae version and it STILL sounds country in that genre. hell, Sade’s By your side, is a country song, truth be told!

      • kiki j

        I tried really really hard to see it your way but I keep drawing a blank lol. Country? It’s extremely mainstream rnb. All day long! Lol

        • Chanda

          I can imagine it being country without that drum beat plus Bey put her own spin on Irreplaceable. I sometimes hear Beyonce’s version on the pop/soft rock station where I’m at.

          • kiki j

            The lyrics would’ve had to be completely different. Like every lyric. It’s not the beat that gets me but the lyrics. “Now go ahead and get gone call up that chick and see if she’s home. Oops i bet you thought that I don’t know….” country? I’m trying ladies I’m trying!

            • Chanda

              Yes, that is country! This generation of country singers are sassy like the R&B ones. Like someone else said, I can see/hear Underwood singing that lyric.

              • kiki j

                Well yes Underwood I could see singing this, ok y’all win lol

                • oscardgrouch

                  A country group actually performed the song with Beyonce on an awards show. I think it was Lady Antebellum. I’m sure you can google it and find the performance.

                  • ladybug

                    Thanks !

              • bailedex

                Or Miranda Lambert

  • Queen2Cent

    I think Cee Lo would’ve done a great job with Happy, but not sure if Faith version of Irreplaceable.

    • Reese

      I could see Carrie Underwood doing it Justice. Faith is too sweet to kick somebody out.

  • tarrilove

    I know Christina still mad about passing up SOS. They don’t know what to do with her. Bad management. She could be a huge pop star, without competeting with Riri or Beyonce. She has her own sex appeal. She needs to ask Demi Lovato to right her some songs. She needs to be pop r&b.

    • Miss E

      It wasn’t her management, it was her. She wouldn’t listen to anyone. She wanted her boyfriend to produce everything. She played herself.

      • monitorette

        The lyrics sung by Christina ‘I’m make it happen/ I make a way/if you’ve got something to prove/If you feel the same way/Say I” and the lyrics of the Young Jayzee are really good. No wonder why she rejected S.O.S, which is pop bubblegum compared to SAY I. (even though I like the production sound of S.O.S.. If you people keep denigrating valuable tracks like Say I just because the sales were ‘poor’, well interesting artists like Christina Millian will irreversibly be dumped by the music industry.

        • .

          Say i wasn’t really all of that either.

          • monitorette

            All I wanted to say is that SAY I had an uplifting message conveyed, with simple lyrics, as saying to you who is listening, if you’re feeling the same way, say I. It is often said that we’re living in an age in which everything has already been talked over so many times, and then someone drops a track like SAY I (even though upon a sampled music) and we realize there is still room for an accurate song on empowerment.

            As Christina’s vocal range, it suits my ears.

        • Miss E

          “Say I” was okay. She can’t sing all that great, if you ask me.
          Her producer boyfriend at the time was Dre from Cool & Dre, she tried to make it work with Nick Cannon before Dre. But then a couple of years later she hooks up with The Dream and has his baby. You tell me what she was tryna do?

      • tarrilove

        Oh , she picked the wrong boyfriend to produce. She should have had the dream produce. Instead Dre of the Cool and Dre.

        • Miss E

          She should be satisfied now. She had his child. lmao

  • Courtney Puzzo

    yeah so what Faith Hill can sing almost anything from Stephony Smith to Bruce Springsteen and her higher registers are stronger than Beyoncé’s are. MRS Smith wrote It’s Your Love which Faith sang harmony on with her husband Tim McGraw in 1997 it was the #1 country song of that year winning many awards and receiving nominations for others including a Grammy nomination for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals though they didn’t win

    • PolkaDots

      Yes, Mrs MCGRAW can SAAAANG. Love that girl!

    • Phil J.

      really? this may be my own ignorance because I haven’t really listened to a lot of her songs, but i never thought she was much of a singer