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  • The liner notes for Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction include the lyric "With your bitch slap rapping and your cocaine tongue you get nothing done", a lyric for "You Could Be Mine" (which was recorded in their next album). Also, the notes for Use Your Illusion I have "Ain't It Fun?", the title of a song they covered in "The Spaghetti Incident?".
  • My Chemical Romance's debut album, I Brought You My Bullets, Your Brought Me Your Love, has the French phrase "Merci pour le venin" written on the liner notes. It is the french title of "Thank You For The Venom", a song appearing on their second album, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge.
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  • They Might Be Giants' "On Earth My Nina", released on 1999's Long Tall Weekend, was a reversed acapella version of "Thunderbird", which wasn't released until The Spine five years later.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers played "Fortune Faded" live in August 2001, as part of a batch of new songs. A studio version of it didn't appear until November 2003, when it became the new single for their Greatest Hits compilation.
    • The By The Way sessions demo has since leaked out. The band did not release the song at the time because they felt the chorus melody resembled one by another band. They rewrote the chorus for the Greatest Hits version.
  • Several years before Jeremy Dawson and Chad Petree founded Shiny Toy Guns, the chorus lyrics of "You are The One" appeared in a trance song called "Neo (The One)" that they produced under the name Slyder, and which appeared in Grand Theft Auto III on the Rise FM station.
  • A year before Pearl Jam's debut album, Eddie Vedder could be heard singing backup on Temple Of The Dog's self-titled album, as well as getting a full on duet with Chris Cornell on the song "Hunger Strike". Temple Of The Dog and Pearl Jam shared most of the same lineup (and the drummer, who played with Cornell in Soundgarden, would later join the band), and Vedder ended up on the Temple Of The Dog album after auditioning for Pearl Jam.
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  • Before he made it big as an actor on Full House, John Stamos was a drummer for The Beach Boys. He appears in their video for their 1988 hit "Kokomo", subbing in for the late Dennis Wilson.
  • Da Yoopers had "Cowboy" Dan Collins sing backing vocals on two albums several years before he became an official member.
  • Shania Twain's first credits were singing backing vocals on albums by labelmates Sammy Kershaw and Jeff Chance in the early 90s.
  • The first credit for Rachel Proctor (co-writer of songs by Martina McBride, Jessica Simpson, and Jennette McCurdy; also had a hit of her own with "Me and Emily" in 2004) was singing backing vocals on Blake Shelton's "Ol' Red" in 2002.
  • The live film produced from Michael Jackson's 1988 Japanese performance features Michael performing "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" with one of his back-up singers from the tour - Sheryl Crow, whose fame was still several years away.
    • The ending theme to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994), whose soundtrack was at least partly composed by Jackson, sounds very similar to his single "Stranger in Moscow", which was composed in 1993 but not released until 1995.
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  • The 1971 album Ram by Paul and Linda McCartney had a ukelele-driven segue song called "Ram On (Reprise)" on side two. On the fade out, you can hear Paul launch into a few lines of "Big Barn Bed", which would be the first song on Wings' second album, Red Rose Speedway (1973).
  • Early copies of Radiohead's Kid A included an extra booklet behind the CD tray as an Easter Egg. Some of the cryptic text included in said booklet turned out to be lyrics to songs that would appear on Amnesiac, which was recorded during the same sessions.
    • Radiohead has a number of songs which they played live but did not wind up on an album until years (or even decades) later. For instance, "Nude" was performed on the band's 1997-98 O.K. Computer tour (it appears in their Meeting People is Easy film, introduced under the title "Big Ideas (Don't Get Any)"), but didn't wind up on album until 2007's In Rainbows. The song "True Love Waits" was one of the band's most acclaimed songs and they frequently performed it in concert from 1995 onwards. They tried recording versions of it for several albums, but were never happy with any of them. A live recording of the song appears on their 2001 EP I Might Be Wrong, but they took until 2016's A Moon Shaped Pool to finally release a studio version.
  • One of Jennette McCurdy's first credits was appearing in the music video for Faith Hill's "The Way You Love Me". Before that, she was a recurring actress on MADtv.
  • Faith Hill sang backing vocals on Gary Morris' 1989 album Stones four years before releasing her debut single.
