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Pharrel’s Hot Single ‘Happy’ Was Originally Meant for Cee Lo Green

Pharrel's Hot Single 'Happy' Was Originally Meant for Cee Lo Green

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.”

Happy became the lead single taken from Williams’ new solo album, Girl, having appeared on the soundtrack to Despicable Me 2.

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’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.

  1. Justin Timberlake – Rock Your Body (Originally for Michael Jackson)
  2. Rihanna and Calvin Harris – We Found Love (Originally for Nicole Scherzinger )
  3. Coldplay – Paradise
  4. Lady Gaga ft Beyonce – Telephone  (Originally for Britney Spears)
  5. David Guetta – Titanium ft Sia Furler  (Originally for Alicia Keys )

Pharrell wrote eight songs for Michael Jackson, which ended up on Justin Timberlake‘s debut solo album Justified.

Talking about the tracks, Pharrell said: “I think he heard too much of himself in it and it wasn’t challenging for him.”

Nicole Scherzinger revealed in an interview with Notion Magazine that she had the opportunity to record We Found Love.

I passed on We Found Love,” Scherzinger admitted. “I‘ve got the demo of that song and I was busy at the time.”

In a recent interview with BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe, Chris Martin said the track was originally going to be released as an X Factor winner’s single.

He then added that when other band members heard the track they decided to keep it as their own.

The Applause singer‘s 2009 number one single was originally recorded by Britney Spears.

A demo featuring Spears’ vocal leaked in 2010.

The vocal on the UK number one single is that of the songwriter Sia Furler, who claims to have thought she was writing a song for him to give to Alicia Keys.

The French DJ tried to invite other hit singers to replace Sia’s demo vocal, including Mary J. Blige, but it was Katy Perry who advised him to leave it as it was.



By Jimmy Blake

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