The “powers that be” apparently turned down Green’s version of the song, declaring that the future worldwide smash “wasn’t a fit” for their client.
“[Cee Lo] wanted to do it … [and] he did do it,” Williams explained in a Howard Stern interview after being asked if he’d heard anyone else was singing it.
“He sounded amazing on it. I mean, he burns my version,” he added.
“Some folks on his team just felt that the priority should be on [Cee Lo’s] album at the time, so they elected not to do that song.”
Since its release in November the track has sold more than 1.3m copies in the UK, topping the Official Singles Chart on three separate occasions.
“I can’t believe it’s [Happy] become what it has,” he said in the interview.
Songs being rejected by one artist and recorded by another is not uncommon in the music world.
Beyonce‘s Pretty Hurts was offered to Rihanna and Katy Perry before the Crazy in Love singer secured the track and will.i.am’s Scream and Shout was originally meant for former N-Dubz singer Tulisa rather than Britney Spears.
Here are some other examples of tracks that ended up being sung by different artists than they were first intended for.
- Justin Timberlake – Rock Your Body (Originally for Michael Jackson)
- Rihanna and Calvin Harris – We Found Love (Originally for Nicole Scherzinger )
- Coldplay – Paradise
- Lady Gaga ft Beyonce – Telephone (Originally for Britney Spears)
- David Guetta – Titanium ft Sia Furler (Originally for Alicia Keys )
He then added that when other band members heard the track they decided to keep it as their own.
A demo featuring Spears’ vocal leaked in 2010.
By Jimmy Blake