1. Respect - Otis Redding
Originally recorded by Redding, the song took on a whole new meaning when Aretha Franklin belted it out. The words were changed slightly, but it’s Aretha’s assertion that makes it resonate with women.
2. Single Ladies - Beyonce, Terius Nash, Thaddius Harrell, Christopher Stewart
“The Dream” came up with the concept and was inspired by Jay-Z and Beyonce’s relationship. The dude has been married 3 times. He knows something about putting a ring on it.
3. I Will Survive - Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris
It would have been nothing without Gloria Gaynor because from what I can tell these guys were pretty basic guys with a talent for writing great songs (as least according to the internet).
4. Since U Been Gone - Max Martin and Lukasz Gottwald
THAT Dr. Luke wrote AND produced this delightful go-to for breakups and bahvitzahs alike, proving that a person can absolutely understand a female perspective while simultaneously treating women like garbage and manage to make money doing it. It was originally written for P!nk, almost recorded by Hilary Duff (she couldn’t nail the high notes), and Clive Davis convinced the writers to give it to Kelly. Good call Clive. No one wants to hear Dr. Luke sing. That’s for sure.
5. Material Girl - Peter Brown and Robert Rans
Madonna rarely writes her own songs and has historically gotten a lot of flack for it, so this one may not be too surprising, but it’s worth noting that two men wrote it. It’s a tongue-in-cheek take on “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” that reminds us that money may not solve all one’s problems, but it’s worth making more than a few concessions for.
6. I Am Woman Hear Me Roar - Ray Burton
I always figured it was this undying symbol of the Women’s Movement, signifying progress like equal pay for women and freedom of choice and all that great stuff. Unfortunately, it’s a dude making fun of his feminist wife. Helen Reddy used to host women’s meetings and Burton recalls these meetings as vehicles to “sit around and whine about their boyfriends.”
7. All About That Bass - Meghan Trainor, Kevin Kadish
This song was a huge hit, but it got a lot of flack for “skinny shaming.” Yes, it was co-written by a man, but it turns out that the "skinny bitch" lyric line was Trainor's idea. Go figure.
8. You Don’t Own Me - John Madara and David White
Leslie Gore slayed this anthem of female independence, but it was two doo-wop dudes who penned it. It’s arguably one of their most known musical accomplishments so far as I can tell. Understanding the female perspective pays off.
9. Run The World -Beyonce, Terius Nash, Wesley Pentz, David Taylor, Adidja Taylor, Nick van de Wall
Girls may run the world, but it’s a TEAM of men who wrote the song alongside Beyonce.
10. These Boots Are Made For Walking - Lee Hazlewood
Originally, Hazlewood wanted to record the song himself and said “it’s not really a girl song.” That’s not the kicker though. The “Kick In The Head” is that Frank Sinatra, of all men, convinced him to let Nancy Sinatra sing it. Frank Sinatra wasn’t exactly known for being sensitive to the women folk back in his day, but he did offer this perspective- “"coming from a guy it was harsh and abusive, but was perfect for a little girl to sing.” Frankie, you weren’t wrong and Lee Hazlewood sounds like a monster.
There are many more where this came from. So many that there are articles out there that list “girl power” anthems of this nature that are actually written by women. How WERE these lyrics able to be written by men? Perhaps these successful men had many patient women opening up to them about their likes and dislikes.