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Top 10 Songs People Think Are By Someone Else

VO: Matt Campbell
Script written by Matthew Manouli You mean, that song’s NOT by who we think it's by...?! Welcome to, and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Songs People Think Are By Someone Else. For this list, we'll be looking at songs that were recorded by an artist, but for whatever reason, have become associated with another artist, usually from a similar musical genre, even though that artist had nothing to do with the song to begin with

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Top 10 Songs People Think Are By Someone Else

You mean, that song’s NOT by who we think it's by...?! Welcome to, and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Songs People Think Are By Someone Else.
For this list, we'll be looking at songs that were recorded by an artist, but for whatever reason, have become associated with another artist, usually from a similar musical genre, even though that artist had nothing to do with the song to begin with. That means it won't include songs where a backup singer is thought of as the main artist, such as Michael Jackson in Rockwell's “Somebody's Watching Me”. Also, if the mis-credited artist worked on the song, or covered it afterwards, like Mott the Hoople’s “All the Young Dudes,” it won't be on this list either.

#10: “Don't Leave Me This Way” – Thelma Houston (1976)
NOT Donna Summer

This disco hit is actually a cover of the 1975 song by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, but Thelma Houston's version became much more popular. Unfortunately, because of the similar vocal style, people believed this song was actually performed by Donna Summer. While both artists were disco icons, and both peaked in popularity in the late 1970s, Donna Summer was much more recognizable. So it was natural for people to assume a Motown hit with vocals like this had been sung and released by her. Leading to further confusion was the fact that Summer's music was popular in the homosexual community, and Houston's “Don't Leave Me This Way” became an unofficial anthem for the AIDS epidemic in gay communities in America.

#9: “Bitch” – Meredith Brooks (1997)
NOT Alanis Morissette

If you weren't around at this time, we can give you a pass for this one. The similarities are stark, and they were meant to be. Record producer Geza X intentionally wanted to emulate Alanis Morissette with its alt rock sound and provocative lyrics. This backfired though, as Morissette's popularity caused this similar sounding hit to be associated with her and not Meredith Brooks. The relatively unknown star could not get through interviews without having to be asked about her more well known counterpart. What further added to the mix-ups was the fact that Morissette would later release a song entitled “It’s a Bitch (To Grow Up)” in 2008. Thankfully, Brooks learned to take the misattribution in stride by getting over it and even finding humor in the situation.

 #8: “Creep” – Stone Temple Pilots (1993)
NOT Nirvana

This is one song that we can probably blame early file sharing sites for getting wrong. True, “Creep” is a grunge song, very much in the style of Nirvana, and was popular around the same time as them. But because multiple users incorrectly labelled the song on file sharing sites, “Creep” had a lot of people thinking it was called “Half the Man I Used to Be” AND that it was by Nirvana. The vocals of late STP lead singer Scott Weiland on the chorus do resemble the late Cobain's. The Nirvana frontman was said to have noticed similarities between them as well, so it sounds like no one can be totally blamed for this error.

#7: “Teenage Dirtbag” - Wheatus (2000)
NOT Weezer

Weezer and Wheatus are two bands with similar names, similar vocal styles, similar musical genres; but because one of them was and is being significantly more popular than the other, then we have a recipe for disaster. The song called “Teenage Dirtbag” came out in 2000, right around the time when Weezer reunited, and its teenage pop-rock feel, along with strikingly similar band name, had people miscrediting the single left and right. Weezer added to the confusion by eventually covering the song live in 2011. Wheatus would, in turn, cover one of Weezer’s songs while on tour that same year.

#6: “I Swear” - All-4-One (1994)
NOT Boyz II Men 

We get it: R&B groups can sound pretty similar, especially those that were big in the ‘90s. All-4-One's version of what was originally a country track became an R&B hit as well, winning a Grammy in 1995, and topping the Billboard Hot 100 for eleven weeks. Because of the group's recognition and song's popularity at the time, people in the ‘90s - for the most part - knew who sang the song. Nowadays, with All-4-One not being as recognized anymore, when people think of early ‘90s R&B, they more often than not think of Boyz II Men, as well as this song and naturally link them together. But we shouldn't feel too bad for the smooth quartet: All-4-One are still making music and just released an album in 2015, we swear!

