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Pharrell Williams reveals CeeLo Green was original choice to record ‘Happy’

Pharrell Williams performs at Sprint Sound Sessions at Webster Hall on April 29, 2014 in New York City.
Pharrell Williams performs at Sprint Sound Sessions at Webster Hall on April 29, 2014 in New York City.
(Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Sprint)

It may be hard to imagine anyone else but Pharrell Williams recording the Oscar-nominated track “Happy”. But according to the Grammy-winning recording artist, that nearly happened. In an appearance on the “The Howard Stern Show” on Sirius XM on Tuesday, Pharrell revealed CeeLo Green as the original choice to record the song.

Pharrell made the revelation when Howard Stern asked him if he ever envisioned another singer performing the song that has made his popularity in the mainstream soar. The “Happy” singer responded that CeeLo “did it, he did do it,” but he wasn’t the right choice for the song mostly because of timing. Pharrell admitted CeeLo sounded “amazing” on the track.

He said in he interview, “The powers that be at the time did not see it fit for him, and there was a much bigger agenda for him, he had bigger fish to fry, he had an album to put out…He wanted to do it, but I think some folks on his team just felt that the priority should’ve been on his album at the time, and so they elected not to do that song and went with another one instead.”

Pharrell told Stern that CeeLo was very “gracious” and congratulated him on all the success he obtained by doing the song. He described CeeLo as a “super standup guy” and someone he definitely envisioned doing the track. Ironically, he will be replacing CeeLo on “The Voice,” but mentioned that the two will be collaborating on a track together. He stated, “I love working with him – in fact, we have a song together on his next album. He is a tremendous, tremendous talent.”

In his appearance on “The Howard Stern Show,” the producer also talked about his decision to become a “Voice” coach as well as turning down the opportunity to become a judge on “American Idol” back in 2012. He revealed that he couldn’t get behind the “philosophy behind the show.”

As far as “Happy” goes, the song is still steamrolling the charts. Pharrell Williams reign atop the Billboard Hot 100 has reached its 10th week and is one of only 28 songs that have spent this much time at No. 1 on the charts. "Happy" spent a second week at No. 1 on streaming songs, with 8.4 million U.S. streams.

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