Driver’s License, written and sung by 17-year-old American pop singer Olivia Rodrigo, is the first big hit of 2021. While it’s common to see teenagers dominating the Billboard charts with songs they’ve sung, it’s no surprise that most of them were written by adults. After all, songwriting skills usually take years. But every now and then a songwriting prodigy comes along and they manage to create something that demonstrates intelligence beyond their years. Check out 8 popular songs of the year written by teenagers.
1. Avril Lavigne – Complicated
When Canadian native Lavigne was 2 years old, her family would sing carols on their way home from church. Her parents recognized her potential and encouraged her to pursue a career in music. Her father bought her a microphone and drum kit and turned their basement into a studio. She won several local competitions, one of which allowed her to perform on stage in front of 20,000 people with Shania Twain from Canada. It was his first hit “Complicated” – which he wrote at the age of 17, that made him a star. In 2002, the song reached #1 on the US Adult Top 40 chart, where it spent a record 16 weeks. It was also nominated for two Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
2. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller – Hound Dog
In 1952, blues singer Willie May “Big Mama” Thornton needed a song, and R&B bandleader Johnny Otis decided that 19-year-olds Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were the guys to write it. When they met with Thornton, they created a song that fit her persona as a badass, badass black girl. Hound Dog took 15 minutes to write, but almost 70 years later it remains a legendary song. It was popularized by Elvis Presley and his career took off as a result. To date, Hound Dog has been covered 250 times and ranks #19 Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
3. Taylor Swift —Teardrops on my guitar
With 10 Grammy Awards, the holder of 27 Guinness World Records and over 200 million albums sold worldwide, Taylor Swift is simply outstanding. “Tear Drops on My Guitar,” which she wrote at the age of 17, gave her her first #13 on the Billboard charts. The song is based on her feelings towards high school. He would talk to her about his girlfriend, pretending she found it endearing, when in fact it made her jealous. Years later, he would come home to express his feelings, but she rejected him. Too late. Oops.
4. Adele – Hometown Glory
Every song from Adele’s 2008 debut album, except for the Bob Dylan cover “Make You Feel My Love” 19 Written or co-written by the singer. “Hometown Glory,” which she wrote when she was 16, was the first song she wrote from start to finish. It was inspired by her torn feelings about where to attend university. Growing up in the London suburb of West Norwood, Adele wanted to study close to home because she felt dependent on her mother. However, her mother encouraged her to spread her wings and study in Liverpool. The song was meant to protest and appreciate all that was good and bad about one’s hometown.
5. Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison – That Day
February 3, 1959 is known as “The Day the Music Tide” as a result of a plane crash that claimed the lives of young, talented rock stars Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. Since this happened in my home state, I think it would be accurate to suggest Iowa Place There the music died. But I digress. When he was 19, Holly and three of his Tunes bandmates, Jerry Allison and Sonny Curtis, went to see a John Wayne movie. Seekers. The line “That Day” stuck with Holly, and it inspired Alison and her to write a song that would be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
6. Lord and Joel Little – The Royals
Nobody cares about baseball in New Zealand. But when you dominate rugby the way a small South Pacific island does, why would they? On the other hand, it was baseball that shaped Ella Marija Laney Yelich-O’Connor’s life. The Auckland native, better known as singer and songwriter Lorde, chanced upon a photograph of 1970s/80s baseball star George Brett signing baseballs. When Lord saw his uniform — he played for the Kansas City Royals — she thought, “Hmm. Royals. I could do something with that.” And at 15 he – with producer Joel Little – created what is considered one of the greatest songs of the 21st century.
7. Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell — Bad Guy
Billie Eilish’s 2019 debut album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” At the ripe old age of 15, he joined his brother, producer Phineas O’Connell, as the ancient 22-year-old. The biggest hit from his Grammy Award-winning album was the sarcastic song “Bad Guy.” The electropop singer, born in December 2001, is the first musical artist born in the 21st century to have a #1 hit.
8. Fiona Apple – Criminal
Fiona Apple had a talent for music at an early age, receiving classical training in piano and songwriting at the age of 8. His first big hit – written at the age of 17 – was his debut album “Criminal”. wave, published in 1996. It reached 21 on the Billboard 100 and won a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Apple doesn’t suggest any meaning to the song these days, basically saying it just keeps paying the bills. Indeed, it does. It resurfaced in 2019 as a featured song in the Jennifer Lopez film Hustlers.