Pop music is responsible for thousands of legitimately great songs, even if the industry isn’t always (or even usually) based on honor or talent. The music industry often bases success on image, branding and labeling artists with a certain style of music and wardrobe to appeal easily to the masses, regardless of the artist’s actual style or abilities.
It may be easy to condemn modern music for such blatant repackaging when so many so-called artists don’t even write their own songs. But this game dates as far back as modern pop music itself, one that resulted in some of pop music’s greatest songs and artists — and, of course, some of the worst.
Let’s look at both ends of the spectrum by counting down eight of the biggest singers who never wrote their own songs.
1. Elvis Presley
It seems like the King relied on his subjects when it came to songwriting. Elvis Presley, whose boogie-worthy hits and sexualized public image heralded the dawn of the rock era, built his career singing hits he didn’t write, helped by his image-conscious manager Colonel Tom Parker. What makes matters worse is that those who were responsible for penning songs like “Jailhouse Rock” and “Hound Dog” were forced to accept reduced royalty payments due to Presley’s enormous star power.