Songs Written By Unlikely Songwriters

February 27, 2018

Some musicians are so associated with a certain style of music, it’s hard to believe that they wrote these very out-of-character songs for other people.

“Stand Back”

Stevie Nicks took a break from Fleetwood Mac in the early ’80s to record some spooky folk pop by herself for a while. One of her biggest hits, however, turned own to be 1983’s “Stand Back,” a funky, synthesizer-driven dance song. Nicks usually writes her own material, but she needed some help for this one. She sung the melody to the song over the phone to her friend…Prince. A few minutes later, he drove over to her in-home recording studio, and came up with all of the keyboard parts right then and there.


This rap song was performed by Bugs Bunny in the 1996 half live-action, half-animated basketball movie Space Jam. Obviously, Bugs Bunny didn’t write it, because he’s not real. Nor did filmmakers hire some pop hitmaker. Instead they got an actual rapper to do it, just before his career took off. His name: Jay-Z.

“It’s Raining Men”

Paul Shaffer’s career has been as varied as it’s been long. He got his start in the ‘70s, leading the band for the Toronto production of Godspell, was a cast member of Saturday Night Live, served as David Letterman’s band leader across 20 years and two different late night shows, worked as the music director for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction night concerts…and wrote a cheesy disco classic. Shaffer co-wrote the dance club hit “It’s Raining Men,” as performed by the Weather Girls.

“Gettin’ Jiggy wit It”

There were two main groupings of rappers in the ‘90s: serious, streetwise ones like 2Pac and Nas, and radio-friendly pop rappers, like Will Smith, a.k.a. the Fresh Prince. And yet, for Smith’s number 1 hit, he enlisted the help of Nas for a few lines.

“Never Learn Not to Love”

In the late ‘60s and ‘70s, the Beach Boys abandoned pop songs about surfing and girls for introspective, experimental work. For example, their 1969 album 20/20 featured elements of hard rock and psychedelic rock, particularly the song “Never Learn Not to Love.” Credited to drummer Dennis Wilson, the tune was actually written by serial killer Charles Manson.