18 Singers Who Passed On Recording Some Of The Biggest Hits

It's hard to imagine some of the biggest pop songs being recorded by someone other than their original singer. After all, who could imagine a Lady Gaga or Beyoncé song sung by anyone other than Mother Monster and Queen Bey? But, while many hits may seem tailor-fit to the pop stars who took them into the recording booth, not every song ended up in the hands of the person who was originally meant to sing it. In fact, certain pop stars were the second (and sometimes even third) choice to record a track — even though fans wouldn't be able to hear the song any other way. Click through to read about which singers could have recorded some of pop's biggest hits instead.

"Pretty Hurts," Beyoncé

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Believe it or not, this track wasn’t originally intended for Bey. In fact, songwriter Sia sent it out to two separate artists before it landed in Beyoncé’s lap.

Katy Perry & Rihanna

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Sia e-mailed “Pretty Hurts” to both the “Dark Horse” and the “S&M” singer, but Perry didn’t see the e-mail and Rihanna’s people turned it down.

"Telephone," Lady Gaga feat. Beyoncé

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Remember that crazy music video?! Well, it almost didn’t happen — at least, not with Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.

Britney Spears

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Lady Gaga wrote “Telephone” for Spears to use on her album Circus, but the song was dropped from the album. Gaga decided to use it years later as a track on her Fame Monster album.

"We Can't Stop," Miley Cyrus

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The former Hannah Montana launched her new image with the crazy music video for “We Can’t Stop,” but the song wasn’t originally given to Cyrus.


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According to PopSugar, RiRi was offered “We Can’t Stop,” but decided that she preferred her other option “Pour It Up” better.

"Happy," Pharrell

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It’s tough to imagine anyone other than Pharrell singing the bubbly tune, but another singer actually recorded his own version that was never released.

Cee Lo Green

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Pharrell co-wrote “Happy” and passed it on to Green, who recorded his own version. The “powers that be” weren’t as thrilled with the version, and Pharrell ended up taking it into the recording studio himself.

"Since U Been Gone," Kelly Clarkson

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The “bye, bye boyfriend” anthem wasn’t originally intended for the American Idol winner.

Hilary Duff

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The former Lizzie McGuire star was offered the song, but turned it down, allegedly due to the fact that she couldn’t hit all of the notes. Pink also passed on what would become a hit single for Clarkson.

"Rock Your Body," Justin Timberlake

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Timberlake proved he wasn’t a boy bander any more with this smooth track, but, while it seemed perfect for the singer, it wasn’t originally going to go to him.

Michael Jackson

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The Neptunes offered Jackson “Rock Your Body” for his album Invincible, but the singer passed and it went to Timberlake.

"Umbrella," Rihanna

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“Umbrella” was a huge hit for Rihanna, but it could have been one for another pop star instead.

Britney Spears

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The song, which was co-written by The-Dream, was rejected by Spears’ label.

"How Will I Know," Whitney Houston

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One of Houston’s greatest hits could have been performed by an entirely different artist had she not rejected the track.

Janet Jackson

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Jackson’s team passed on “How Will I Know,” which was excellent news for Houston, who recorded the hit and took it to the top of the charts.

"Toxic," Britney Spears

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Spears scored her very first Grammy with the sexy single “Toxic,” but it wasn’t written for her.

Kylie Minogue

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The “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” singer was played a demo of “Toxic” but passed on recording the track.

"Golddigger," Kanye West

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West penned the track, but he didn’t choose to record it until this singer passed on it.


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Yep, “Golddigger” was originally told from a woman’s perspective. When Chicago-based rapper Shawnna passed, West rewrote the hook from a man’s point of view and recorded it alongside Jamie Foxx.

"Battlefield," Jordin Sparks

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Sparks wasn’t supposed to pose the question of why love always feels like a battlefield.


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According to PopSugar, Rihanna’s team turned down the song as it was optioned around the time of her then-boyfriend Chris Brown’s very public assault of the singer, and the lyrics just didn’t seem appropriate. Oddly, Rihanna went on to record the “violence is sexy!” single “S&M.”

"...Baby One More Time," Britney Spears

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Spears’ first single wasn’t intended for the up-and-coming singer — though it’s tough to imagine anyone else in the music video’s school girl outfit.


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The girl group rejected Spears’ single, which means that you can thank TLC for helping turn Spears into the princess of pop.

"Call Me," Blondie

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Debbie Harry co-wrote the hit and made it famous, but it was originally offered to a different blonde singer.

Stevie Nicks

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The Fleetwood Mac vocalist was originally offered the track, but decided to pass.

"Disturbia," Rihanna

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This hit was originally intended for a male voice.

Chris Brown

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Brown co-wrote the track and planned to record it himself, but once his then-girlfriend Rihanna listened to it, she asked if she could be the one to put it out. He obliged, agreeing that a female vocalist might be better suited for the song.

"I Don't Want To Miss A Thing," Aerosmith

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Aerosmith may have recorded the sentimental song, but it wasn’t supposed to be a rock band number at all.

Celine Dion

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Diane Warren penned the tune and allegedly originally gave it to the “My Heart Will Go On” singer, until Aerosmith needed a song to record for Liv Tyler’s film Armageddon.

"Skyscraper," Demi Lovato

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Lovato’s ballad worked perfectly with the positive message on her album Unbroken, but it could have gone to a different artist.

Jordin Sparks

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Though Sparks passed on “Skyscraper,” she liked the track so much that she took to YouTube to do a cover of her very own.

"Halo," Beyoncé

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The sweet song off of I Am… Sasha Fierce was written with a different artist in mind.

Leona Lewis

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According to reports, the “Bleeding Love” singer was simply too busy to record “Halo,” and the song ended up in Bey’s hands. Both singers could have nailed the vocals, but it’s totally Beyoncé’s song.

"Don't Cha," The Pussycat Dolls

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Before The Pussycat Dolls asked the world whether we wished our girlfriends were hot like them, another singer was asked to record the track.

Paris Hilton

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Hilton turned down the track before it was picked up by the girl group, later stating that, had she heard it in the form it was recorded, she would have jumped at the chance to sing the tune.