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California Gurls” is one of Katy Perry’s most famous songs; however, it almost wasn’t part of her album Teenage Dream. The song was included on the album because of a famous musician who worked with Perry many times. During an interview, the musician discussed why he felt Teenage Dream needed “California Gurls.”

Katy Perry wearing a black hat and a blue dress
Katy Perry | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for COVERGIRL

How a famous musician tried to ensure the success of Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’ album

Dr. Luke Gottwald is one of the most famous songwriters alive. He worked on songs for Doja Cat, Nicki Minaj, Kelly Clarkson, and others. His fingerprints are on several of Perry’s songs as well. During an interview with Billboard, he revealed he took pride in his work on her album Teenage Dream.

“If Teenage Dream didn’t sell a record, I would still love it, and also know I did everything possible to ensure its success,” Dr. Luke said. “And when I say I did everything possible, I’m not just talking about the music.” Dr. Luke was proud that he realized the album needed something extra when other people involved with it felt it was complete.

Dr. Luke with a blue background
Dr. Luke | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Dr. Luke put ‘California Gurls’ on ‘Teenage Dream’ as ‘insurance’

Dr. Luke revealed the album would be significantly different without him. “On Teenage Dream, people on the management side and label side were pretty much telling me that we were done, before we had ‘Teenage Dream’ or ‘California Gurls,'” he recalled. “And I said, ‘No, we’re not done.’ Those were the last two songs we did.”

Dr. Luke explained why he felt Teenage Dream needed those two songs. “Maybe I’m just a neurotic New York Jew,” he opined. “But I feel like I know when it’s right. I’ll bet against myself, too. I want an insurance policy. I feel like if there’s three or four right ones-not just three or four songs, but three or four songs that I feel are great if the first one doesn’t go, and you have another one right behind it, it’s going to connect.”

How the world reacted to ‘Teenage Dream’ and ‘California Gurls’

Ultimately, both “Teenage Dream” and “California Gurls” seemed to connect with the American public. “Teenage Dream” and “California Gurls” both reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The former stayed on the chart for 33 weeks, while the latter stayed on the chart for 27 weeks. The album Teenage Dream was a hit as well, topping the Billboard 200 and remaining on the chart for 247 weeks.


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The songs performed well elsewhere. The Official Charts Company reports “Teenage Dream” and “California Gurls” reached No. 2 and No. 1, respectively, in the United Kingdom. The former stayed on the chart for 23 weeks, while the latter stayed on the chart for 35 weeks. The album Teenage Dream topped the U.K. chart, remaining on the chart for 192 weeks. Dr. Luke felt Teenage Dream needed those two songs — and the public seemed to agree with him.