The Power Duo Behind Kelly Clarkson’s 2004 Hit “Since U Been Gone”

Upon its release in 2004, “Since U Been Gone” gave Kelly Clarkson another big hit, following her 2003 No. 1 debut album, Thankful, and hit songs “A Moment Like This” and “Miss Independent.” 

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Peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Since U Been Gone” went on to earn Clarkson a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 2006.

Surprisingly, Clarkson, who ended up releasing it on her second album, Breakaway, was not the first artist considered for the song.

Written by Swedish songwriter and producer Max Martin and songwriter and producer Lukasz Gottwald (Dr. Luke), “Since U Been Gone” was originally pitched to P!nk, who turned it down. The song was later pitched to Hilary Duff, who also refused the track since there were some higher notes she knew she couldn’t reach.

Max Martin

Prior to writing “Since U Been Gone” with Luke, Martin already had a collection of pop hits etched in his songbook since the 1990s, co-writing Britney Spears’s 1998 hit “…Baby One More Time,” along with the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” and Céline Dion’s “That’s the Way It Is,” among many others.

By 2000, Martin continued his hit-making streak by co-writing and co-producing Spears’ 2000 hit “Oops!… I Did It Again” and the NSYNC single “It’s Gonna Be Me.”

To date, Martin has written and co-written 25 Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s songs—many of which he also produced or co-produced—including Katy Perry‘s “I Kissed a Girl” (2008) and “Roar” (2013), both also with Luke, along with Maroon 5’s “One More Night” (2012), Taylor Swift‘s 2014 1989 hits, “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space,” along with The Weeknd‘s “Blinding Lights” in 2019 and 2020 release “Save Your Tears.”

In addition to picking up five Grammy Awards and an Oscar nomination for Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” featured in the 2016 animated film Trolls, Martin has been the recipient of the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award a record 11 times from 1999 through 2018.

Dr. Luke

After performing in the Saturday Night Live house band as a guitarist from 1997 through 2007, Luke later founded Kemosabe Records in 2011 and signed artists Kesha and Doja Cat, along with Lil Bibby, Elliphant, Juicy J, and R. City.

Working again with Martin, Luke went on to co-write several songs for Kesha and Katy Perry, along with “Who Knew” for P!nk in 2006. On his own, Luke also co-wrote “Girlfriend” for Avril Lavigne, released in 2007, and reunited with Clarkson in 2009, co-writing and co-producing her hit “My Life Would Suck Without You” and Miley Cyrus’ hit “Party in the U.S.A.,” along with Jessie J and Claude Kelly.

Like Martin, Luke also picked up the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award for two consecutive years in 2010 and 2011. A year later, Luke also worked on several songs on One Direction’s second album, Take Me Home.

No longer CEO of Kemosabe, in 2021, Luke launched Amigo Records, under Republic Records, and has signed German artist Kim Petras and Joy Oladokun. Over nearly two decades, Luke has also co-written songs for Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, and Doja Cat, among many others.

A Little More Rock

Together, Luke and Martin have also co-written songs for The Veronicas, Kesha, Daughtry, Jessie J, and Leona Lewis, and it all started with Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone.”

At first, Luke and Martin were inspired by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ 2003 single “Maps” when writing “Since U Been Gone,” and took it in a more pop direction.

Clarkson thought the song was a little too pop and asked to add a bit more rock to it.

“The first time I heard the song I thought it was a little poppy, so I asked if we could rock the track a little,” said Clarkson.  “We put some heavier guitars and harder drums on it. Now it’s explosive.”

Read the full story behind the lyrics of “Since U Been Gone” HERE.

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

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