9 songs you probably didn't know were written by Taylor Swift

by

Riley Johnson

Updated

March 19, 2024

Updated

March 19, 2024

Updated

March 19, 2024

No one can deny Taylor Swift’s genius in songwriting. And it didn’t matter what the genre was – from Taylor Swift’s country songs down to her shift to pop and her recent exploration of the indie/alternative sphere – she knew how to puzzle-fit words and sounds.

And she has her whole discography – and the 152 sold-out Eras Tour shows across five continents – as hard evidence. Even those who are not fans of hers could probably sing one or two songs by heart. 

RELATED: Here’s Our 15 Most Favorite Taylor Swift Songs From Her Country Catalog

As Nate Sloan, musicologist and Switched On Pop host, said, “Swift has a capacity for writing songs and lyrics that are very immediate, that tap into universal emotions and experiences, and that also play with her own public image.” In that way, she created what she called a “self-perpetuating loop of interest and analysis of her music.”

But did you know that she also wrote for other people? And yes, you guessed it right. They’re also smash hits.

1. “Best Days of Your Life” 

Recorded by Kellie Pickler from the album Kellie Pickler (Deluxe Edition) (2008)

One of Swift’s first collaborations was a country breakup anthem with American Idol alum Kellie Pickler

The two were on tour with Brad Paisley when they had this conversation about a boy who had broken Pickler’s heart. Swift then whipped out her guitar, and half an hour later, they were done with the kiss-off song (which was also the counterpart of Swift’s “Picture to Burn”). They then decided that if Pickler ever recorded the song or made it a single, they’d do the video together. 

Two years later, they really did. Swift even sang harmony on the record. 

2. “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home” 

Performed by Miley Cyrus in Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009)

If you’re a millennial, chances are you’ve grown up watching Disney’s Hannah Montana starring Miley Cyrus. The teen sitcom about a teenage pop star who plays a double life started airing in 2006. Three years later, the series got its own movie. And here’s the fun part: Taylor Swift actually penned the fan-favorite tune “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home” along with Martin Johnson. 

She also did a cameo in the film, singing her song “Crazier.”

3. “Two Is Better Than One” 

Performed by Boys Like Girls ft. Taylor Swift from the album Love Drunk (2009)

The rock band Boys Like Girls revealed a softer side in this collaboration single with Taylor Swift. The “Lover” singer penned the song with the band’s lead singer/songwriter Martin Johnson, with whom she also shared songwriting credit for “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home.”

And songwriting aside, the duet between the band and Swift was definitely one of the iconic moments of the 2000s. 

4. “Safe and Sound” 

Performed by Taylor Swift ft. the Civil Wars from the album The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond (2011)

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson were two of the biggest movie names in 2011, with their roles as Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark of “The Hunger Games.” And one of the movie’s soundtracks was actually co-written by Taylor Swift. 

In an exclusive chat with MTV News, Swift shared that she wrote the song with the Civil Wars and producer T-Bone Burnett. They all happened to be in the same city one day, and it just organically came together. They even wrote and recorded the track in just one day. Swift was also a big fan of the Civil Wars, so it was definitely a great experience for her. 

She also had another song on the soundtrack titled “Eyes Wide Open.”

5. “Both of Us” 

Recorded by B.o.B from the album Strange Clouds (2012)

This is one of the more surprising collaborations she did in her career, but according to the rapper, it happened naturally. 

He shared that the singer hit him up and invited him to her set. Unfortunately, he wasn’t in Atlanta then and couldn’t make it. So, she arranged for him to come to Dallas. He continued, “She brought me out and I played her the song, she liked it and it naturally happened. That is an element that you don’t see too much, too often in the industry.”

Swift is credited with the songwriting along with B.o.B, Ammar Malik, Lukasz Gottwald, and Henry Walter. 

6. “This Is What You Came For” 

Recorded by Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna (2016)

It might be a distant memory, but yes, Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift did happen. And she actually wrote the lyrics to one of Harris’ biggest smash hits under the pseudonym Nils Sjoberg. The collaboration, which was kept on the down-low so as not to overshadow the song, was confirmed by Swift’s representative exclusively to PEOPLE. She also provided backing vocals for the song. 

7. “Better Man” 

Recorded by Little Big Town from the album The Breaker (2016)

Little Big Town’s song “Better Man,” which won them the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, was written by Swift. The song was originally included in her Red album but ultimately dropped. 

According to Karen Fairchild, they received this special song from her. The “Shake It Off” singer thought they’d fit it because of their harmonies. Swift has never pitched a song to anyone before, and the moment they heard it, they knew they were going to cut it. The group actually worked with Swift before, performing with her on her 1989 World Tour, but they’ve known her since she was in high school. 

In 2021, Taylor Swift released her version as a track from the vault of her re-recorded Red TV album. 

8. “Babe” 

Recorded by Sugarland from the album Bigger (2018)

In a backstage interview at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, Jennifer Nettles dished out how she and Bush ended up with “Babe.” She said that Swift reached out to them, excited about the news that they were getting back together, saying, “Hey, I have a song; you want to sing it?” And it was an easy yes for them. But Sugarland hasn’t really put a song by anyone else in their records, so they didn’t tell anybody about the collaboration until it was done.

Swift co-wrote the song with Train’s Pat Monahan, and she was featured on the track. Then, in 2021, she dropped her version of the song as a vault track along with “Better Man” for Red TV. 

9. “Beautiful Ghosts” 

Performed by Francesca Hayward from the album Cats: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack (2019)

Last (for now) but not least of the songs you probably didn’t know were written by Taylor Swift was this song. It was featured in the 2019 “Cats” film adaptation, and she collaborated with the legendary musical theater composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Francesca Hayward, who plays the principal character Victoria, performed it in the film. Swift’s version was the one played over the ending credits.

That is the list we have for now. Hopefully, Taylor Swift will open the door for more collaboration projects with other artists outside her discography! That’d be very cool.


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