It's no surprise that musicians don't write all of their own songs. Hell, with all the boy bands and Justin Biebers of the world, you assume it's all done on some assembly line anyway.
But when you actually sit down to look at the songwriting credits on famous tracks, the writers often come way the hell out of left field. For instance ...
6A Barely Known Rapper Wrote Puff Daddy's Heartfelt Tribute to Notorious B.I.G.
The murders of Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace (aka the Notorious B.I.G.) stand as some of the darkest moments in music history, and nobody seemed to be quite as grief stricken as Bad Boy Records founder Puff Daddy.
For months Diddy refused to do anything but look longingly out of the nearest window.
In the months following the death of his close friend Notorious B.I.G., Puff released a tender, heartfelt tribute song called "I'll Be Missing You." You can tell how heartfelt it was because Puffy felt it was worth ripping off an entire Police song for the music:
But as for the lyrics, you can see Puff Daddy reaching back for his most personal memories of his friend:
Seems like yesterday we used to rock the show/So far from hanging on the block for dough/Words can't express what you mean to me/Even though you're gone we're still a team.
Hmmm ... hold on. A quick scan of the songwriters reveals three names, none of which are Puffy.
Two of them should come as no surprise: Faith Evans, who sings the chorus on the song and also happens to be the wife of the late rapper, and Sting, who happens to own 100 percent of the publishing rights to the song because, you know, that's who Puff stole the music from. But the third name is the mystery here ... Todd Gaither.
Who in the hell is Todd Gaither, you ask? Our team of Internet researchers has confirmed this to be a barely known rapper and former Jay-Z protege who goes by the stage name Sauce Money, assuming he's even on stages anymore these days.
Here he is in a Vibe magazine interview discussing the process that goes into making Puff Daddy seem capable of actual human emotion ...
Writing for Puff is easy, he gives you the blueprint, the direction. He tells you, "I wanna say this." For "I'll Be Missing You" we sat down and he told me what he wanted. And being as that my mother had just passed not too long before, I just added sprinkles in there.
So, what's supposed to be a eulogy from one friend to another is not only not even written by said friend, but also it's not even written with the dead friend in mind. First an entire Police song, and then the tender emotions of another person. Is there nothing Puff Daddy won't sample?
Puff Daddy has decreed your song to be eminent domain.
5Prince Wrote the Bangles' "Manic Monday"
"Manic Monday" was the Bangles' first big hit. It's also the song most widely credited with leading to the band's demise, which is shocking when you take into account that we're talking about the band that also recorded "Walk Like an Egyptian."
Historical accounts suggest that this is actually how people walked in 1986.
That said, we're also talking about a song that painfully rhymes "Sunday" with "I don't have to run day." So it makes some sort of sense.
Curiously, the writing credit for "Manic Monday" was cryptically listed only as "Christopher." If that is a mystery that's been gnawing away at your brain since the mid-'80s, allow us to solve it for you. The "Christopher" in question is the lead character in the god awful film Under the Cherry Moon. The tiny man who filled that lead role was none other than Prince Rogers Nelson, more commonly known to the world as just Prince.
You know, the guy who tries not to bring up "Batdance" anymore?
Prince originally intended to give "Manic Monday" to Appolonia 6, one of the groups he created in the '80s, but eventually decided to give it to the Bangles instead. While we have no sources to back it up, we have to assume that this decision boiled down to the fact that Prince had probably banged Appolonia frontwoman Patricia Kotero hundreds of times by then, but had yet to lay as much as a baby-sized hand on Susanna Hoffs, the insanely hot soon-to-be lead singer of the Bangles.
The song went to No. 2 on the Billboard charts (bested only by Prince's own "Kiss") and left the general public assuming that Susanna Hoffs was the lead singer of the Bangles. That was a problem in a band that always maintained they were equals, with no frontwoman. If we're guessing, we'd say the band was probably also jealous that Prince wasn't hitting on them. Shit, we're even kind of jealous about that.
His true love is music, or just sex with musical instruments.
And before you go thinking Prince only makes careers for women he'd like to sleep with, if you remember Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O'Connor, you'll remember her biggest hit "Nothing Compares 2 U," a cover of a song Prince originally wrote for one of his side projects, the Family.
What we're saying is that in the '80s Prince wrote every single song anyone ever sang.