During an hour-long appearance on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM radio show, Williams revealed that his chart-topping hit “Happy” wasn’t always his song. In fact, it only landed in Williams’ lap after Cee-Lo Green passed on it. (That’s the second occurrence Williams has benefited from Green, as he recently replaced the “Fuck You” singer as a coach for season seven of NBC’s The Voice.) Suffice to say, it would have been a much, much different song. Just probably not this different.
Before “Happy”, though, Williams was just a lowly little superstar producer, helming albums for Kanye West, Gwen Stefani, and Gloria Estefan. In fact, he almost added Michael Jackson to that sizable list. But for whatever reasons, the pair didn’t come together and instead, many of the songs Williams ended up writing were used for Justin Timberlake’s debut album, 2002’s Justified. If you thought “Happy” would’ve been a different tune, just imagine MJ crooning through, say, “Señorita” or “Rock Your Body”.
According to Williams, Jackson’s team actuatlly rejected the songs, despite the King of Pop later confiding that he personally enjoyed the material. “I did eight songs for him that never made it to him, that ended up on Justin’s record,” he told News.com.au recently. “Later he sang me all those songs and told me they should have been his and I told him they were for him.”
Replay the full interview below.