  • Singer-songwriter Jeffrey Steele's first credit was on the late 80s tribute album A Town South of Bakersfield. He also wrote an album cut for Steve Wariner in 1990 before doing two albums and an EP as Lead Bassist of the band Boy Howdy (who had two Top 10 hits with "She'd Give Anything" and "They Don't Make 'em Like That Anymore"). After they split up, Steele enjoyed a Breakup Breakout as a highly successful songwriter for other artists, most notably Rascal Flatts.
  • Before Keith Urban charted his first single in 1999, he had a ton of bit parts. Among them were a backing vocal credit on INXS' Live Baby Live (1991); a cameo in the video for Alan Jackson's cover of "Summertime Blues"; co-writing credits for Toby Keith, 4 Runner, and the Raybon Brothers; and a few scattered electric guitar credits (most notably Garth Brooks' Double Live). He also formed a short-lived band called The Ranch which had two low-charting singles and one album for Capitol in 1997.
  • R.E.M. often played songs live, got tired of them, then returned to them a few years later when they were short of material for albums. There are numerous examples across their IRS catalogue. It happened occasionally at Warner Bros as well.
    • A significant example of this is "Bad Day" which was recorded for Life's Rich Pageant in 1986, left off, and eventually rerecorded in 2003 as a 'new' track for their In Time compilation. It proved a big commercial success, and amusingly, a lot of commentators said this was R.E.M.'s return to form (without realising it was an old song).
  • Stevie B. sang the backup vocals on Jaya's "If You Leave Me Now" a decade before covering the song himself.
  • Kesha's mother, Pebe Sebert, has written many of her songs. But many, many years before that (1978 to be exact), Sebert wrote "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You", originally recorded by Joe Sun and later made famous by Dolly Parton.
  • About a year-and-a-half before his debut, Eric Church wrote Terri Clark's late 2004-early 2005 single "The World Needs a Drink".
  • Before his 1999 debut single, Brad Paisley wrote "Another You", a top 5 single for David Kersh in 1996.
  • In 2004, Toby Keith released a duet with his daughter Krystal on a cover of Inez and Charlie Foxx's "Mockingbird". Nine years later, she began her official singing career on Show Dog-Universal, the label of which her father is president.
  • Before their debut single came out, Lady Antebellum sang on Jim Brickman's "Never Alone".
  • Jerrod Niemann, singer of the hits "Lover, Lover" and "Drink to That All Night", made his first appearance as part of the gang of backing vocalists on Garth Brooks' 2005 single "Good Ride Cowboy" (which he also co-wrote).
  • Record Producer Michael Knox produced two obscure country albums in the late 1990s (29 Nights by Danni Leigh and Like a Train by J.D. Myers). He had no other credits until 2005, when he became Jason Aldean's producer, a role he has held to this day.
  • Before Big & Rich released their debut single "Wild West Show" in December 2003, Big Kenny wrote "Beatin' My Head Against the Wall" on the aforementioned 29 Nights and "I Hope You Want Me Too" on The Mavericks' Trampoline, both released in 1998. John Rich, who had just left Lonestar, had another cut in 1998 in the form of Keith Harling's single "Coming Back for You". After the two paired up, they wrote "Amarillo Sky" for McBride & the Ride in 2002 (later Covered Up by Jason Aldean) and "She's a Butterfly" on Martina McBride's (no relation) 2003 album Martina, also providing backing vocals on the latter.
  • Josh Abbott Band has done this twice: their 2011 single "Oh, Tonight" featured a credited vocal from a pre-fame Kacey Musgraves, while "Wasn't That Drunk" five years later did likewise with Carly Pearce.
  • Before having any hits of his own, Luke Bryan co-wrote the title track of Travis Tritt's 2004 album My Honky Tonk History and Billy Currington's 2006 single "Good Directions".
  • Before releasing their first single, Country Music duo Thompson Square sang backing vocals on Ty Herndon's 2007 album Right About Now.
  • The Frozen Autumn's female member, Arianna, first appeared as a guest vocalist on the title track of Fragments of Memories, followed by collaborating with Diego Merletto on the short-lived side project Static Movement, before becoming a permanent fixture of the band.
  • A pre-fame Jean-Michel Jarre covered Gershon Kingsley/Hot Butter's "Popcorn" under the alias Popcorn Orchestra in 1972. (The 80's cover version often misattributed to him or Kraftwerk is by the M & H Band).
  • Before she had any singles of her own, Janie Fricke sang guest vocals on Johnny Duncan's "Thinkin' of a Rendezvous".
