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Pop music fans know Katy Perry can sing. But did you know she can write? Perry has co-written many of her own songs including “California Gurls” and “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F).” She’s also written for Kelly Clarkson, co-authoring Clarkson’s 2009 song “I Do Not Hook Up.”
In fact, many famous faces have written pop songs for other acts. Bruno Mars is one of the composers of Cee Lo Green’s feisty “Forget You.” The Whitney Houston hit “I Will Always Love You” was written and originally recorded by Dolly Parton. David Letterman’s sidekick Paul Shaffer co-wrote the Weather Girls’ disco classic “It’s Raining Men.” And Prince penned the 1980s song “Manic Monday” by the Bangles under the pseudonym “Christopher.”
But that’s not Prince’s only surprising credit. Stevie Nicks based her 1983 smash “Stand Back” on the melody of his “Little Red Corvette” – so much so that he receives royalties and even played the trademark synthesizer parts – uncredited, of course.
Other songs, though, are written by people who remain behind the scenes. Diane Warren has written a string of hits over the last 25 years, including “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes, and “Un-Break My Heart” by Toni Braxton. She’s won a Grammy, a Golden Glob,e and received multiple Oscar nominations for her work.
Back in the 1960s, the songwriting team of Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland wrote many iconic Motown songs, including The Supremes’ “Stop in the Name of Love” and Marvin Gaye’s “Can I Get a Witness.”
And a then-unknown Carole King was part of the Brill Building stable of writers, who were behind dozens of radio favorites like the Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”.
More recently, Katy Perry’s hits “California Gurls” and “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)” each had several co-writers, including Perry’s friend Bonnie McKee. Because even someone as multi-talented as Katy Perry is allowed to get some help.