Strange Facts That Might Change How You Feel About Pop Stars
Pop stars may live in the spotlight, but that doesn't always mean every detail about their lives is common knowledge. Certain information about the rich and famous doesn't surface immediately for many reasons, but sooner or later, the more interesting facts about their lives tend to leak out.
Whether it's the juicy details behind what inspired some of their best songs or strange news of an authoritarian dictator who has taken a liking to a particular song, some little nuggets of information about everyone's favorite pop stars feel like solid gold when you find them. Take a look at some of the most entertaining bits!
Whitney Houston’s Weird Connection to Saddam Hussein
During Saddam Hussein's Iraqi presidential campaign in 2002, his campaign song was "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston. While this might seem like a strange song choice for a Muslim authoritarian leader, Hussein was actually part of Iraq's secular Baath party, so using American pop music in his campaign didn't pose a problem.
Kesha Got Gypped by Flo Rida
Kesha's producer, who was also working with Flo Rida at the time, got her to sing on Flo Rida's song "Right Round," which turned into an international hit immediately after it was released. However, she was not credited for her work on the song — and she wasn't paid for it either.
Lily Allen Isn’t the Only Star in Her Family
Grammy-nominated British pop star Lily Allen is related to the guy most of the world knows and loves (or hates) as Theon Greyjoy, which was his character’s name in Game of Thrones. His real name is Alfie Allen. Perhaps some Game of Thrones and Lily Allen fans already figured it out, considering they do look strikingly similar.
Britney Spears Got an Election Rescheduled
Britney Spears was scheduled to perform on July 3, 2017, in Tel Aviv. That day also happened to be the Israeli Labor Party's primary election, so they decided to postpone it until July 4. Apparently, because voting isn’t compulsory in Israel, officials of the party were afraid a lot of people would skip voting because of the concert.
Maroon 5 Had a Horrible First Band Name
Maroon 5 wasn’t always known by such a cool name. In their early days, they were a four-piece band called Kara's Flowers. Their first album was even released under that name. The origin of the name was simple: They had a high school classmate named Kara. (Sorry, Kara, but it’s an awful band name.)
A Newly Discovered Insect Was Named After Beyonce
A species of horse fly that was discovered in 1981 but not scientifically classified until 2011 was named after Beyonce. This horse fly, found in Queensland, Australia, now bears the scientific name scaptia beyonceae. What prompted this? Why would scientists name an insect after Beyonce?
Ed Sheeran Is a Concert Machine
In 2009, early in his music career and before he was signed to a major record label, Ed Sheeran played an exhausting 312 shows over the course of a year. His hard work got him the attention he deserved, and in January 2011, Asylum Records signed him to a contract that ultimately led to major international success.
Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling Are Almost Brothers
Even though they don't have a great relationship anymore, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling used to be kind-of brothers back when they were kids. Timberlake's mom was Gosling's legal guardian for a year-long stint when they were both in the Mickey Mouse Club as kids.
Rihanna Wasn’t the First Choice for "Umbrella"
Back in 2007, Rihanna wasn't quite the big shot she is today. Perhaps that’s why she wasn’t the songwriters' first choice for "Umbrella," a song that eventually became an iTunes-crashing hit single. Initially, the songwriters wanted Britney Spears to sing it, and their second choice was Mary J. Blige.
Jessie J May Be the Most Dedicated Songwriter Around
English singer-songwriter Jessie J has been in the music scene since she won Best Pop Singer on a British TV show in 2003 at the age of 15. She graduated from BRIT School for singing in 2006 alongside Adele and Leona Lewis. However, it wasn't until 2011 that her debut album, Who You Are, was released.
The Spice Girls Got Their Names from an Article
The Spice Girls each had really cool, catchy stage names to go along with the theme of their band name. They were famously known as Scary Spice, Sporty Spice, Baby Spice, Posh Spice and Ginger Spice. However, they didn't come up with the names themselves. Apparently, a journalist is behind the genius of their "spice" names.
Snoop Dogg Is Closely Related to Another Pop Star
As it turns out, Snoop Dogg and R&B star Brandy are first cousins. They didn't think it was a big enough deal to widely publicize it, but they are family. This also means that Snoop Dogg is the first cousin of Brandy's brother Ray J, a famous rapper as well.
Bruno Mars Wrote Cee-Lo Green's Most Famous Song
Cee-Lo Green's most famous song "Forget You," which turned into a huge hit, was not actually his own creation. It was written by another extremely famous pop star, Bruno Mars, and Green was a co-writer. Released in 2010, the song significantly contributed to Green's rise to fame.
Google Images Exists Because of Jennifer Lopez
The dress Jennifer Lopez wore at the 2000 Grammys sparked the creation of Google Images, as crazy as that may seem. Because a ridiculous number of people went on the internet to find pictures of it after the fact and couldn’t find a consistent source, Google decided to design its own database.
