10 Great Songs Bafflingly Rejected By Pop Stars

Was Beyonce wrong for turning down Chris Martin’s offer of a song? While there was a distinct possibility it was going to be a bit “Natalie Imbruglia”, it could have gone the way of Martin’s really-rather-good track for Jamelia, ‘See It In A Boy’s Eyes’.

Either way, this unnamed track joins the ranks of unwashed, unwanted “rejected” songs. We decided to take a look at 10 others.

1) ‘Golden Years’
Bowie penned the glammy track in 1975 and allegedly offered it to none other than Elvis Presley. Sadly a cheeseburgers-affecting-his-judgement-by-this-stage Presley declined to record the future Thin White Duke classic.


2) ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’
Like a really, really ugly looking cockroach no one wants to go near, this song was rejected by no less than three people including Bryan Ferry and Billy Idol. No matter, Simple Minds finally went and recorded it for the soundtrack of The Breakfast Club and it rushed to the top of the Billboard charts.

3) ‘Call Me’
Co-writer Giorgio Moroder had given a demo ‘Man Machine’ to Stevie Nicks to add lyrics and vocals to for the soundtrack of American Gigolo. She declined to do it and instead the opportunity went Blondie’s Debbie Harry. Interestingly, Nicks also turned down the chance to write lyrics for Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’. D’oh!

4) ‘Ben’
The song was written for puppy dog eyed Donny Osmond, but this didn’t pan out. This was because, depending on who you believe, the Mormon singer was on tour or lyricist Don Black thought that the young Michael Jackson could do a better job.


5) ‘Rock Your Body’
This, like much of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Justified’ album, was offered to Michael Jackson but he passed. In the alternative pop history in our minds, Jacko recorded this song as the Neptunes intended instead of most of the dreck on ‘Invincible’, returned to chart dominance while Timberlake remained in N*Sync and is taking part in the NOKTBSBN*SYNC live experience (currently touring the major shopping malls of America).

6)‘Baby One More Time’
TLC rejected this tune because it didn’t fit with their more mature image, instead it went to fledgling former Mouseketeer Britney Spears. Pop would never be the same again.

7) ‘Physical’
We’re about the have a “oh that’s gross” moment at the thought of musty old bleach blonde Rod having a stab at these lyrics. Instead Olivia Newton John saved us from that fate, recording it and banishing all thoughts of Grease’s Sandy away, thanks to the gym-set video.

8) ‘Upside Down’
Chic’s Bernard Edwards and Nile Rogers wrote this track for Aretha Franklin who wanted to ‘go disco’. But the singer had her own ideas. Legend has it that Franklin met with the production team and started banging out a tune on the piano with some cringey lyrics about “hanging out in the disco“. Chic were horrified and fled, offering this tune to Diana Ross instead.

9) ‘Sweet Dreams My LA X’
After Justin Timberlake’s Britney break-up-referencing ‘Cry Me A River’, songwriter Cathy Dennis penned a swift rebuttal in the form of ‘Sweet Dreams My LA X’. Britney refused to record it, allegedly because she thought people would realise that she was singing about Timberlake (well, duh…). Instead it went to S Club 7 munchkin Rachel Stevens.

10) ‘Telephone’
Another Spears reject, this time Gaga re-nosed it, got Beyonce on board, et voila – pop magic.


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