Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since U Been Gone’ Was Inspired by Another Song

“Since U Been Gone” is one of Kelly Clarkson’s most famous songs; however, it might not exist if not for another artist. One of the writers of “Since U Been Gone” listened to an indie song and felt it needed to sound more like pop music. This feeling inspired him to write “Since U Been Gone.” Interestingly, Clarkson’s track became a much bigger hit than the song that inspired it.

Kelly Clarkson raising her arm and singing into a microphone
Kelly Clarkson | SGranitz/WireImage

Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since U Been Gone’ is supposed to sound like this song with a pop chorus

Dr. Luke Gottwald is a producer who worked on many major pop hits, including Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend,” Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends,” Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” and Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been.” One of his early hits was “Since U Been Gone.”

During an interview with Billboard, Dr. Luke explained how he wrote “Since U Been Gone” with fellow songwriter Max Martin. “That was a conscious move by Max and myself, because we were listening to alternative and indie music and talking about some song — I don’t remember what it was,” he recalled. “I said, ‘Ah, I love this song,’ and Max was like, ‘If they would just write a damn pop chorus on it!’

“It was driving him nuts, because that indie song was sort of on six, going to seven, going to eight, the chorus comes … and it goes back down to five,” Dr. Luke added. “It drove him crazy. And when he said that, it was like, light bulb. ‘Why don’t we do that, but put a big chorus on it?’ It worked.” According to The Guardian, the song in question was “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

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What the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O thought about ‘Since U Been Gone’

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O told Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone she was not a fan of the similarity between “Maps” and “Since U Been Gone.” She was scared when she first heard “Since U Been Gone.” “It was like getting bitten by a poisonous varmint,” she said.

Sheffield tried in vain to convince her “Since U Been Gone” would help the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ career. “Ah, well,” she said. “If it wasn’t her, it just would’ve been Ashlee Simpson.”

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How the world reacted to Kelly Clarkson’s song compared to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’

“Since U Been Gone” became a massive hit. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 46 weeks. Its parent album, Breakaway, was a hit as well. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 104 weeks.

On the other hand, “Maps” wasn’t a big hit in the United States. “Maps” reached No. 87 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 13 weeks. It was the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ only charting single besides “Gold Lion,” which reached No. 88. The parent album of “Maps,” Fever to Tell, wasn’t a tremendous success either. It reached No. 55 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 28 weeks. “Since U Been Gone” is a popular song; however, it wouldn’t exist without the relatively obscure “Maps.”