9 Unexpected Songwriters You Probably Didn’t Know Penned Popular Singles

You might want to prepare a change of socks, because we’re about to blow yours off. Forget what you thought you knew about music and experience audio the way it was meant to be heard with the earth-shattering sound of Beats by Dre headphones.

1. “‘Till The World Ends,” by Britney Spears

Who Wrote it?

It’s strangely fitting that a single about dancing until the inevitable crumble of mankind was co-penned by apocalyptic party machine Ke$ha. The rapper, pseudo-singer, and Very Special Person co-wrote the track with pop producers Dr. Luke and Max Martin, and it stands as the catchiest doomsday theory since David Icke’s chart-topping hit, “Them Crazy Lizard-People.” This is the way the world ends — not with a bang, but with a whirlwind of appletinis and oversized arm bangles.

2. “Bigger,” by Justin Bieber

Who Wrote It?

Long before he achieved universal music industry acclaim — or, perhaps more importantly, Tumblr fame — fledgling soul singer Frank Ocean wrote his rent checks by penning verses for pop stars. Aside from J. Biebs, Ocean ghostwrote for John Legend, Brandy, and, most recently, Beyonce Knowles.

3. “Confessions Pt II,” by Usher

Who Wrote It?

And you thought Jermaine Dupri’s legacy began and ended with Kriss Kross. Usher’s sensuous ode to cheating and subsequently being really sorry about all that, girl, was indeed co-written by super-producer (and Littlest Man in Hip-Hop) Dupri, who must’ve jump, jumped at the opportunity to work with R&B’s golden boy.

4. “Gettin’ Jiggy With It,” by Will Smith

Who Wrote It?

Yes, that Nas. Bulletholes left in peepholes and dressed in street clothes Nas helped pen the words “you got a Prada bag with a lotta… stuff in it” because that’s how the universe works, apparently. To be fair, stranger musical collaborations have happened.

5. “A Boy Named Sue,” by Johnny Cash

Who Wrote It?

None other than the man that taught you Where The Sidewalk Ends — poet and storyteller Shel Silverstein. Silverstein initially played the song for Johnny and wife June during a jam session with fellow musicians, and it was only at his wife’s insistence that the Man in Black himself adopted it. Forty years later and it’s a bona-fide slice of music history.

6. “F**k You,” by Cee-Lo Green

Who Wrote It?

Sure, Cee-Lo’s inescapable single smacks of the portly singer’s extravagant flair, but closer inspection reveals the fingerprints of multi-talented soul/pop performer Bruno Mars. Lord only knows how many fedoras he bought with the ringtone royalties alone.

7. “Bleeding Love,” by Leona Lewis

Who Wrote It?

You probably wouldn’t guess it t first blush, but singer/songwriter and former Dream Street-er Jesse McCartney actually co-wrote this single for one of his own records. The track — which was penned with the star’s then-girlfriend in mind — was rejected by his label, but later saw light when it was offered up to sentient snarky remark Simon Cowell, who was managing Lewis’s debut.

8. “Party in the USA,” by Miley Cyrus

Who Wrote It?

Is it ironic that an aspiring British pop star penned this unabashedly American single for down-home Disney princess Miley Cyrus? You’d have to ask Jessie J, who originally co-wrote the song for her own debut, but ended up passing it onto Hannah Montana’s better half when it wasn’t deemed “edgy” enough for the Brit-pop songstress. In retrospect, “Party At Newbiggin-By-The-Sea” probably didn’t have that same zing to it.

9. “Do The Bartman,” as made famous by Bart Simpson

Who Wrote It?

Why, the King of Pop himself, Mr. Michael Jackson. No, seriously. Seriously, you guys, we’re not even playing here. Not only did MJ write what’s probably referred to as the crown jewel of “The Simpsons Sing the Blues” (somebody has to have called it that, right?), he later voiced lovable lughead Leon Kompowsky in the show’s third season premiere. You know what this means? This picture finally makes sense.

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