10 Songs You Didn’t Know Pharrell Williams Wrote For Other Artists

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Before Pharrell Williams was making music with minions, he was responsible for some of the biggest hits throughout the 2000s—getting his start even further back in the early ’90s. Aside from releasing two of his own solo albums, his work with hip-hop and funk band N.E.R.D., composing for film and TV,  his brief stint as a judge on The Voice, and other collaborative projects, Williams has spent a majority of the past 20-plus years, writing for and with other artists across genres—everyone from Jay Z, No Doubt, Britney Spears, Zac Brown Band, Ariana Grande, Swedish rockers The Hives, and dozens more.

Writing his first song, the 1992 Wreckx-n-Effect hit “Rump Shaker,” when he was barely 20, Williams has continued his craft for more than three decades, often working with longtime collaborator and The Neptunes partner Chad Hugo. In 2014, Williams was nominated for an Oscar for his song “Happy” from the 2013 animated film Despicable Me 2 and has already earned seven Grammy Awards.

A singer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, Williams and Hugo recently covered Metallica’s 1991 hit “Wherever I May Roam” on The Metallica Blacklist and have continued to produce dozens of albums, including Jon Batiste’s 2021 release Live at Electric Lady, Beck’s Hyperspace (2020), and Anderson .Paak’s Ventura in 2019, among other ongoing projects.

To cover Williams’ diverse career would require several volumes, but here are 10 songs you may not have known the “Happy” writer had a hand in writing.

“Rump Shaker,” Wreckx-n-Effect (1992)
Written by Pharrell Williams, Wreckx-n-Effect’ s Aqil Davidson, Teddy Riley, David Wynn, Darren Callis, Anton Hollins

“Slave 4 U,” Britney Spears (2001)
Written by Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo

“Hella Good,” No Doubt (2001)
Written by Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal

“Hot in Herre,” Nelly (2002)
Written by Pharrell Williams, Nelly, Charles Brown, Chad Hugo

“Milkshake,” Kelis (2003)
Written by Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo

“Hollaback Girl,” Gwen Stefani (2004)
Written by Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani, Chad Hugo

“Drop It Like It’s Hot,” Snoop Dogg, featuring Pharrell Williams (2004)
Written by Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, Calvin Broadus, Tim Stahl, John Guldberg

“Well All Right,” The Hives (2007)
Written by Pharrell Williams, Randy Fitzsimmons

“Get Lucky,” Daft Punk (2013)
Written by Pharrell Williams, Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers

“Start Over,” Zac Brown Band (2017)
Written by Pharrell Williams and Zac Brown Band’s Zac Brown, Niko Moon, and Ben Simonetti 

Photo: Columbia Records

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