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Taylor Swift and Prince are two of the biggest pop stars in American history, but their musical styles could not be more different. Despite this, Swift compared one of the hit songs she wrote to Prince’s “Manic Monday.” Notably, Swift gave the song away to another pop icon.

Taylor Swift’s ‘This Is What You Came For’ was inspired by Prince’s ‘Manic Monday’

Every great pop star has written at least one hit song for another artist. For example, George Harrison co-wrote Ringo Starr’s “Photograph,” Kesha co-wrote Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends,” and Charli XCX co-wrote Selena Gomez’s “Same Old Love.” Swift checked that off of her pop star bucket list when she wrote Rihanna’s “This Is What You Came For” with Calvin Harris. At first, Swift was credited under the name Nils Sjöberg. At this point, her role in writing the song has been widely reported.

In a 2020 Rolling Stone article, the “Cardigan” singer and Paul McCartney interviewed each other. In it, she explained her mindset while writing “This Is What You Came For.” “I wrote under the name Nils Sjöberg because those are two of the most popular names of Swedish males,” she said. “I wrote this song called ‘This Is What You Came For’ that Rihanna ended up singing. And nobody knew for a while. I remembered always hearing that when Prince wrote ‘Manic Monday,’ they didn’t reveal it for a couple of months.” For context, Prince wrote The Bangles’ “Manic Monday” under the pseudonym “Christopher.”

Taylor Swift was far from the 1st pop star to make a similar move

Paul discussed writing songs under a pseudonym. “Yeah, it also proves you can do something without the fame tag,” he said. “I did something for [pop duo] Peter and Gordon; my girlfriend’s brother and his mate were in a band called Peter and Gordon. And I used to write under the name Bernard Webb.” Most of Peter and Gordon’s hits were written by Paul.

Paul said that writing tunes under a pseudonym showed that an artist was willing to make art without concern for their fame. The “Silly Love Songs” star also recalled forming an electronic group called The Fireman without an interest in self-promotion. “I worked with a producer, a guy called Youth, who’s this real cool dude,” he recalled. “We got along great. He did a mix for me early on, and we got friendly.”


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Prince stopped ‘Manic Monday’ from hitting No. 1

“This Is What You Came For” reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 32 weeks. So far, it has not appeared on any of Rihanna’s albums. We can only imagine how huge Rihanna’s greatest hits album will be when she finally gets around to releasing it. Even a triple album of Rihanna hits would have to exclude some of her popular songs.

The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits reports “Manic Monday” hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was kept from the top spot by Prince & the Revoltion’s “Kiss.” What a coincidence! Clearly, the Purple One knew what audiences wanted to hear when the song came out in 1986.

Swift raised eyebrows by writing “This Is What You Came For” under a pseudonym but she wasn’t the first pop star to make that choice.