  • Before becoming an acclaimed arranger and film score writer, James Newton Howard worked as keyboardist/orchestral arranger for Elton John, beginning with Elton's 1975 Rock Of The Westies album and continuing until the early 1980's. He also arranged strings on the 1982 Toto ballad, "I Won't Hold You Back". Elton and James would reunite several times since, most notably for Elton's Live In Australia album and their collaboration in Gnomeo and Juliet.
  • Country Music songwriter/producer Shane McAnally was originally a singer, and had a minor hit in 1999 with "Are Your Eyes Still Blue". He went away for several years, then after having a few songs in the LGBT film Shelter, co-wrote Lee Ann Womack's 2008 hit "Last Call". From that point onward, songwriting and production became his bread and butter.
  • Sam Hunt: Before having any hits of his own, he wrote "Come Over" for Kenny Chesney, "Cop Car" for Keith Urban, and "We Are Tonight" for Billy Currington.
  • Before releasing any material of her own, Miranda Lambert appeared as a guest vocalist on Buddy Jewell's debut album. This is because the two were contestants on the first season of Nashville Star together (he placed first and she placed third).
  • Singer-songwriter Sarah Buxton's first credit was as a featured vocalist on Cowboy Troy's 2005 single "If You Don't Wanna Love Me", which predated her own singles or songwriting credits.
  • Before she placed fifth on the fifth season of Nashville Star, Whitney Duncan appeared on Kenny Rogers' 2004 single "My World Is Over".
  • Stephanie Bentley was the duet vocalist on Ty Herndon's late 1995 single "Heart Half Empty" before releasing any singles of her own. Before even this, however, she could be heard singing on Pam Tillis' 1992 hit "Shake the Sugar Tree" (she sang the song's demo, which Tillis's producer liked so much that he mixed it into the final version).
  • Curtis Wright co-wrote two of Shenandoah's singles: "Next to You, Next to Me" in 1990, and "Rock My Baby" two years later. Shenandoah disbanded in 1997, and when they reunited in 2000, Wright briefly became their lead singer.
  • David Lee Murphy sang "Just Once" on the soundtrack of the 1994 rodeo movie 8 Seconds before releasing his debut album.
  • Two years before "I Kissed a Girl", Katy Perry appeared in the video for Gym Class Heroes' "Cupid's Chokehold"; At the time, she was dating their lead singer Travie McCoy. A few years before that, Perry was a backing vocalist for the rock band P.O.D., and appears on their 2005 rock radio hit "Goodbye for Now" and its video.
    • Likewise, Perry's friend Kesha appears in the "I Kissed a Girl" video, about a year before the release of her debut hit "Tik Tok".
  • Before she was famous, Lindsey Stirling played violin on Tay Zonday's "Mama Economy".
  • Before the band Old Dominion was formed, three of its members (Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, and Brad Tursi) wrote songs for other country music singers. Even prior to that, the members appeared in the video of Rodney Atkins' 2009 hit "It's America".
  • Nearly a decade before he broke through, Chris Stapleton had a large list of songs that he had written for other artists. He also recorded in the bluegrass band The Steeldrivers and the Southern rock band The Jompson Brothers.
  • Four years before she released her debut album The ArchAndroid, Janelle Monáe made her recording debut on two tracks on Outkast's final album Idlewild in 2006, and also appeared in the video for their song "Morris Brown".
  • Reeves Gabrels became the full-time lead guitarist of The Cure in 2012, fifteen years after appearing as a guest on the single "Wrong Number".
  • A year before joining Incubus in 2004, Ben Kenney was the bassist for The Time-Lapse Consortium, which also featured Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger and drummer Jose Pasillas. Furthermore, Incubus singer Brandon Boyd appears on their version of "A Certain Shade of Green", leaving DJ Chris Kilmore as the only 2004-present Incubus member not present during that 2003 performance.
  • Before his own solo career began, Steve Wariner was a bass player for Dottie West. His playing can be heard on her 1973 hit "Country Sunshine".
  • According to songwriter Dennis Linde, the eponymous Earl of The Chicks' "Goodbye Earl" is the same character who previously appeared in "Queen of My Double Wide Trailer" by Sammy Kershaw.
  • Before releasing any singles of her own, Shelby Lynne was a featured vocalist on George Jones' 1988 single "If I Could Bottle This Up".
  • Phil Vassar had a number of songwriting credits (including "Little Red Rodeo" by Collin Raye and both "I'm Alright" and "Bye, Bye" by Jo Dee Messina) prior to the start of his own singing career in late 1999.

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