Once a safe haven for minorities and misfits, dance music is now one with American popular culture. Who of the scene’s grizzled veterans could have ever imagined seeing dance music infiltrate commercials as Zedd shilled M&Ms, or daytime television with Claire Danes raving to Ellen DeGeneres about Berghain, or even on the big screen as the focus of a major studio feature film? The genre, born of dark dancefloors, burst through the floodgates of late-night weekend radio and is now an all-day, everyday staple for Top 40 stations—and we have David Guetta‘s songs to thank for that.
The French producer was already 20 years and three albums into his career when he released his 2009 LP, One Love, which boasted crossover collaborations with artists including Akon, Ne-Yo, Kid Cudi, and Kelly Rowland. The latter song (“When Love Takes Over”) earned Guetta two Grammy nominations (including one win) and recognition as Billboard’s No.1 dance-pop collaboration of all time, stating it was “the warning shot of the impending EDM takeover of America.” But as much as Guetta has accomplished at the forefront of dance music’s American resurgence, he has been also been a quiet force behind the scenes.
Below, we list pop songs you may not have known David Guetta produced for other artists.
The Black Eyed Peas – “I Gotta Feeling”
Two months before One Love dropped, The Black Eyed Peas shared the Guetta-produced single “I Gotta Feeling,” its production being admittedly restrained in the lead-up to radio’s anthemic big-room period. Nevertheless, the song was on every house party and school dance’s playlist, winning a Grammy and earning fifth place on the Billboard Hot 100’s Songs of the Decade as well as becoming the chart’s longest-running single of 2009.
Flo Rida – “Club Can’t Handle Me”
It’s only appropriate that a song dedicated to the club be produced by an artist who came up in one. Flo Rida’s “Club Can’t Handle Me” became an international hit, and according to an MTV interview, it came from a mutual respect for the other artist’s work. It served as the lead single of the Step Up 3D soundtrack and firmly established the rapper on his EDM-rap fusion path.
Kelis – “Acapella”
Just like dance music was experiencing a revival, so, too, was New York singer/song-writer Kelis after a four-year hiatus. In 2010, she released her fifth album Flesh Tone, which marked a shift in creative direction from her known R&B to something more dance-heavy. The album’s lead single, the amped up, Guetta-crafted “Acapella,” is an early example of when the singer-producer synergy is just so, so right. Is it any surprise her latest album came out on dance label institution Ninja Tune?
Kelly Rowland – “Commander”
Hoping to create an equally successful follow-up to “When Love Takes Over,” Kelly Rowland brought Guetta on board for her own album, 2011’s Here I Am. Co-producing the track alongside Sandy Vee, Guetta brought a big-room bliss that the radio gravitated to, once again allowing Rowland to step outside the shadow of her Destiny’s Child groupmate Beyoncé as a power vocalist. (Guetta even makes a cameo in the music video.)
Rihanna – “Phresh Out the Runway”
To many people, the extent of Rihanna’s relationship with EDM begins and ends with Calvin Harris, who produced some of her most-known songs “Where Have You Been” and “We Found Love.” However, the chameleonic singer appeared on One Love’s “Who’s That Chick?” and with Guetta’s production assistance, channeled all-out rave vibes on “Phresh Out the Runway,” the opening track on her 2012 album Unapologetic. Fittingly, she performed the track live at the Victoria Secret Fashion Show that same year.
Lady Gaga – “Fashion!”
Continuing on a sartorial-themed streak, Guetta is also one of the producers behind Lady Gaga’s “Fashion!” off her 2013 album Artpop. One of the first contemporary pop artists to adopt dance music, Gaga’s eccentric and bold aesthetic was a perfect fit for Guetta’s maximal approach to sound design, but “Fashion!” is an understated blend of electro-funk with some piano riffs to keep things classy.
Britney Spears – “Body Ache”
Continuing to capitalize on the EDM trend after her dance-dabbling 2011 singles “Til the World Ends” and “Hold It Against Me,” Britney Spears enlisted Guetta to co-produce a dancefloor-dedicated track in “Body Ache,” a high-climbing earworm that whirs to its climax before dropping into its future-house-leaning chorus.
Pitbull – “Something for the DJs”
Pitbull’s sixth album Planet Pit set the Miami rapper down his current EDM-covered path, and he shows his gratitude on DJ-directed club cut “Something for the DJs” by shouting out its producers Guetta and Afrojack at the beginning. Sure, it’s a tad cheesy with its interpolations of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck,” but it certainly fulfills its brief in making the dancefloor go ham.
Ne-Yo – “Who’s Taking You Home”
Already well versed in EDM experimentation, R&B singer Ne-Yo recruited Guetta to produce the track “Who’s Taking You Home” for his 2015 album Non-Fiction. While there is definitely some four-four action going on in the background, the song is mostly more subdued and mellow, allowing Ne-Yo’s songwriting and vocals to take center stage.
Jeremih – “Tonight Belongs to U!”
Jeremih, of “Birthday Sex” fame, and Guetta make for a surprisingly compatible pairing in the studio. “Tonight Belongs to U!” off the former’s 2015 album Late Nights, pierces the air like a bro’s best fist pump after a successful gym session.