4Dr. Dre Outsourced the Song Tribute to His Dead Brother
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No music fan makes it out of childhood without realizing that lots of their favorite artists' deep, meaningful lyrics were in fact written by somebody else. A teenage girl didn't write "Baby One More Time" -- that would be creepy. No, an adult male wrote it for a teenage girl to sing.
But then there are the deeply personal songs that could only have been written by the artist -- Alanis Morissette did in fact write "You Oughta Know" about the time she blew a dude in a theater (history doesn't remember what movie was playing, but for some reason we're sure it was Predator). Dr. Dre's track "The Message" would definitely have to fall into that category. It's a heartfelt tribute to his brother Tyree, who had been killed in a fight during N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton tour in 1989.
Even for one so averse to coming up with lyrics, you'd expect Dre to buckle down and actually write such a personal song. He did not. From the style of rapping, one would be forgiven for assuming that the writing of this one fell to Eminem -- but it wasn't him, either. So who wrote the very personal and touching words, "This one is for my brother, Tyree, R.I.P." and "I miss you, sometimes I wish I just died wit you"?
A guy named Royce da 5'9".
We'd tell you his Internet name, but it's just silly.
And if you're thinking that maybe Dre jotted down some personal thoughts about his brother and just had Royce da 5'9" make it rhyme, sorry. In fact, Royce da 5'9" didn't even intend the lyrics for Dre's brother: He wrote them for an altogether different fellow who was shot in the neck. It just so happened that Dre heard the words and thought "Oh, that fits Tyree" and used them.
But by then, Royce was used to shit like that. And when he had the nerve to speak up about writing lyrics for prominent rappers, Dre and Eminem cut ties with him for a while. But the good news? The rift didn't last, and 10 years later, Royce hooked up with Eminem for a new album, one that featured a song with another ghostwriter on this list, Bruno Mars.
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Seriously, look at that thing.
3The Bee Gees Wrote the Biggest Country Song of the '80s
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If you were alive in 1983, you were aware of two things: Pac-Man and Dolly Parton's boobs. Actually, if you've been alive at any point since the late 1960s, you've been aware of Dolly Parton's boobs, but that was especially true in 1983, when Dolly was singing the biggest song of the year with her future partner in face surgery crime Kenny Rogers.
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Here they are, playing Dueling Strokes.
Their duet "Islands in the Stream" was the perfect example of middle-aged sexual chemistry between the two biggest country stars of the day. See for yourself in the performance below: Rogers and Parton are practically reaching for the clean-up sex towel when the whole song is over.
"Islands in the Stream" was so huge that it hopped from the country charts to the pop charts, where it reigned until the other king of pop, Lionel Richie, knocked it out with "All Night Long (All Night)," which is a stupid fucking name for a song. But back to "Islands in the Stream." Parton is a celebrated songwriter, as you probably know, so you'd think that she was the one who penned this steaming celebration of doin' it with a professional Santa impersonator.
"We ride it together, ah-ah. Makin love with each other, ah-ah." -actual lyrics
But "Islands in the Stream" didn't come from the loins of Gramps and Granny Horny up there, it came from someone altogether more disturbing: the Bee Gees.
By 1983, the Bee Gees were six years past the insanely successful soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, and by then disco was so passe that Congress practically gave it a state funeral. But the brothers Gibb weren't ones to let something so small as being intensely hated and completely out of favor stop them from working. They just wrote and produced hit songs for other people, including "Islands in the Stream," which was actually meant for Marvin Gaye.
Fortunately for them, 20 years later, the Gibb backlash subsided enough for the team to perform their own songs once more. Their version of "Islands in the Stream" below isn't bad, considering it's three brothers using tight harmonies to sing about making love to each other.