The album was originally conceived as a solo project for singer Andy Bell. Once Vince Clarke, the other member of Erasure, became involved, it was released as Erasure's tenth studio album. The tracks were handpicked by Clarke and Bell as ones that influenced them as musicians. It was released in the UK and the U.S. by Mute Records in 2003.
Other People's Songs gave Erasure their first top ten on the UK singles chart in nine years. The album was produced by Erasure with Gareth Jones and Dave Bascombe. Because of Bell's resistance to remaking the classic "Video Killed the Radio Star", the verses are "sung" synthetically by a computer.
Ave Maria was recorded but failed to make the tracklisting ending up as a b-side on solsbury hill.