Little known facts about well known songs

Eddie Van Halen recorded the guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s hit single “Beat It”. He agreed to do the recording with three conditions 1. He wouldn’t be credited on the album because he didn’t want his band mates knowing he did the recording 2. He didn’t want to be paid, he only wanted a case of beer 3. Eddie asked Michael to “Teach him how to dance someday.” The recording took about 20 minutes to finish.

What do Gnarles Barkley, The Black Keys, Broken Bells, Jay-Z, Norah Jones, Gorillaz, Adele, Beck and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers have in common? They all worked with one of my favourite music producers, Danger Mouse (Brian Joseph Burton).

Nicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Dolls) passed on recording “We Found Love” (a hit for Rhianna), passed on “Crazy” (a hit for Gnarls Barkley), and “Just Dance” (a hit for Lady Gaga). No wonder I had to google who she is!


Kylie Minogue passed on recording “Toxic”, which has since become Britney Spears’ highest selling single. When asked why she turned it down, Kylie said, “Stupidity,” but also humbly said, “Hey, Britney did a fantastic job. Maybe it wouldn’t have been the same with me.”


Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” was originally written for Celine Dion by Diane Warren, who also wrote “Because You Love Me” (Celine Dion) and “How Do I Live” (LeAnn Rimes).

All of these hit songs were written by Terius Youngdell Nash aka The Dream: “Umbrella” (Rhianna), “Single Ladies” (Beyonce), “Baby” (Justin Bieber), “Me Against The Music” (Britney Spears feat. Madonna), and “Ride” (Ciara feat. Ludacris).

The original line in “With a Little Help from My Friends” by The Beatles was “What would you do if I sang out of tune, Would you stand up and throw tomatoes at me?” but Ringo made them change it, presumably because he didn’t want anyone to actually throw tomatoes at him if they were to perform it in concert. Good one Ringo!

The song “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia is actually a cover. The original is Ednaswap. I think Natalie did a great job on that song.

“Tainted Love” is written by Ed Cobb of the Four Preps. It was originally recorded by Gloria Jones in 1964 and was made popular by Soft Cell in 1981. It has subsequently been covered by Marilyn Manson and The Living End. Samples of the Soft Cell version appear in Rhianna’s “SOS” and The Veronica’s “Hook Me Up”.

“I Love Rock & Roll” was originally by The Arrows (1975), Joan Jett and The Blackhearts covered it in 1982. It was also recorded by Brittney Spears! (LMFAO)

Bryan Adam’s song “Summer of 69” is inspired by the sexual position 69, not the year 1969. In an interview he said: “Some parts [of the song] are autobiographical, but the title comes from the idea of 69 as a metaphor for sex. Most people thought it was about the year 1969.”


Though the song “Closing Time” by Semisonic is synonymous with “Last Drinks” at a bar, the songwriter Dan Wilson admits it’s actually about the impending birth of his daughter. Drummer Jacob Slichter said that it is about “being sent forth from the womb as if by a bouncer clearing out a bar.”

Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” was written by Pharrell for Michael Jackson’s final album, Invincible.

“…Baby One More Time” was rejected by TLC and Backstreet Boys.

Rihanna’s “Umbrella” was originally offered to Britney Spears who passed on it.

“Red Red Wine” was written by Neil Diamond in 1967. It was later made popular by UB40 with their signature reggae styling.

Bruce Springsteen wrote “Blinded by the Light.” It was later made popular by Manfred Mann.

Swedish songwriter and producer Max Martin (Karl Martin Sandberg) has written 23 Billboard Hot 100 Number One Songs, outranked only by Paul McCartney (32) and John Lennon (26). His number one songs include: “…Baby One More Time” and “3” (Britney Spears), “I Kissed a Girl”, “Teenage Dream, “Roar”, “California Gurls”, “Last Friday Night” (Katy Perry), “It’s Gonna Be Me” (NSYNC), “One More Night” (Maroon 5), “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space” (Taylor Swift), “So What” (Pink), “My Life Would Suck Without You” (Kelly Clarkson), “Can’t Feel My Face” (The Weeknd), “Can’t Stop The Feeling” (Justin Timberlake).

“Come Together” by The Beatles was conceived as a rally song for LSD guru Timothy Leary’s campaign to become the governor of California and unseat the Republican incumbent Ronald Reagan in 1969. Leary’s campaign slogan was “come together, join the party,” with the word “party” intended as a reference to drug culture. Leary’s campaign came to an end when he was incarcerated for drug possession, which freed Lennon up to develop it as a Beatles song instead. Leary later attacked Lennon for “stealing” the idea, but Lennon maintained that he owed him nothing.

“Shine On You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd, is a tribute to their original singer-guitarist Syd Barrett. Barrett was asked to leave the band in 1968 after displaying erratic behaviour on and off stage. He was a heavy user of psychedelic drugs, which is thought to have contributed to his decline in mental illness. While the band was recording the song, Barrett actually walked into the studio unannounced, wearing a white trenchcoat and white shoes, and had a shaved head and eyebrows. The band didn’t recognise him at first. He was much fatter than when they last saw him, and when asked how he put on so much weight, Barrett said, “I’ve got a very large fridge in the kitchen, and I’ve been eating a lot of pork chops!”

In “Steal My Kisses”, Ben Harper masks the sinister movements of a stalker following a girl from Nashville to Carolina with catchy hook-laden melodies and chilled danceable rhythms.

Published by liamgmusic

Singer | Guitarist | Wedding Entertainer | Songwriter

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