Music

Beyoncé, Cee Lo Green, Michael Jackson and the Shocking Composers Behind Their Biggest Songs

Wed., Apr. 11, 2012 11:59 AM EST
by Terry Shropshire

It is always fascinating to discover that many of our favorite songs, the very ones that serve as the soundtrack to our childhoods or favorite moments in life, were not written by the people who actually sang them.

As an example, let’s take a person any generation can identify with. Michael Jackson’s legacy is all-encompassing and trans-generational partially because he is the creator of his own legend. I always find it surprising when fans don’t know that the King of Pop did write his biggest-selling and most enduring Grammy-winning hits, especially the ones you always hear in the clubs and on the radio: “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” as well as the Top Five banger, “Wanna Be Starting Something.”

Rod Temperton, circa 1979

However, it is absolutely impossible to envision the best-selling album of all time, Thriller, without the title track. He didn’t write that smash joint. Likewise, can you imagine the classic album Off the Wall without its title track? Both club bangers were written by a disco band member from Great Britain named Rod Temperton, who reluctantly came on the team after multiple inquiries from Quincy Jones.

Similarly, think about some of those female anthems by Beyoncé that are unforgettable. She didn’t write all of them. How about “F— You” by Cee Lo Green? Rihanna’s “Umbrella?” “Scrubs” by TLC? Whitney Houston’s “I Look to You?” “I Want Her” by Keith Sweat? None of those singers wrote those songs.

Well, who did? Music connoisseurs probably know most of the following composers of these great hits. But let’s take a look at the geniuses behind some of our most beloved smash songs.

terry shropshire

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