The real kings and queens of the charts

These songwriters may not be household names, but their music is everywhere
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The Independent Culture

Barring catastrophe, Adele's 21 will rack up its 11th straight week at the top of the UK album chart this evening, shattering records for the most weeks at No 1 by a British female artist.

While the numbers are remarkable, there is nothing extraordinary about the reasons for her success. A savvy record company plan and timing have helped but, more than anything else, collaboration with mostly British songwriters who are among the best in the world.

Adele has worked with a heavyweight list that includes Eg White, formerly of Eg and Alice, Florence and the Machine producer Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Semisonic singer Dan Wilson and producer Fraser T Smith. Although they are not are household names, they dominate the charts.

Smith explained that Adele has pulled off the tricky mix of working with several different songwriters without losing her own identity. "She can experiment and work with different people but she is such a strong character than she can put her own personality on each song," he said.

"She knows what she wants to do," White added. "Sometimes I get the impression that I am putting words in people's mouths when writing. I have never had that with her."

Her record company has also played an important role. In 2007, Adele signed to the indie label XL, which gave her time to mature at her own pace. She chooses whom she wants to work with and what singles to release.

None of this would matter without the songs. Here we reveal some of the unsung heroes whose creations dominate the charts.

The author is the news editor of 'Music Week'

Alison Moira Clarkson

The Londoner formerly known as Betty Boo had success as a solo artist in the early 1990s with hits including "Doin' the Do".

Has written for Girls Aloud, Louise Nurding and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

Memorable songs "Pure and Simple" by Hear'Say.

Claim to fame "Pure and Simple", initially rejected by A&R man Simon Cowell, went on to be a record-breaking hit.

Guy Chambers

He worked on soundtracks including Bridget Jones's Diary, Finding Nemo and Love Actually. Also worked with Queen on "We Are the Champions".

Has written for INXS, Kylie Minogue and Melanie C.

Memorable songs "Rock DJ", "Feel", "Millennium", "Let Me Entertain You", and "Angels", all by Robbie Williams.

Claim to fame Williams missed Chambers' input so much he eventually went back to Take That.

Ryan Tedder

Best known as the frontman of the pop-rock band OneRepublic, he has achieved success as an independent songwriter and producer.

Has written for Beyoncé, Far East Movement, Jordin Sparks, Leona Lewis, Adele and Paul Oakenfold.

Memorable songs "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis.

Claim to fame Eight Grammy nominations, three for Beyoncé's "Halo".

Brian Higgins

The production group he leads is called Xenomania, which he shares with Miranda Cooper. They are credited as one of the most influential creators in Noughties pop.

Has written for Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Gabriella Cilmi, Kylie Minogue and Alesha Dixon.

Memorable songs "All I Wanna Do" and "Believe" by Cher.

Claim to fame The go-to guy for everyone from Pet Shop Boys via Kylie to St Etienne.

Fraser T Smith

Smith went to Reading Blue Coat School, where he played with Chemical Brothers' Tom Rowlands and future television presenter Matt Allwright.

Has written for Keane, Adele, Kylie Minogue.

Memorable songs James Morrison's "Broken Strings" and Tinchy Stryder's "Number 1", "Take Me Back" and "Never Leave You".

Claim to fame Has songs on two of the top three albums in the current US chart.

Cathy Dennis

After a relatively successful solo career, Dennis did better by writing other people's songs.

Has written for S Club 7 and Jonas Brothers, among many others.

Memorable songs "Toxic" by Britney Spears and "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry.

Claim to fame Eight UK number ones and five Ivor Novello awards.

Eg White

In 1990 he formed a band with London model and BMX champion Alice Temple called Eg and Alice.

Has written for Duffy, Adele, James Morrison, Joss Stone, Will Young, Pink, Kylie Minogue.

Memorable songs "Once" by Diana Vickers, "Warwick Avenue" by Duffy, "Leave Right Now" by Will Young, "Dirty Business" by Sara Jorge and "Chasing Pavements" by Adele.

Claim to fame Won two Ivor Novello awards and nominated for one Grammy.

Rob Davis

Davis was the guitarist of the 1970s glam band Mud, who had the UK's biggest selling No 1 record of 1974 with "Tiger Feet".

Has written for Spiller, Coco Star, Brooke Hogan and Mika.

Memorable songs "Can't Get You Out of My Head" by Kylie Minogue.

Claim to fame Shared a Grammy with Philip Larsen and Minogue for single "Come into My World".

Dan Wilson

Lead singer of Semisonic, for which he wrote the hits "Secret Smile", "Closing Time" and "Chemistry".

Has written for Dixies Chicks, Nicole Atkins and Adele.

Memorable songs "Someone Like You", by Adele, UK No 1 for the past 10 weeks.

Claim to fame Won a Grammy in 2007 for "Not Ready to Make Nice" by Dixie Chicks.

Amanda Ghost

The British/Indian guitarist had a short solo career and recorded two albums.

Has written for James Blunt, Beyoncé, Jordin Sparks and Daniel Merriweather.

Memorable songs Blunt's "You're Beautiful" and "Beautiful Liar" by Beyoncé and Shakira.

Claim to fame Until recently she was president of Epic Records.