Hollywood Truth or Myth: Madonna Writes Her Own Music

Madonna gets a lot of respect and rightfully so.  But part of that respect comes with the idea that she writes her own music.  The truth?  Some of her biggest hits were written by others.  That includes, Borderline, Like a Virgin, Dress You Up, Holiday, Papa Don’t Preach and Material Girl.  As for her other popular songs, she “co-wrote” them, which could mean a million different things.  Many artists today take someone else’s song, tweak a line or two, and then attach their name to get song-writing credit.  I’m not suggesting that Madonna does this, but this post does provide an opportunity to expose the process.  Beyonce, for example, is one of the biggest culprits.  On her album, I am . . . Sasha Fierce, she “wrote” the song Smash Into You, with Tricky Stewart and The Dream.  The song was originaly entitled, Smack Into You, and it appeared on Jon McLaughlin’s album prior to Beyonce “writing it.”  The two versions are completely identical, yet Beyonce somehow received songwriting credit.  Another very famous example is Paul Anka, whose song, Toot Sweet, was used as the theme for Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.  Anka was told that Carson wanted his song for the theme, but he would only agree if Carson was  given song-writing credit.  According to Anka, he accepted the offer because it was better to get 50% of something, than 100% of nothing.  To hear the Beyonce song comparison, listen to the two songs below.

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