Adele Has MySpace to Thank for Her Success
A friend of Adele's posted her demo on MySpace in the summer of 2006. It consisted of three apparently very impressive songs, impressive enough that a producer from XL Recordings signed Adele shorter after hearing them. One of those original three tracks, "Hometown Glory," became her first single.
"Torn" Isn’t Natalie Imbruglia's Song
As shocking as it may be, "Torn," which was a ‘90s pop sensation and hugely famous song for Natalie Imbruglia, is actually a cover of another artist. What's even more incredible is that most people don't know the original version of the song, which was recorded by an artist called Ednaswap.
Katy Perry's Debut Was Much More Wholesome Than "I Kissed a Girl"
It's true that Katy Perry got famous from many hit singles, including "I Kissed a Girl," released in 2008. That song ended up on top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven weeks in a row and sold nearly 5 million copies in the U.S., even more internationally. It was also at the top of the charts in many other countries, including Australia, Canada and the U.K.
Christina Aguilera Is the Youngest Rolling Stone “Greatest Singer of All Time”
In 2008, Rolling Stone magazine created a list of the 100 greatest singers of all time with the help of 179 experts in the music industry. Coming in at #58 was the vocal powerhouse Christina Aguilera.
Taylor Swift Turned White Noise into a Number One Hit
It's one thing to top the charts with a catchy song. It's another thing entirely to top the charts with nothing but white noise. However, that's what happened when Taylor Swift "released" an eight-second clip of static on iTunes. The "song" topped iTunes Canada pretty much immediately.
Justin Bieber Was Offered a Hockey Contract
Justin Bieber has been one of the biggest pop stars on the planet for more than a decade, but apparently singing isn’t his only skill. The Canadian pop sensation also happens to be very good at hockey — good enough that the Bakersfield Condors offered him a spot on their AA minor league team.
Elvis Presley Bought a Limo for a Stranger
Elvis Presley is famous for many things, notably his amazing music career, but he was also known to be a very generous person. One of his most famous acts of generosity involved a limo and his limo driver. Presley asked his driver if he owned the limo or if he worked for a company that owned the limo.
Garth Brooks Changed the Super Bowl Forever
When Garth Brooks didn’t pre-record the national anthem for the Super Bowl in 1993, it turned into a problem when he refused to sing live when the moment came. Rumor has it there was some kind of dispute over debuting a music video during the game. The kickoff then had to be delayed.
Semisonic Didn’t Write "Closing Time" About a Bar Closing
It may seem like the song "Closing Time" by ‘90s sensation Semisonic is about being asked to leave a bar at the end of the night, but as it turns out, there's a much deeper meaning behind the song. Semisonic's lead singer Dan Wilson actually wrote the song about being born.
Gwen Stefani's Feud with Courtney Love Inspired a Huge Hit Song
In an interview with the magazine Seventeen, Courtney Love called Gwen Stefani a "cheerleader." Stefani didn’t take too kindly to that and responded by writing the song "Hollaback Girl." The two women were never friends, and this just put fuel on the fire of their rivalry.
Janet Jackson Inspired the Creation of YouTube
YouTube was created in 2004 by co-founders Chad Hurley, Jawed Karim and Steve Chen after an interesting turn of events that involved Janet Jackson. Their idea for starting the company came from two specific occurrences, and Jackson's wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl was one of them.
Little Richard's Backup Singers Became More Famous Than Him
Little Richard's musical talent is undeniable, but he clearly had another hidden skill as well: his amazing ability to pick out talent. Two of his back-up singers ended up becoming more famous than Little Richard himself. Maybe you’ve heard of Jimi Hendrix and James Brown? Exactly.
Jack Johnson Really Cares About the Environment
Jack Johnson has a lot more going for him than just being a super talented musician — as if that weren't enough. He has also made a habit out of donating profits from his tours to charity, particularly charities to support environmental causes. In 2008, he donated every last penny of his tour profits to charity.
Coldplay’s Chris Martin Studied the Classics
Chris Martin, the lead singer of hugely successful pop band Coldplay, has more talents than just music. When he was studying at University College London, he earned a degree in Latin and Greek and graduated with honors. What's more, he uses his knowledge of those languages, cultures and literature in his songwriting.
Prince Played at George Lucas' Wedding
Director George Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, didn't know Prince personally, but they still wanted him to play at their wedding reception. They loved his music so much, and they certainly had the money with Lucas' $700 billion box office sales from Star Wars, so they asked Prince if he would do it.
Alanis Morissette Wrote a Song About a Full House Actor
Alanis Morissette's hit song "You Oughta Know" was not about some unknown boyfriend off the grid. It was about "Uncle Joey," or actor Dave Coulier, from Full House. Because of the funny, light-hearted character Coulier played, it might seem hard to believe that such an aggressive song could be about him, but it is.