13. “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye ft. Kimbra (2011)
This monster hit from last summer had more than it’s fair share of obstacles. While penning the lyrics, the Australian singer-songwriter feared that he wrote himself into a corner. “I wrote the first verse, the second verse and I’d got to the end of the first chorus and for the first time ever I thought, ‘There’s no interesting way to add to this guy’s story,’” he told the Herald Sun.“It felt weak.” But he soldiered on, instead writing a female counterpoint. Although the part ultimately went to New Zealander Kimbra, he originally booked a “‘high profile’ female vocalist” who cancelled at the last minute. He even tried to make the song a duet with his girlfriend Tash Parker, but their real-life romantic happiness kind of ruined the break-up vibe of the track. Finally he picked up the phone and got Kimbra to deliver her stunning, Katy Perry-like vocal contribution. But even THEN, Gotye almost didn’t include the track on his 2011 album Making Mirrors, fearing that it sounded too much like his previous material!
12. “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke (2013)
It is the supreme summer song of 2013, but #Thicke’s record execs were not feelin’ the heat. “The record company didn’t get it,” he told the Associated Press. “They didn’t even pay for the video. They didn’t want to support it at all. Remy Martin paid for the video.” Robin and his wife, model Paula Patton, are spokespeople for the liquor brand that picked up the bill. But of course, the (questionably) racy video sold the suits on the song. “And as soon as the record company saw the video, they said, ‘This is a smash.’” Sometimes we hear with our eyes.