Justin Bieber‘s hit tune “Love Yourself” was written by the abundantly talented Ed Sheeran. But Howard Stern got Sheeran talking about the song and discovered that it ended up far from where it started. Sheeran told Stern the song was originally meant for Rihanna — at least that’s who he immediately thought of — and it was less about love and more about… Well, let’s just say Sheeran said the original title was “F#%* Yourself”, not “Love Yourself.” Who’d have thought it would take bad boy Justin Bieber to clean up nice guy Sheeran’s language?
Sheeran told Stern that the original lyrics went like this: “If you like the way you look that much, well baby you should go and f#% yourself.” So quick, pop quiz — name an artist who does “explicit” well. Yup, that’s why Sheeran had Rihanna in mind, but then Bieber became the choice. Stern called it “arguably Justin Bieber’s biggest song.” Why’d he give it up? Sheeran said the song just wasn’t a Sheeran song — he didn’t feel a big connection with it. Stern, who uses the f-word during the Sheeran interview, would have probably liked Rihanna’s version better. It’s a good listen all around, this interview, as Stern says he’s “fascinated” by how the songs get written and shared and sold — and he digs in to find out the process.