Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    Check out the top ten biggest musical blunders by artists who turned down huge hits.

    10. "…Baby One More Time" by TLC?

    The debut single from Britney Spears was originally for TLC. T-Boz, Chilli, and the late-great Left Eye had huge success with "No Scrubs" from the Fanmail album in 1999 -- still, "…Baby One More Time" would've been a massive success for the girls. T-Boz's robotic voice would've fit perfectly and with a lil' rap from Left Eye -- they could've scored a fourth #1 hit. Without this song there probably would've been no Britney Spears to emerge in '99... maybe right now she'd be a regular momma in Kentucky with no drug problems.

    9. "Dim All The Lights" by Rod Stewart?
    Rod Stewart didn't necessarily turn down the song. Donna Summer wrote the dance-R&B track for Rod, who was on a disco kick for a few years. Summer loved the song so much she decided to keep it for herself. It was a good move, "Dim All the Lights" hit #2 in 1979. This is her only hit song that she solely wrote and holds the record as "the longest sustained note sung by a female artist in a top 40 song in both the U.S. and the UK, at about sixteen seconds."

    8. "The Glamorous Life" by Apollonia 6?

    The song originally for Apollonia 6's second album went to Shelia E. The first line, "She wears a long fur coat of mink even in the summertime" was allegedly about Apollonia. The two other girls of Apollonia 6 were extremely upset about losing the song, especially after having such a big hit with "Sex Shooter" and dealing with the drama of the Vanity-Apollonia transition. "Glamorous Life" was a top ten Billboard Hot 100 hit for Shelia E. in 1984. Apollonia allegedly had no interest in the group after Purple Rain, she left and Vanity/Apollonia 6 disbanded.

    7. "Love Shoulda Brought You Home" by Anita Baker?

    Anita Baker declined on the top forty Billboard Hot 100 hit because she was pregnant. The song gave Toni Braxton her big break, who was clearly made to mimic Anita Baker's vocal. While I love Toni's version, the song is so much in the styling of Anita that it definitely would've been a hit for her.

    6. "How Will I Know" by Janet Jackson?

    This song was originally written for Janet Jackson in 1985. I could definitely see the '80's dance track on the Control album, it's strictly pop and doesn't require the vocal that Whitney Houston gave it. Nonetheless, Whitney definitely owns the song. "How Will I Know"and the cheesy video marked the beginning of backlash from the black community. The pop classic hit #1 in 1986. By the way, Nippy tried to pass on "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" but Daddy Clive Davis told her to shut up and sing - don't think! "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" became her seventh #1 hit.

    5. "Irreplaceable" by Fantasia?

    As the rumor goes, the song that literally saved Beyonce's B-Day album was originally for Fantasia. Fantasia turned down the track, supposedly saying it was "too pop." What a huge mistake -- I guess she thought "Hoodboy" was the route to go. "Irreplaceable" is a song that anybody could've made a hit, the song isn't R&B and sounds nothing like Beyonce. Actually, "Irreplaceable" is more country - still, this track would have balanced Fantasia's rough sound.

    4. "Umbrella" by Britney Spears?

    Again, anyone could've made this song a hit, it's a perfect pop record. If Britney would have accepted the song for her Blackout album, I guarantee the track would've equaled the success of Rihanna. "Umbrella" requires a nasal voice and someone who needs excellent production to compensate for the lack of everything else -- Rihanna was next in line. Imagine if Rihanna never recorded "Umbrella"? Her career would've been on that Christina Milan, Cassie path!

    3. "The Pleasure Principle" by Prince?

    One of Janet's few songs in the '80's and '90's that wasn't written by her or Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Legend has it the song was originally submitted to Prince, who rarely took songs that he didn't write. Monte Moir wrote the song, who was a keyboard player for the Prince-produced group The Time. While "The Pleasure Principle" wasn't a massive pop hit for Jackson, it's a favorite for R&B lovers and her fans. Plus, the video had classic choreography -- letting us all know Janet is one of the greatest dancers in mainstream-pop music.

    2. "Holiday" by Mary Wilson?

    The former Supreme made a colossal mistake by turning down Madonna's 1983 classic "Holiday." The song transcended pop and R&B, becoming a top 20 hit Billboard Hot 100 hit and reaching #25 on the R&B charts. The song charted all over the world, reaching the top ten in Japan, Australia, and Germany. "Holiday" never had a video and at the time people thought Madonna was a black artist. This anthem song surely would've been a hit for Mary Wilson and easily rivaled Diana Ross.

    1. "If You Don't Know By Me Now," "Oh Me Oh My (I'm a Fool for You Baby)," "I Feel Good," "Rush, Rush," and "Nobody's Supposed to be Here" by Patti Labelle?

    No one has tossed away more hit songs than the legendary Patti Labelle.

    First it was the 1972 classic "If You Don't Know Me by Now," which reached #3 with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and then #1 in 1989 when it was covered by Simply Red. Rumor has it Patti didn't exactly turn down the song, it was her's then handed over to Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

    "Oh Me Oh My (I'm a Fool for You Baby)" was originally recorded in 1969 for a Scottish singer. However, a soul version was offered to Patti-Patti, she declined and Aretha Franklin made it a top ten R&B hit in 1972. I don't see how she passed up that song!

    "I Feel Good" became a #1 R&B hit for Stephanie Mills in 1987 after Patti Labelle passed.

    According to one of Patti's many live albums she was offered Paula Abdul's 1991 song "Rush, Rush" but turned it down. Now, I don't know how the writers went from Patti to Paula, but Paula brought the song to #1.

    Deborax Cox
    's massive 1998 hit is probably Patti's biggest mistake. "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" spent fifteen weeks at number-one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart -- a record that was broken by Mary J. Blige in 2006 with "Be Without You." The pop/soul ballad also peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Plus, the endless dance remixes gave the song more life.

    Do you think any of these songs would've been bigger hits if the original artists would have taken it?

    Labels: , , , , , , ,

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 22 comments

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