Lenny Kravitz oozes rock and roll.
Videos by American Songwriter
Videos by American Songwriter
The rugged, raw guitar player and singer brought fans such songs as “Fly Away,” “Again,” “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over,””Are You Gonna Go My Way” and many more.
Born on May 26, 1964, in New York City, the now-58-year-old artist is a four-time Grammy Award winner, achieving the feat four years in a row, winning Best Male Rock Vocal Performance from 1999 to 2002. That is a record. Not only that, Kravtiz just looks like he’s a rocker. He embodies the genre, often with dark sunglasses, leather jackets, and a handsome sneer.
But beyond the work he’s put out for himself, did you know Kravitz has helped pen popular tunes for other artists, from Madonna to Aerosmith? To prove as much, here we wanted to dive into four songs Kravitz helped to write.
1. Justify My Love,” Madonna
Written by Lenny Kravitz, Ingrid Chavez, and Madonna
This song, from Madonna’s first greatest hits album, The Immaculate Collection, was written by the Queen of Pop, along with Kravitz and Chavez. Kravitz also produced the song, along with André Betts. The track, which was released as the lead single from the greatest hits collection, at first did not include a credit for Chavez, whose poem reportedly inspired the song leading to a lawsuit against Kravitz, which eventually reached an out-of-court settlement.
That aside, the track is powerful and pulsing. It was so good that it went on to be sampled by artists like Jay Z and Ashanti. Saturday Night Live parodied the music video, which itself was both considered feminist work and overtly sexual.
2. “Line Up,” Aerosmith
Written by Lenny Kravitz, Joe Perry, and Steven Tyler
Featured on the legendary Boston band’s eleventh studio album, Get a Grip, in 1993, “Line Up” includes backup vocals from Kravitz. Kravitz, along with Perry and Tyler is credited with writing the song. Kravtiz’s presence must have helped because the LP went on to become the band’s best-selling studio album worldwide, garnering some 20 million albums sold. It was Aerosmith’s first to hit No. 1 in the United States. The LP also won Grammy Awards in 1993 and 1994.
3. “Be My Baby,” Vanessa Paradis
Written by Lenny Kravitz and Gerry DeVeaux
4. “Sunday Mondays,” Vanessa Paradis
Written by Lenny Kravitz and Henry Hirsch
For her 1992 eponymous album, artist Vanessa Paradis recruited Kravitz to help. The award-winning French actress and singer has worked with many big-name artists in her career, including Kravitz, and graced the covers of a myriad of magazines, from Vogue to Vanity Fair. The 50-year-old was born outside of Paris and at 17 years old, she began to make a name for herself on television, which would lead to much more.
Today, she boasts seven studio albums, which span 1988 through 2018. Her 1992 LP, Vanessa Paradis, featured 10 tracks credited to Kravitz, including the two mentioned here. It also features a Lou Reed cover, “I’m Waiting for the Man.” The work with Kravtiz came, in part, because the two were dating at the time. He wrote and produced essentially the entire record. Check out the music below.
Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy