You Were On That Song!? 9 Celebs Who Showed Up On Some Of Our Favorite Tracks And We Didn’t Even Know It

December 18, 2012  |  
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Whether these artists were huge names or little known artists at the time, they’ve been featured on some of our favorite songs over the years, producing, singing, writing, and more. While many of their voices and talents were ignored since all the attention was on the major artist of that time they were working with, they all went on to have a great deal of success in their own right, even passing up the people they once had to go through hell and high water to get on a track with. Interested in finding who sang on what? You know what to do–get to clickin’. (Sorry, but you knew that was coming…)

Whitney Houston Does “I’m Every Woman” At 15

When Whitney did “I’m Every Woman” for The Bodyguard soundtrack back in ’92, she respectfully payed homage to Chaka Khan, but put a whole new spin on the classic. Let’s be honest–she managed to kill her cover of the track. But did you know that Whitney was on the original track “I’m Every Woman”? That’s right! As just a mere 15-year-old, Whitney was doing back-up vocals for everybody, but how many of you knew that she was “sangin’ in the background” *in a Pamela James voice* for this song?


John Legend Tickles The Ivories On “Everything Is Everything”

Before he made it big on his own, and even before he was hopping on some huge Kanye productions and features (like “Selfish” and “Encore”), John Legend was just playing piano on tracks to get his name out there. One of the best tracks he has been featured on would definitely be Lauryn Hill’s “Everything Is Everything,” where Legend, still John Stephens at that time, was tickling the ivories while Hill gave the real to her fans. On top of doing that, Legend was also a vocalist on Alicia Keys’s “You Don’t Know My Name,” which Kanye West produced. Who knew!?

Chaka Khan Does “Reading Rainbow”

Known for her wealth of classics on her own and while rolling with Rufus, Khan definitely earned her title as the “Queen of Funk Soul.” But when she wasn’t asking folks to tell her something good, did you know that Chaka Khan was singing the theme song to Reading Rainbow? After the original version I’m sure we all know, Khan took over on vocals in the late ’90s and until the show went off in 2005. It’s safe to say that Khan made the theme song, which we already loved before she touched it, all the more soulful.


Ashanti Sings On “I’m Real” Alongside J.Lo & Ja Rule

Way before “Always On Time” brought her to the attention of most people, Ashanti was not only writing jams for other artists, including writing the hooks for some of the biggest jams by rappers in the game, but she was singing background for them as well. She provided vocals for the Jennifer Lopez/Ja Rule duet, “I’m Real,” as well as Jenny’s remix of “Ain’t It Funny.” Seeing as her voice isn’t the strongest or biggest we’ve ever heard, you might not recognize her on the tracks, but no question, she was on both.

Ja’net DuBois Is The Voice Beind “Movin’ On Up”

You know Ja’net DuBois from her time playing Willona Woods on Good Times, but she’s also an amazing singer. DuBois actually co-wrote and sang the intro song to The Jeffersons, which everybody knows is up there in classic theme songs, with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and the theme song from her own show, Good Times. The song was done by DuBois with the backing of a gospel choir, and is forever imitated by everybody and their mothers when the show comes on. “Fish don’t fry in the kitcheeeeeeeen, beans don’t burn on the griiiiiiilll.”


Quincy Jones Does The Theme Song To “Sanford and Son”

Speaking of popular theme songs, while the jam from Sanford and Son doesn’t have any real lyrics or vocals at all, it’s more known for the funk-da-fied instrumental that greets us when the show starts and Lamont Sanford pulls into the junkyard/home he shares with his father, Fred Sanford. The track, entitled “The Streetbeater,” was composed by Quincy Jones waaaaaay back in 1973. It seems that people only really remember the work of Jones from the years he started working with Michael Jackson (oh, and his work on The Wiz), but he’s definitely behind a slew of classics you hadn’t even thought about.

Luther Vandross Sings On “Part Time Lover”

Our main man Luther, who we miss dearly around these parts, became a huge name when he debuted Never Too Much in 1980. And even though his star was rising rapidly, he still took time out to lay some vocals down for his friend Stevie Wonder, including singing background on the popular track “Part-Time Lover” in 1985. He hummed on the track at the end of Stevie’s verses, and of course, blessed the track with some smooth background vocals. Maybe that’s why the jam reached number one, too much talent to ignore!


Stevie Wonder Sings “Let’s Get Serious” With Jermaine Jackson

I didn’t know that people were unaware of this collaboration until I revealed this information to some friends in college and they were shocked. After his time with his brothers as The Jackson 5 (later known as The Jacksons), we know that Jermaine Jackson parted ways with the group so that he could hopefully have solo success. In an attempt to garner all that, Jackson put out the album Let’s Get Serious and the single of the same name in 1980. On that track, Stevie Wonder is featured in the chorus and doing background vocals, and he also produced the track. “Let’s Get Serious” was Jackson’s first number one soul hit, and finally gave him some recognition outside of his brothers, but too bad Michael eclipsed his fame massively.

Missy Elliott And Timbaland Produce And Sing On Tracks for Jodeci

Before Elliott was a superstar in hip-hop, and even before she was writing for the likes of Aaliyah, Elliott was in a group called Sista. And while the group caught the eye of DeVante Swing of Jodeci fame, it was Elliott, and her friend Tim Mosley (Timbaland) who really stuck out to the famed producer and became part of a collective, Swing Mob. Before they knew it, Timbaland was producing Jodeci tracks for classic albums like Diary of a Mad Band, and Missy was featured on a few of them, credited as Misdemeanor. Even though Sista didn’t make it out of the New Jack Swing Era, we all know that Missy and Timbaland continued on to do major things.

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