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Surprising Song Writers: Famous Artists Who Wrote Songs That Others Turned Into Chart Toppers

03/03/2015 12:27 pm ET | Updated May 03, 2015

What do The Shirelles' "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?," The Chiffons' "One Fine Day," Little Eva's "Loco-Motion," The Drifters' "Up on the Roof," and Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care of My Baby" all have in common?

Many people don't realize that these hit songs, along with many others, were written by the chart topping writing duo Gerry Goffin and Carole King. During the 1960s, Goffin and King, who were married at the time, wrote hit song upon hit song for a variety of artists. And then of course King went on to become a legendary recording artist and performer.

In fact, many songs that became big hits were written by notable artists in their own right. The person behind the hit might be as famous as the person singing it. As writers of the songs they have the power to grant permission to others to record it. As Ken Goes of tunecore.com explains, artists who wish to record songs written by others cannot just go into a studio and record them. They have to get the song writer's approval. So before the Drifters, Bobby Vee and Little Eva could record those great songs, they had to get permission from Goffin and King, (or the company that owns their music publishing rights). And lucky for us they did!

Over the years, famous artists have written songs that others have recorded. And some of the songs might surprise you. Look at who wrote these chart toppers.

In 1980, Kenny Rogers released one of his most popular songs, "Lady." In fact, the song was written and produced by Lionel Richie. As Rogers once explained, "the idea was that Lionel would come from R&B and I'd come from country, and we'd meet somewhere in pop."

Grammy-winning artist Richard Marx has sold more than 30 million albums and recorded top 20 singles like "Hold On to the Nights" and "Right Here Waiting." But he has also written or co-written hit songs for 'N Sync ("This I Promise You"), Luther Vandross (the Grammy-winning "Dance with With My Father") and Keith Urban ("Long Hot Summer").

Paul Anka wrote Frank Sinatra's colossal hit, "My Way," which was based on a French pop song from 1967. Sinatra released the song in 1969 and Anka recorded the song that year too.

Neil Sedaka (and Howard Greenfield) wrote "Love Will Keep Us Together" which was recorded and made famous by Captain & Tennille. Sedaka and Greenfield also wrote "Stupid Cupid" and "Where the Boys Are", which Connie Francis recorded and topped the charts.

And speaking of Captain & Tennille, Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys wrote "I Write the Songs" for the duo. It was featured on the Captain & Tennille's 1975 album, "Love Will Keep Us together." "I Write the Songs" was also recorded by David Cassidy. Barry Manilow's 1975 version of the song became a big hit.

Singer and songwriter Ed Sheeran co-wrote "Little Things" and "Over Again," which One Direction recorded for their album "Take Me Home." Sheeran wrote the songs a while back but never recorded them himself. So he figured he could sell them elsewhere.