Max Martin: Underrated Songwriter and Hit Machine
The music industry depends on great songwriters. It may seem obvious, but from John Lennon and Paul McCartney to today’s heavyweights like Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff, the charts have been supported over the years by many individuals who can write catchy tunes. While most of these outstanding performers deserve the applause they deserve, some of them go unnoticed, deserving songwriters who work for others without ever getting their due. Notably, there is one songwriter who has more number one singles than anyone other than Lennon and McCartney. Although he has received recognition, it seems criminal that most people do not know his name: Max Martin.
Born in 1971 in Stockholm, Sweden, the producer and songwriter is the author of some of today’s most popular pop songs. He first rose to prominence in the late 1990s after producing some of the era’s most successful hits. These include tracks such as “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears, “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys and “That’s the Way It Is” by Celine Dion. Moving from strength to strength, in 2000 he oversaw the creation of the NSYNC song “It’s Gonne Be Me”. Even at this early stage, Martin’s resume was impressive.
Remembering working with Martin, Britney Spears once said:[Martin] gets exactly what I say when I tell him what I want and don’t want musically. His melodies are incredible and he always comes up with weird sounds that I like… There is no one I feel more comfortable collaborating with in the studio.”
To date, Martin has written or co-written 25 Billboard Hot 100 number one singles and he also produces or at least co-produces the majority. This led to it being certified as having the third highest number one singles chart on Billboardbehind John Lennon at 26 and Paul McCartney at 32. Showcasing the respected company he keeps, Martin is also currently tied with the late Beatles producer George Martin for the hottest 100 number one singles as a producer with 23 Martin receiving five Grammy Awards for his efforts, including Producer of the Year. . It was also nominated for an Oscar and twice for a Golden Globe.
It is interesting that he kind of joined the work. In 1985, Martin joined the glam metal band It’s Alive and they eventually went on to great success in Sweden. In the early 1990s, the band signed producer Denniz Pop to Cheiron Records, a BMG subsidiary. It’s Alive released their second album. Visions of an earthquake, in 1994, which was a commercial disappointment. Fortunately for Martin, around this time his life began to change.
PoP recognized Martin’s songwriting talent and in 1993 he was hired by Cheiron Studios where he briefly learned the basics in the studio. Looking back at that formative period in 2001, Martin said, “I didn’t even know what a producer was doing, I spent two years – day and night – in this studio trying to figure out what the hell was going on.” Quickly becoming his mentor, Pop named the budding producer, then known as Carl Martin Sandberg, Max Martin.
The first collaboration between Martin and PoP came in 1994 when Rednex released the song “Wish You Were Here”. They then worked on their second album, Ace of Base, released in 1995. Bridge, and then on albums by artists such as Leila J and 3T. Currently, Bridge It has sold over six million copies worldwide, with over one million in the US alone.
In 1995, the short-lived American label Zomba hired Cheiron Studios to work on the Backstreet Boys’ self-titled debut album. Martin then left It’s Alive at the end of that year. The rest is history.
Find all of the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 Max Martins as a songwriter below.
What are Max Martin’s number one singles as a songwriter?
- Britney Spears – “…Baby One More Time” (1999)
- NSYNC – “It’ll Be Me” (2000)
- Katy Perry – I Kissed a Girl (2008)
- Pink – “So What” (2008)
- Kelly Clarkson – “My Life Would Suck Without You” (2009)
- Britney Spears – “3” (2009)
- Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg – California Girls (2010)
- Katy Perry – “Teenage Dream” (2010)
- Pink – “Raise Your Glass” (2010)
- Britney Spears – Hold It Against Me (2011)
- Katy Perry feat. Kanye West – “ET” (2011)
- Katy Perry – “Last Friday Night (TGIF)” (2011)
- Katy Perry – “Part of Me” (2012)
- Maroon 5 – “One More Night” (2012)
- Taylor Swift – “We’ll Never Be Together Again” (2012)
- Katy Perry – Roar (2013)
- Katy Perry feat. Juicy Jay – “Dark Horse” (2014)
- Taylor Swift – “Shake It Off” (2014)
- Taylor Swift – Empty Space (2014)
- Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (2015)
- The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face” (2015)
- Justin Timberlake – “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (2016)
- The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights” (2020)
- The Weeknd and Ariana Grande – “Save Your Tears” (2021)
- Coldplay & BTS – Save Your Tears (2021)
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