Hartman Group As rock 'n' roll's preeminent purist, it makes perfect sense…
- Posted by Pat Pemberton
He's not the only one to flip-flop on song destinations. Here are several hit songs that were intended for other artists but wound up with their makers.
"The Long and Winding Road," The Beatles
After meeting Paul McCartney in a club, hip-swinging Tom Jones asked the Beatle if he would write a song for him. A week later, McCartney sent one over -- with the requirement that Jones release it as his next single. Jones was all in favor, but his management wanted to stick to previous plans of releasing his song "Without Love (There is Nothing)" next. While "Without Love" became a Top 10 hit, "The Long and Winding Road" was the Fab Four's last single before breaking up. Jones said he spent years regretting the decision. "I was kicking myself," he told Wales Online in 2012.
"Telephone," Lady Gaga
Before she was a fashion-savvy pop star, Gaga was a songwriter for Sony/ATV. She wrote this one for Britney Spears, but Spears rejected it. Gaga, secretly pleased by the snub, recorded it herself. She was going to invite Spears as her guest vocalist but ultimately went with Beyonce.
"Born in the USA," Springsteen
In 1981, director Paul Schrader sent Springsteen a script and asked him to come up with some music for the film he was working on. One day, while looking at the screenplay -- titled "Born in the USA" -- Springsteen turned a tune he was writing called "Vietnam" into "Born in the USA." But then, he liked the song so much, he kept it. As a consolation, he contributed the song "Light of Day" to the movie. In the film -- renamed "Light of Day" -- Joan Jett and Michael J. Fox perform the song as members of the fictional band The Barbusters.
"Superstition," Stevie Wonder
When Wonder was recording songs for his 1972 album "Talking Book," Jeff Beck was brought in to record some guitar tracks for the album. In return, Wonder was to write a soul song fro Beck. During a break, Beck picked up a pair of drum sticks and began playing a drum groove.
"And (Wonder) came back from lunch and said, 'Keep playing, keep playing," Beck told the Australian Broadcasting Association in 2009.
Wonder finished it off, keeping Beck's drum intro. Then he offered Beck the song -- until Motown convinced Wonder to record it and release it as the album's first single.
Beck did release a version of it, but by that time, Wonder's version -- debuted while on tour with the Rolling Stones -- was already a No. 1 single.
"Powderfinger," Neil Young
After Lynyrd Skynyrd called out Young on their song "Sweet Home Alabama" -- a response to Young's criticism of the South in his songs "Alabama" and "Southern Man" -- many sensed a feud. But Young was actually friends with members of the band and sent a tape of this song to Skynyrd frontman Ronnie Van Zandt so the band could record it. "We love Neil Young," Van Zandt once said in an interview. "We love his music." Van Zandt and two other bandmates were killed in the infamous 1977 plane crash before the band could record "Powderfinger," which Young released in 1979.
"Put Your Hands Up," Nerina Pallot
This song was considered for Kylie Minogue's 2010 album "Aphrodite," but there was one problem: Minogue wanted another song with a similar title -- "Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)" -- written by Nervo. Two of Pallot's songs did wind up on the album, though, including the title track. Meanwhile, "Put Your Hands Up" became the first single from Pallot's album "Year of the Wolf."
"Cover Me," Springsteen
Around the time he was writing "This Little Girl" for Gary U.S. Bonds, Springsteen wrote this for Donna Summer, the disco queen who was still popular even after the genre fizzled. "She could really sing and I disliked the veiled racism of the anti-disco movement," Springsteen wrote in his book Songs. "When I cut the demo, it came out so good that I held on to it. Later I wrote another song, 'Protection,' and recorded it with Donna and Quincy Jones in L.A." While "Protection" didn't do as well as "Cover Me" on the charts, it did garner Summer a Grammy nod for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.
"Dim All the Lights," Donna Summer
After Rod Stewart stormed the disco charts with his pulsating "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" in 1978, Summer wrote this club thumper for him. When she changed her mind about giving it away, Summer wound up with another Top 10 single. Meanwhile, Stewart struggled to reclaim his rock cred.
After signing the band Mazarati to his Paisley Park label, Prince gave them a bluesy demo to record. But after the band transformed "Kiss" into a funk tune, Prince decided he wanted it back. Inspired by Mazarati's funk version, he added falsetto vocals and guitar. The song -- which credited Mazarati for backing vocals -- became a No. 1 single and earned Prince a Grammy. A year later, in 1989, Mazarati recorded its final album.
"The Wind Blows," The All-American Rejects
This pop song was originally written for Gwen Stefani, who -- ahem -- rejected it. "I guess the chorus wasn't as strong as she would've liked it," guitarist Nick Wheeler told the Oklahoman in 2009. "So we kept it for ourselves, Ty (Ritter) rewrote the chorus and we're proud as hell of it. It's really a pretty song."