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 ...
#6. A 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.
#5. Prince 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.
#4. "Get the Party Started" by Pink Was Written by Linda Perry of 4 Non Blondes
2001's "Get the Party Started" was one of Pink's (we hope none of you mind this more traditional spelling, but typing P!nk too many times just makes our stomachs churn a little) biggest hits and one of four singles off her second album, M!ssundaztood (another title we're going to do our best to only type once). Much of that album was written or co-written by a woman named Linda Perry.
Who's that? Well, you've heard at least one of her songs -- she was the frontwoman of '90s one-hit wonder 4 Non Blondes. Their (huge) hit was 1992's "What's Up?"
It's not clear what that song is about, but it's one of those songs that sounds like maybe you shouldn't make fun of it, because it might be about something important ("And I pray/Oh my god do I pray/I pray every single day/For a revolution"). Well, that's the song that made Pink reach out to her, beginning their professional relationship by telling Perry, "I love that you're not hip and that's why I'm calling you."
"You just have a certain, how shall I say ... 'je ne sais quoi.'"
After such a glowing compliment, instead of whipping out some powerful song about the triumph of feminism, Perry offered Pink "Get the Party Started," the first dance track she ever wrote. In fact, describing the writing process in an interview, Perry said she intentionally "put every wrong instrument in this song" and "pulled every catch phrase you possibly could imagine," never dreaming the song would actually be recorded, let alone become a major pop hit.
By the way, Pink was not the only 2000s pop star to cash in on a Linda Perry hit. Notably, in juxtaposition to "Get the Party Started," Perry wrote the emotionally vulnerable "Beautiful" for Christina Aguilera. Yep, like the Notorious B.I.G. tribute earlier, it's another track that sounds like the singer's deeply personal statement to the world ("I am beautiful, no matter what they say/Words can't bring me down") that turns out to have been written by a stranger.
We would be surprised if tank rounds could bring that woman down.