This was originally planned for Maroon 5's debut album Songs About Jane, but didn't make the final track listing. A live performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl was included on the 2005 long player Live - Friday the 13th, but fans had to wait until the deluxe version of the band's 2012 Overexposed for a studio version.
This samples the Little Richard track "The Rill Thing," which is a popular choice for artists looking for a beat. Pete Rock, Common, and Mos Def have sampled the track as well.
16-tear-old Lorde wrote the lyrics to "Royals" at home in just half an hour. She was inspired by the "ridiculous, unrelatable, unattainable opulence" that runs through such albums as Kanye West and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne and Lana Del Rey's Born To Die.