Which artist sang the song Somebody
The secret songwriters behind the hits
You all know the songs - but did you know which songwriters are behind the greatest hits in music history? Small spoiler: the interpreter is not always the one who composed the song. And sometimes the artists aren't even involved in the songwriting. Read now who wrote the greatest international hits.
The concentrated load: 11 songwriters who not only delivered a number # 1 hit.
By Carlos San Segundo
The songwriters behind the hits in Pop, Rock & Country
Almost everyone can sing along or at least hum along to the most famous hits in music history. And most of them even know the artists and performers who made these songs great.
But who knows the songwriters (composers and lyricists) behind them?
In many musical genres, the bands and artists write themselves. In the musical styles that can be found in mainstream radio, however, these are often songwriters and producers who remain in the background. And if you look at it, you will notice: some names appear over and over again in the popular music landscape.
Not only is Prince a keen songwriter, he's also an eccentric and one-off artist. His performances and work as a songwriter are unforgettable. | Image: © 2006 Universal Music
The musician Prince was himself a pop icon who was unparalleled. So he could play many instruments, sing excellently and on stage he was the incarnation of a rampage pig. What very few people know: He wrote songs as a songwriter for other bands and some of them became hits worldwide.
There are also some covers of his own songs, which have become a hit with other artists. Prince often used a different name in order not to distract from the songs or their performers.
The best known are "Manic Monday" by the Bangles and "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O ‘Connor. But he has also written other hits, including “How Come You Don’t Call Me” by Alicia Keys and “Love Song” by Madonna.
Also read: The 13 Ultimate Songwriting Tips
"She’s A Lady" can at least partially sing along with everyone - Tom Jones owes the huge hit to the songwriting genius Paul Anka. | Image: © Universal Music
10. Paul Anka
The name Paul Anka is certainly still known to the older generations as the singer of the songs "Put Your Head on My Shoulder" or "Diana", which have been played to this day and often been covered by other artists. What most of you don't know is that Paul Anka wrote some great hits for other artists.
Let's start with an unspectacular example, the theme song for the Johnny Carson Late Night Talk Show. Because he co-composed this and it is well known in the USA.
In 1972 the artist Donny Osmond landed a real Billboard hit with the song "Puppy Love". A song that was previously performed by Paul Anka himself, but only became a hit with Osmond. It is similar with the Tom Jones song "She’s a Lady".
And a fact by the way that amazed me while doing research: One of Frank Sinatra's most famous songs is “My Way” - the lyrics of this song are also by Paul Anka.
The hit "Problem" appeared on the artist Ariana Grande's second album. The responsible songwriter was Shellback, who also helped many other artists to hits. | Image: © Universal Music
The real name of the songwriter and music producer Shellback is Karl Johan Schuster and comes from Sweden. Through his connection to Max Martin (see below) he was able to celebrate his first successes as a songwriter for well-known artists.
One of his first tracks is the basis for P! Nk's song "So What", which later became a number one hit and led to a Grammy nomination. He wrote other songs for Adam Lambert “Whataya Want from Me”, Britney Spears “3”, Taylor Swift “Shake It Off”, Ariana Grande “Problem”, Sean Paul “She Doesn't Mind” or Maroon 5 “One More Night” ".
The song "Shake It Off", written for Taylor Swift, is probably the greatest export hit by songwriter Hillary Lindsay. Does the secret of success have anything to do with your place of work? After all, listening to Nashville is inevitably about good music! | Image: © Universal Music
8. Hillary Lindsay
In Germany, the songs that Hillary Lindsay wrote may be less well known due to their country music genre. But she's a big number in Nashville and some of her best songs made it into the local charts.
Hillary Lindsay has been in the songwriting business since the 1990s and her breakthrough began with Martina McBride's number 1 "Blessed". Since then she has been able to write many hits for other artists such as Taylor Swift, Faith Hill or Miley Cyrus.
In 2007 she won a Grammy for the best country song "Jesus, Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood.
Linda Perry, who had a huge hit with 4 Non Blondes, is a successful songwriter herself. For example, none other than Gwen Stefani is on her customer list. | Image: © Jamie Nelson via Universal Music
7. Linda Perry
Older semesters may still know Linda Perry as the singer of the one-hit wonder 4 Non Blondes, who shot to number 1 in the charts in 1993 with her single “What’s Up?”. As a songwriter, however, Perry is many times more successful to this day.
The list of artists for whom Linda Perry was allowed to write is long and include the really big names: Celine Dion, Alicia Keys, Jewel, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera and James Blunt.
Perhaps her greatest commercial success came with Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful", which not only became a number 1 hit, but also earned her a Grammy nomination. Perry is also responsible for the song "What Are You Waiting For?" From Gwen Stefani's debut album as a solo artist.
We don't know whether Christopher Stewart is also a diva whisperer as a songwriter. But he wrote for the greatest: Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Rihanna… | Image: © Universal Music
6. Christopher Stewart
The songwriter Christopher Stewart is also a producer and should be known to most by his pseudonym Tricky. He's been in the business for over 20 years now and has contributed some very well-known and popular songs to modern music history.
His greatest hits are likely to be Rihanna's “Umbrella” and Beyonce's “All the Single Ladies”, which enjoyed worldwide success. For Justin Bieber he wrote the smash hit "Baby" and other artist collaborations with Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and T.I.
Tricky's songs have sold over 10 million times and he has already won five Grammys.
5. Greg Wattenberg
The name Gregg Wattenberg belongs to a songwriter and music producer that we will probably hear a lot from in the future. His best-known works included the number 1 hit "If It's Love" by Train, for which he also co-produced another hit single called "Hey, Soul Sister". Wattenberg manages to conjure up a little more rock n ‘roll in the otherwise very pop-heavy radio landscape.
