3 Songs You Didn’t Know Adam Levine Wrote for Other Artists

In the earliest incarnation of Maroon 5, Adam Levine, keyboardist Jesse Carmichael, former bassist Mickey Madden, and founding drummer Ryan Dusick formed Kara’s Flowers while they were still in high school. Kara’s Flowers released two albums, We Like Digging? in 1995 and their second and final release in 1997 The Fourth World. After some lineup shifts, the band called themselves “Maroon” in 2001 before becoming Maroon 5.

Since the beginning with Kara’s Flowers, Levine and Carmichael were writing the majority of the band’s songs on through to Maroon 5’s 2002 breakout debut Songs About Jane through their third album Hands All Over in 2010. Together, they wrote the Maroon 5 hits “This Love” and “Harder to Breathe,” and the band’s first No. 1 “Makes Me Wonder” (also co-written by Madden), which also earned them a second Grammy—following Best New Artist in 2005—for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

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Adam Levine attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Guitarist James Valentine also co-wrote another batch of songs with Levine, including “She Will Be Loved,” and the band’s Grammy-nominated “If I Never See Your Face Again,” featuring Rihanna. Levine’s other contributions to the band include their 2011 No. 1s “Moves Like Jagger,” “One More Night,” and Top 10s Daylight,” “Love Somebody,” “Maps,” “Animals,” and more.

Along with helping fill the Maroon 5 catalog, Levine has also collaborated outside the band’s hit-making bubble. Here’s a look at three more songs Levine co-wrote for other artists since 2005.

[RELATED: The Top 10 Maroon 5 Songs]

1. “Heard ‘Em Say,” Kanye West (2005)

Written by Adam Levine and Kanye West

While they were headed to Rome, Italy for the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2004, Kanye West played Levine an early version of a song he was working on during their flight. “He was on the same plane,” said Levine. “I don’t think we [had] met him yet. We were literally sitting there and he came up to me with his iPod or whatever it was at the time. He was like, ‘Yo, man. How are you doing? I’m Kanye.’”

After hearing the song Levine said he had a chorus that would fit it perfectly, and the two recorded “Heard ‘Em Say” for West’s 2005 album Late Registration, which also features a small cluster of special guests, including Jay-Z, Common, Jamie Foxx, Nas, Brandy, and more. “He [West] was just getting big too,” added Levin, who is also featured on the track. “And he played me this record. Like, ‘Hey, I’ve got this record. Do you want to write a song together?’ On a plane. You know? And I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ And that was it. The next thing I knew we were in the studio making the record and it was that easy.”

“Heard ‘Em Say” centers on harsh realities of life, and as an American: Before you ask me to go get a job today / Can I at least get a raise on the minimum wage? / And I know the government administer AIDS / So I guess we just pray like the minister say.

And I heard ’em say
Nothing’s ever promised tomorrow today
And I heard ’em say
Nothing’s ever promised tomorrow today
But we’ll find a way
And nothing last forever, but be honest, babe
It hurts, but it may be the only way

They say people in your life are seasons
And anything that happen is for a reason
And niggas gun clapping and keep to squeezing
And Gran keep praying and keep believing
In Jesus, and one day that you see him
‘Til then walk in his footsteps and try to be him
The devil is alive, I feel him breathin’

Co-written by West and Levine ,”Heard ‘Em Say” also credits Gerry Goffin and Michael Masser since their 1980 R&B hit by Natalie Cole, “Someone That I Used to Love,” is sampled in the song.

For the single two music videos were shot, including one directed by French filmmaker Michel Gondry, featuring West as a homeless man with three children who takes refuge in a Macy’s department store, where Levine is the security guard.

2. “Gotten,” Slash (2010)

Written by Adam Levine and Saul Hudson (Slash)

Slash‘s 2010 solo debut featured four of his then-former Guns N’ Roses bandmates, including Izzy Stradlin, Steven Adler, and Duff McKagan, who played with him in Velvet Revolver, along with his Conspirators bandmate Myles Kennedy. The all-star cast of featured artists on the album also included Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy Kilmister, Ian Astbury, Chris Cornell, and Iggy Pop, among others.

Levine also co-wrote and sang “Gotten.”

So nice to see your face again
Tell me how long has it been
Since you’ve been here
(Since you’ve been here)
You look so different than before
But still the person I adore
Frozen with fear
I’m out of love but I’ll take it from the past

I’ll let out words cause I’m sure It’ll never last

And I’ve been saving
These last words for one last miracle
But now I’m not sure
I can’t save you if
You don’t let me
You just get me like I never
Been gotten before

[RELATED: Slash Returns to His Blues Roots on ‘Orgy of the Damned’]

3. “My Life,” 50 Cent (2012)

Written by Adam Levine, Curtis Jackson (50 Cent), Marshall Mathers (Eminem) Larry Griffin, Jr. (Symbolyc One), and Herb Rooney

“My Life” was originally in line as the second from 50 Cent‘s scrapped studio album Street King Immortal, which was supposed to be released in 2011. Produced by Symbolyc One, the track was later removed and released as a single in November of 2012. Featuring co-writers Eminem and Levine, “My Life” chronicles some of the pressures and illusions of fame.

My life, my life
Makes me wanna run away
There’s no place to go
No place to go
All the confusion
It’s an illusion like a movie
Got nowhere to go
Nowhere to run and hide
No matter how hard I try

“Early in my career, I said something positive about Maroon 5,” said 50 Cent on how the collaboration with Levine happened years later. “Adam happened to hear it and never forgot it.”

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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