With the news that Gotye and Kimbra’s amazing ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ duet has hit the top of the Australian charts and clocked up almost two million Youtube hits, not to mention putting itself in poll position to top the Triple J Hottest 100 in January next year, we thought we’d countdown some of our favourite musical duets.
David Bowie and Queen - Under Pressure Queen’s career had stagnated and David Bowie was getting ready to explore pop music with his most commercial releases yet, but at this point in 1981, the two acts joined up in Swiss studios to have a bit of a jam session which saw Queen front man Freddie Mercury writing most of the arrangement and David Bowie contributing the lyrics over one of the best bass lines ever. And yes, this was the song being sampled on Vanilla Ice’s 1990 hit ‘Ice Ice Baby’. Interestingly, both acts never performed the song live together, although it was a staple of Queen’s live sets in the 1980s and Bowie began performing it live after the death of Mercury in 1992.
Olivia Newton John & John Travolta – You’re The One That I Want Ah well ah well ah well uh huh! Yep, you all know the song and it’s a staple of trashy hen’s nights in karaoke bars across the world, but this duet from the soundtrack of Grease has gotta be one of the most memorable duets of all time.
Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton - Islands In The Stream Speaking of trashy karaoke songs, this 1983 collaboration between Kenny & Dolly was written by the Bee Gees. Naturally a daggy karaoke staple, but it’s also incredibly catchy, as you may have noticed when it was a smash hit reworked as ‘Ghetto Superstar’ by Pras, featuring the vocals of Old Dirty Bastard and Mya in 1998.
Iggy Pop & Peaches - Kick it A match made in heaven. The king of sex-driven rock n roll meets his modern day female equivalent in Peaches. The result, nearly 3 minutes of high intensity autobiographical lyrics that will leave you convinced that this pair would have the roughest sex that's legal.
Run DMC & Aerosmith - Walk This Way Aerosmith’s career had stagnated amidst battles with drug and alcohol, while Run DMC were champing at the bit to bring hip hop to middle class white America. Cue this collaboration in 1986 which saw the two groups simultaneously invent rap rock and possibly take the blame for the existence of Limp Bizkit.
Jesus and Mary Chain & Hope Sandoval - Sometimes Always The Jesus & Mary Chain with their snarling nihilism and wall of guitar feedback were the last band you’d have expected to indulge in a sultry duet. However guitarist William Reid wrote this tender twisted ballad for his then girlfriend, Mazzy Star chanteuse Hope Sandoval to record with his brother Jim on their 1994 album Stoned & Dethroned.
Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue - Where The Wild Roses Grow Nick Cave was mutating from his gothic wild southern preacher persona to introspective crooning balladry, but this duet with Kylie Minogue on 1996’s spooky Murder Ballads did no end of good for both their careers.
Jay-Z & Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind The two New York residents collaborated on this 2009 anthem to their home town, which was written earlier in the year by two New York writer/producers who were on holiday in London and feeling homesick. Jay-Z rewrote the verses of the original and brought in Keys to sing the vocal hook.
Shane MacGowan & Kirsty McColl – Fairytale of New York Arguably the greatest Christmas song of all time, The Pogues’ collaboration with folk singer Kirsty McColl contains some of the greatest lyrics of all time, with front man Shane MacGowan’s alcoholic loser remonstrating with McColl’s ‘cheap slut on junk’. Check out a cameo from actor Matt Dillon playing the cop arresting Shane MacGowan’s character in the film clip.
Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra – Some Velvet Morning Hazelwood’s mysterious psychedelic pop ode to the mysterious Phaedra, who has schooled in in the ways of love sees his deep bass in counterpoint to Sinatra’s silky tones. Interstingly the song changes from 4/4 time in Hazlewood’s part to 3/4 time in Sinatra’s part. A sexy, trippy psychedelic classic.
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