Wattenberg achieved further success with the song "Gone, Gone, Gone" by Philipp Phillips, O.A.R. Number-1 song "Shattered (Turn the Car Around)" and the remarkable Top 10 placement "Let Love In" by the Goo Goo Dolls.
He was also able to write “Superman” and “100 Years” for Five for Fighting, which also made it to number 1 on the Billboard charts. There are also other collaborations with the Backstreet Boys, Rascal Flatts and the band Finger Eleven.
Kelly Clarkson's Tie It Up was written by Shane McAnally. There is almost no way around him in the country genre!
4. Shane McAnally
This Texan composer was named Songwriter of the Year in 2014 and is one of the greatest on the American country scene.
He made his debut as a songwriter in 2008 when Lee Ann Womack's song "Last Call" made it to the top of the charts. Since then he has worked with many country stars such as Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, LeAnn Rimes, Kenny Chesney and Blake Shelton.
McAnally has also received accolades for his work as a producer, as does Kacey Musgrave's single, "Merry Go‘ Round, "which he wrote and co-produced.
If you think about female rappers, you will irrevocably come to Nicki Minaj - one of the few who made the big breakthrough. So songwriter Nadir Khayat did a great job. | Image: © Universal Music
3. Nadir Khayat
The Moroccan songwriter Nadir Khayat is better known as RedOne. And under this stage name he has had an extremely successful career as a producer and songwriter up to this point.
He has worked with the greats as a songwriter, including Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, One Direction, Shakira, U2, Mariah Carey, Akon, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Gru, Cross Gene, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Wyclef Jean, Paulina Rubio , Mylène Farmer, Mohombi, Inna, Alexandra Burke, Austin Mahone, Marc Anthony, The Band Perry, Prince Royce, Rod Stewart and others.
Together with Lady Gaga he wrote practically every hit like "Just Dance", "Poker Face", "Bad Romance", "Alejandro" or "Judas".
You've already played on the Super Bowl halftime show: Maroon 5. The hit "Sugar" was written by Dr. Luke posted. In recent years, however, he has been heard from for other reasons and through legal proceedings. | Image: © Universal Music
2. Lukasz Gottwald
The name Lukasz Gottwald is far less known than his pseudonym “Dr. Hatch". He started his career as a guitarist in the live band of the show Saturday Night Live and performed as a DJ in New York. The list of collaborations is long, and he helped build many of the artists.
His most famous songs include Kelly Clarkson's "Since You’ve been gone" or "I Kissed a Girl" and "California Gurls" by Katy Perry. He also wrote the Miley Cyrus hit song "Wrecking Ball".
More hits from Dr. Luke include "Tik Tok" by Ke $ ha, "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz, "Timber" by Pitbull ft. Kesha, "Sugar" by Maroon 5, "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne, "Good Feeling" by Flo Rida, " Who Knew ”by Pink and“ Just Want You to Know ”by the Backstreet Boys.
Katy Perry had her big break with "I Kissed A Girl". The catchy songwriter is none other than Mr. Earwig himself: Max Martin. | Image: © Universal Music
1. Max Martin
The undisputed number 1 among songwriters has fought its way back after a downturn and is called by its real name Karl Martin Sandberg. The Swede is better known by his stage name Max Martin. Although he is still quite in the background, this name is now known to many.
Max Martin is responsible for many hit songs over the last few decades. After Paul McCartney and John Lennon (The Beatles), he wrote the most number 1 hits ever, leaving the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonna behind. 51 singles from his pen alone made it into the top 10 of the Billboard charts.
Max Martin is probably the best songwriter of modern pop music.
His breakthrough began with the Backstreet Boys' debut album, which he composed with Denniz Pop. With "Hit Me Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears, he made it to the Olympus of the billboard again. Since then there have been Max Martin songs for Ariana Grande, Adele, Celine Dion, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert and many other well-known artists.
Also read: Max Martin biography
Here is a list of his number 1 hits:
- 1999 - "... Baby One More Time" (Britney Spears)
- 2000 - "It's Gonna Be Me" (NSYNC)
- 2008 - "I Kissed a Girl" (Katy Perry)
- 2008 - "So What" (P! Nk)
- 2009 - "My Life Would Suck Without You" (Kelly Clarkson)
- 2009 - "3" (Britney Spears)
- 2010 - "California Gurls" (Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg)
- 2010 - "Teenage Dream" (Katy Perry)
- 2010 - "Raise Your Glass" (P! Nk)
- 2011 - "Hold It Against Me" (Britney Spears)
- 2011 - "E.T." (Katy Perry featuring Kanye West)
- 2011 - "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" (Katy Perry)
- 2012 - "Part of Me" (Katy Perry)
- 2012 - "One More Night" (Maroon 5)
- 2012 - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (Taylor Swift)
- 2013 - "Roar" (Katy Perry)
- 2014 - "Dark Horse" (Katy Perry featuring Juicy J)
- 2014 - "Shake It Off" (Taylor Swift)
- 2014 - "Blank Space" (Taylor Swift)
- 2015 - "Bad Blood" (Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar)
- 2015 - "Can't Feel My Face" (The Weeknd)
- 2016 - "Can't Stop the Feeling!" (Justin Timberlake)
In the past two years he doesn't seem to make it to number 1. Nonetheless, Max Martin is still very often represented in the charts.
The greatest songwriters of all time?
Were they the greatest songwriters of all time? No, because the composers presented here wrote their songs for other performers. There are still numerous extremely successful songwriters who have performed and published their music themselves and who do not appear on our list.
Which songwriter should we add to the list who writes his songs for other artists? Do you know a? Who is your absolute top songwriter on this list?
Now write us in the comments who we should include or who is your personal favorite.
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