Missed Opportunities: 10 Musicians Who Turned Down Big Hits

Categories: Lists

reba april 16.jpg
Photo by Marco Torres
Reba McEntire could have been queen of the world in 1998's Titanic.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you thought to yourself, "Why did I do that?" or "Why did I turn that down?" Those kinds of moments happen to all of us. It's part of life, unfortunately.

This happens all the time in the movie world, but you never seem to hear about it in the music world. It happens all the time here too.

heart album cover april 16.jpg
Stevie Nicks turns down "These Dreams": Known for her her trademark fairytale-style lyrics, in 1984 rocker Stevie Nicks was seeking to record new material for her next album, 1985's Rock a Little. Songwriters Martin Page and Elton John collaborator Bernie Taupin pitched a song they had written for her called "These Dreams." She turned it down.

But the song was pitched to Heart, and they decided to record it for their self-titled 1986 album. The song ended up being Heart's biggest hit with both the song and the record itself hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200 charts, respectively. Furthermore, it heralded a major comeback for Heart, whose sales had been down since the early '80s.

As for Nicks, Rock a Little didn't sell as well as her previous two albums and she checked into rehab to treat a cocaine addiction after the Rock a Little tour was over.

9. Reba passes on the role of the Unsinkable Molly Brown in Titanic: Country music superstar Reba has been known to take forays into acting -- most notably 1990's Tremors, The Little Rascals in 1994, numerous made-for-television movies in the mid and late '90s, and her own self-titled WB sitcom that began in 2001.

However, when asked to play the role of the Unsinkable Molly Brown in the monster box-office hit Titanic, she initially accepted but had to back out of filming due to scheduling conflicts. The role went to Kathy Bates, and Titanic became the highest-grossing film of all time. It was recently re-released in 3D to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking.

8. Mark Wahlberg skips New Kids on the Block: Before he became known as a rapper and, later, an Oscar-nominated actor; Mark Wahlberg was an early member of the '80's boy band New Kids on the Block along with his brother, Donnie. However, Mark quit before the band recorded their first album in 1986.

NKOTB split in 1994 but have since gotten back together. Mark, on the other hand, has shed his rapper persona and nickname "Marky Mark" and has become an A-list actor; starring in such films as The Departed, Boogie Nights and many more.

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 One of the earliest and most regretful,must be The Marvelettes (Motown) turning down "Where did our love go",which became a monster and forerunner for another ten for the Supremes.

John Seger
John Seger

The writer of the article left out that Stevie Nicks had a #4 hit, "Talk to me," and a top 20 hit, "I Can't Wait," on the album, "Rock A Little." True the album didn't sell like her first two albums, but it still was certified platinum in less than a month and was indeed a hit.


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don kirshner offered "sugar sugar" to the monkees, who laughed him out of the room before he created the archies (who couldn't talk back to him)...


Chris Chapa
Chris Chapa

What about The Fixx, Bryan Ferry and Billy Idol turning down "Don't you forget about me" Eventually recorded by Simple Minds. 

Christina Lynn Hildebrand
Christina Lynn Hildebrand

youre right that it produced 2 top 20 hits, but the album still undersold when compared to those 2 

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