#5: “A Horse with No Name” - America (1971)

NOT Neil Young

This soft rock tune is still being attributed to Neil Young over 40 years after its initial release! And yet, it was the first single by a band called America and dropped just slightly ahead of Young's popular Harvest album. The mix up came from how strikingly similar the vocals were to that of Young’s. This fact wasn't lost on America singer and songwriter Dewey Bunnell, who stated: “I know that virtually everyone, on first hearing, assumed it was Neil. I never fully shied away from the fact that I was inspired by him.” While the band faced criticism from Young fans, America got the last laugh, as “A Horse with No Name” replaced Young's “Heart of Gold” for the top spot on the American pop charts in the early ‘70s.

#4: “The Warrior” - Scandal (1984)
NOT Pat Benatar 

The ‘80s led to tons of confusion when trying to differentiate between burgeoning new wave and synthpop bands, with female rockers of the period often grouped together as well. The most famous example of this is “The Warrior”, which was recorded by pop rock group Scandal, a band fronted by Patty Smyth. However, the tune keeps persistently being attributed to a more popular female rocker of the time, known as Pat Benatar. The track’s vocals have been said to be reminiscent of Benatar's “Love Is A Battlefield”, as is the song's theme. But these similarities are probably because both “The Warrior” and Pat's hit were co-written by songwriter Holly Knight. Considering the ‘80s hairstyles sported by both singers in their respective music videos though, maybe those who got (and still get) these two mixed up could get a pass.

#3: “Stuck in the Middle with You” - Stealers Wheel (1973)
NOT Bob Dylan

This folk rock song has Bob Dylan written all over it. In actuality though, the influential singer-songwriter had no active role in making this song. Stealers Wheel singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty stated that the song was a “parody of Bob Dylan’s paranoia”, so this is probably why it sounds so much like him. Without video accompaniment, even the keenest Dylan fan might mistake the Stealers Wheel audio for the famous folkster. But what really caused mix-ups was the disbanding of the group in 1975, after only being active for only three years. Dylan's timelessness has made him much more popular throughout the decades, so we ironically think of him even when we hear a song parodying him. Stealers Wheel reunited in 2008, but without original members Rafferty and Joe Egan.

#2: “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” - Rupert Holmes (1979)
 NOT Jimmy Buffett

Though this a song that can stay in your head for hours, many people have thought and still think its light-hearted lyrics were sung by Jimmy Buffett. Interestingly enough, the vocals actually don't sound that much like Buffett. But because of the “island escapist” nature of his music, and the release of another soft rock song called “Margaritaville” just a couple of years prior to Ruper Holmes' “Pina Colada Song”, then the confusion between the song titles – and the artists – is quite understandable.  While Buffett was the more popular of the two, his name recognition continues to overpower Holmes', so even nowadays Google suggestions and result pages are filled with wrong information about the artist behind this tune.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
“I Write Sins Not Tragedies” - Panic! at the Disco (2006)
NOT Fall Out Boy
“Headstrong” - Trapt (2002)
NOT Papa Roach

“Uncover” - Zara Larsson (2013)
 NOT Rihanna

#1: “Don't Worry, Be Happy” - Bobby McFerrin (1988)
NOT Bob Marley

Ah, reggae! It must be Bob Marley, right? Wrong. Sure, both McFerrin and Marley share the same first name, but just because a reggae song passes into the mainstream doesn't mean by default that Marley sang it. The vocals and acappella style of this tune by the American jazz vocalist don’t even sound remotely to the Jamaican’s trademark songwriting and singing style. What’s even more fascinating is that Marley died a full seven years before this song was released or even recorded. Yet on YouTube, Marley’s name shows up as the first suggestion when you type in “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, and the two most viewed videos attributing the song to him have more views when combined than McFerrin's actual music video as posted by Emi Music. Here’s hoping McFerrin isn’t worrying too much about that and is too busy being happy instead.
Do you agree with our list? What songs do you most often think are by someone else? For more correctly credited Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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