Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” Turns 10

By Tyler Clark
     On November 16, 2004, inaugural American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson prepped for the release of her sophomore album, Breakaway, with the lead single, “Since U Been Gone.” Fed up with being referred to as the girl who won the once uber-popular singing competition, Clarkson strove for a more established sound than the one she delivered with her debut, Thankful. Label exec Clive Davis convinced her to work with new collaborators Dr. Luke and Max Martin.
     Dr. Luke and Max Martin wrote and produced the song, intending P!nk to record it. She turned it down and Hollywood Records then turned to Hilary Duff, who turned it down because she couldn’t hit the song’s high notes. Clive Davis persistently advocated to give the song to Clarkson, but Max Martin was reluctant to stray from his own famous pop/R&B sound (see Britney Spears circa 1999). Hollywood Records gave in, even though Kelly had just finished recording her second album. She didn’t like the track due to its digital production and poppy sound, so she suggested heavier drums and guitar to match the rock sound of Breakaway. Thus, “Since U Been Gone,” the final song on her album and its first track released, was born.
The song was certified platinum and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first song with a female singer to reach the top two chart position in 2005. The song also won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 48th Grammy Awards. The album Breakaway won 2 Grammys, sold over 15 million copies, and is her most successful album to date.
“Since U Been Gone” has been covered by many artists most notably A Day To Remember and was featured in 2012 musical comedy Pitch Perfect.
Happy 10th Birthday to the song that launched Kelly Clarkson from an American Idol winner into being one of the biggest names in pop music.