Simon Cowell tried to steal Britney Spears’ breakout single

Oh baby baby!

It’s almost impossible to imagine the words that propelled Britney Spears to music superstardom in 1999’s #1 hit “…Baby One More Time,” originally sung by someone else.

But if pop impresario Simon Cowell had prevailed, those infamous lyrics would have been delivered by one of his former British boy bands – and neither would One Direction.

“I had a boy band called Five that I put together back then; we were about to break them [in] America,” Cowell told his America’s Got Talent co-star Howie Mandel on his podcast Howie Mandel Does Stuff. “Someone calls me from America and says, ‘I was just played this song. It was written for TLC.’”

But after the “No Scrubs” trio passed on “…Baby One More Time,” Cowell knew the song was a hit that could propel Five to the top in the US. “[I] was like, ‘Oh my god, I have to have this song,'” he said.

Britney Spears and Max Martin
Britney Spears with … Baby One More Time writer/producer Max Martin in 2017.

The only problem was that Max Martin – the legendary hitmaker who wrote and produced the song – had already promised it to a then-unknown artist named Britney Spears.

“He said, ‘No, I promised someone else,'” Cowell said. “And I said, ‘Who?’ And he said, ‘Britney Spears.’ And I said, ‘Max, let me give you some advice – nobody’s going to have a hit with the Britney Spears name.’ She wasn’t even known.”

Cowell even offered to sweeten the deal with the cutest rides for the Swedish singer-songwriter. “I said, ‘Well, I’ll send you a Mercedes 500 SL if I can have the song,'” he said.

The cover of Britney Spears' debut album "...honey, one more time."
“…Baby One More Time,” the title track of the album that launched Britney Spears to pop superstardom, almost went to boy band Five.

Martin, who later wrote other Spears hits like “Oops! … I Did It Again,” “Stronger” and “Till the World Ends” — didn’t have time for the former American Idol judge’s machinations in the music industry. “He’s honorable,” said Cowell. “He promised the song and he didn’t want to break the promise. Lo and behold – he made the right decision.”

And through it all, a record store bond grew between him and Martin.

“We’re still good friends now,” Cowell said. “Listen, I would have taken the car! And remember, no one had heard of this girl before, so he wasn’t going to break his promise. So I missed that, but that’s how we met and became friends.”

https://nypost.com/2022/09/14/simon-cowell-tried-to-steal-britney-spears-breakout-single/ Simon Cowell tried to steal Britney Spears’ breakout single

Emma Bowman

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