9 musicians who used pseudonyms, from Prince and Taylor Swift to Harry Styles and Paul McCartney

Calvin Harris Goes Off On Taylor Swift

The secret is out: Taylor Swift is Nils Sjöberg, the mysterious Swede who co-wrote Calvin Harris' global smash "This is What You Came For." While Swift hid behind a pseudonym in penning the insta-catchy dance track featuring vocals from Rihanna, she's certainly not the first mega-musician to hide behind a fake name to anonymously write music with someone else.

Taylor Swift Co-Wrote Calvin Harris' 'This is What You Came For' Under Swedish Pseudonym

In fact, everyone from Sir Paul McCartney to Prince, Harry Styles, Elton John and John Lennon and Bob Dylan have cooked up phony identities while working undercover. Check out some of the most famous pseudo jobs in music history:

Taylor Swift

Though Swifties suspected it from go, it wasn't until Wednesday (July 13) that the world finally learned that Taylor had indeed co-written ex boyfriend Calvin Harris' "This is What You Came For" under a Swedish pseudonym.

Paul McCartney

In addition releasing EDM music under the name Fireman, early in his career Sir Paul went undercover as Bernard Webb to write the song "Woman" for the duo Peter and Gordon. He also released Thrillington in 1977, a low-key album credited to fake socialite Percy "Thrills" Thrillington.


During the 1980s, Prince wrote dozens of songs for other artists (Kenny Rogers, Sheena Easton, the Bangles, Cyndi Lauper) under a variety of names, including Joey Coco, Alexander Nevermind and Jamie Starr.

Harry Styles

Though definitive proof has not yet been found that former One Direction heartthrob Styles is, in fact, mysterious songwriter Mick Greenberg, MTV did a deep dive last year and found pretty convincing proof that Styles had co-written a song for Alex & Sierra and may have worked on songs for Ariana Grande and Gavin DeGraw.

Mick Jagger/Keith Richards

Though they've written plenty of hits under their own names, the Rolling Stones singer and guitarist have also written and produced a slew of tracks under their nickname "the Glimmer Twins," including 1982's Still Life live album.

Elton John

The hit-spawning piano man and his longtime writing partner, Bernie Taupin, penned the smash "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" for singer Kiki Dee in 1976 under the names Ann Orson and Carte Blanche.

John Lennon

It's hard to hide when you're a Beatle, but Lennon went undercover in 1975 to help out his old pal Elton by adopting the fakie Dr. Winston O'Boogie on John's cover of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

Garth Brooks

In one of the most famous (and only) missteps of his long career, Brooks went undercover (barely) as unknown soul-patch-rocking singer Chris Gaines. It did not end well.

Traveling Wilburys

Though their faces appear on the cover, this supergroup is not credited in the liner notes of their 1988 debut album, instead going by the jokey made-up monikers Nelson Wilbury (George Harrison), Otis Wilbury (Jeff Lynne), Charlie T. Wilbury (Tom Petty), Lefty Wilbury (Roy Orbison) and Lucky Wilbury (Bob Dylan).

Check out more from Taylor Swift in the gallery below!

Calvin Harris calls out Taylor Swift on Twitter
See Gallery
Calvin Harris calls out Taylor Swift on Twitter
And she sings on a little bit of it too 🙃 Amazing lyric writer and she smashed it as usual https://t.co/vW3yGOIJit
I wrote the music, produced the song, arranged it and cut the vocals though. And initially she wanted it kept secret, hence the pseudonym
Hurtful to me at this point that her and her team would go so far out of their way to try and make ME look bad at this stage though 🤔
I figure if you're happy in your new relationship you should focus on that instead of trying to tear your ex bf down for something to do
I know you're off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy ETC but I'm not that guy, sorry. I won't allow it
Please focus on the positive aspects of YOUR life because you've earned a great one
God bless everyone have a beautiful day

More on AOL Entertainment:
Ghostbusters' takes top spot in advance ticket sales for comedies
Remember Jake Behari from Nickelodeon's 'Unfabulous'? Well, he's still really hot now
Watch Emma Stone and Maya Rudolph's killer butter tub cover of Robyn's 'Call Your Girlfriend'

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.