In the same way that action stars don't do their own stunts and surrogate mothers don't raise their own babies, singers often rely on other songwriters to provide the lyrics to their biggest hits. It's never widely publicized who did the actual writing, and as we have mentioned before, sometimes it's for good reason.
6Michael Jackson Wrote "Do the Bartman"
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The Simpsons has been on the air so long that some of you aren't old enough to remember that at one time it was an absolute merchandising juggernaut. There was a span of a few years when you couldn't leave the house without seeing Bart Simpson dolls, T-shirts, lunch boxes, video games, and, at the apex, a music video for a single called "Do the Bartman":
So what songwriting hack was available in 1990 to slap together that sad, transparent cash grab?
Here's something cool you probably didn't know about the late Michael Jackson: He loved The Simpsons. If you remember the third season debut, "Stark Raving Dad," you'll probably remember it as that episode where Michael Jackson provides the voice of a huge white mental patient who thinks he's Michael Jackson.
It was probably the most ingenious bit of stunt casting ever, and a pretty bold move for the young show to have the King of Pop on as a guest star. Few knew at the time that Jackson had always been a fan, and longtime Simpsons producer James L. Brooks explained in a DVD commentary how he fielded a call in his office one day from Jackson himself, who proclaimed that he was a huge fan of Bart and wanted to write a No. 1 single for him, which is a little pretentious, but whatever. It's Michael Jackson. "Do the Bartman" is what he came up with.
Looking back, the whole thing is a little weird. It's a rap song, featuring Bart Simpson rapping words written by Michael Jackson, who is not someone necessarily known for his ill rhymes. But who are we to argue? The video was directed by Brad Bird (!), got heavy rotation on MTV, and topped the charts in five other countries. None of whom could have known that the show would still be on the air 23 years later.
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Or that Michael Jackson wouldn't.
5Bruno Mars Wrote CeeLo Green's Hit "Fuck You"
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If you've ever suffered from a gut-wrenching breakup so devastating that your heart actually bled out through your eyeballs during intense crying sessions, then you probably enjoyed CeeLo Green's 2010 viral hit "Fuck You." And if you haven't, guess what? You're the gold digger CeeLo is talking about in the song. Good job.
Even though most of us will never experience the catharsis of using a soaring tenor to give our ex a "fuck you," we appreciated the sentiment. Relive the summer of 2010 in all its glory by watching the video again.
And where else could such a track come from but the goofy head of stout little soul singer CeeLo Green?
Actually, it started in the mind of an even shorter R&B singer, and for once we're not talking about Prince. It just so happened that while CeeLo Green was recording his album The Lady Killer, Motown-influenced Bruno Mars was recording his debut album in the same studio. You know Bruno Mars, right? He's the pop singer whose pompadour is rivaled only by Little Richard's in audacity.
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Even Conan O'Brien feels threatened.
Not that Bruno Mars was a total rookie. He already had a few songwriting credits under his belt by that point, including the third most popular '80s hook that was turned into an ode to oral sex: "Right Round."
So Bruno Mars, a guy who looks like the love child of Elvis and the Rock, presented CeeLo with a half-finished version of the song that eventually became "Fuck You." Two hours later, the song was finished and recorded. Approximately 15 minutes after that, the Internet found it and had a collective orgasm. You should expect your grandma to send you a parody version of the song any day now, by the way.