ARTICLE ARCHIVE - INTERVIEWS - BABES - FORUM - BLOG - MYSPACE - PODCASTS - EMAIL

 

Duets, by nature, are a corny type of song. Sure, there's a handful that we recognize here that are also some of best tunes ever recorded, but there's something inherently cheesy and fun about duets that make them a fun guilty pleasure for millions to enjoy. We've put together a list that spans decades and styles that I hope you'll enjoy. We kept it pretty traditional in the sense that there's only 2 performers, with only minimal fudging of the rules for some "barely" duets with a full band plus a guest star that still deserve recognition.

 

25 "Let's Duet" (2007)
by Jenna Fischer and John C. Reilly

This one from the recent Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is a bit new, but it's so clever I wanted to include it on the list. There's more double entendres in this song than a season of The Match Game. The film got lost in the shuffle at the box office, but I totally recommend checking out when it's released on DVD. Hilarious stuff.

 


 

#24 "Baby, Come To Me" (1981)
by James Ingram and Patti Austin

This song is just begging you to slow dance to it. It's written by the incredible Rod Temperton, who's given you tons of other hit songs from George Benson's "Give Me The Night" and Michael Jackson's "Rock With You."

 

 

#23 "Justified & Ancient"  (1991)
by Tammy Wynette and The KLF

I was troubling over this one, because a duet typically features 2 people, but The KLF is sort of a single Borg-like entity that should count as one person. I don't know how much weed the KLF guys were smoking when they came up with the idea to bring in Tammy Wynette to sing about their magic ice cream van, but I'm glad they did. What I'd love to see is KLF come back and do a song with Daft Punk. Now THAT would be justified.

 


 

#22 "Hunger Strike" (1991)
by Eddie Vedder/Chris Cornell (Temple of the Dog)

Eddie Vedder + Chris Cornell = KICKASS! I sure wish they'd collaborate together again. When Cornell wails about going hungry, it makes you want to eat a whole plate full of tater tots that are soaked in the beefy juices of the medium rare stake that was just on it.

 


 

#21 "World Destruction" (1983)
by John Lydon and Afrika Bambaataa

This is also the first song to merge rock and rap together, predating the Run DMC/Aerosmith "Walk This Way" collaboration by 4 years. Such a big deal back in those days, cause it was like "holy shit, this is such a crazy combination and I love it!" It was also used twice in the debut episode of The Sopranos.

 

 

#20  "You Don't Bring Me Flowers"
by Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand

Sure, it's sappy as hell, but it's the best kind of sappy. Neil and Barbra team up to give you a song so joyfully depressing you don't know whether to hang yourself or get an insulin shot.

 


#19 "Don't Give Up" (1986)
by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush

I can think of no other song that better captures the struggles of a man trying to get by and provide for his family. Kate's ethereal singing of the chorus can give anyone hope, even after hearing Gabriel belt out that great, "Got to walk out of here, I can't take any more" line. This video was filmed by Godley & Creme in a single take, by the way.

 


#18 "Stop Dragging My Heart Around"
by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty

I'll admit I've still got a big crush on Stevie Nicks. She could sing a duet with Wesley Willis and I'd think it was the greatest song ever (cause frankly, it would be). Petty and Nicks give you a great mixture of rock and sultriness that still holds up wonderfully all these years later. From that great opening 20 seconds you know you're in for a ride, that only gets better as soon as Stevie's raspy voice kicks in. Petty ain't too shabby, either. A great "almost break up" song.

 


#17 "Islands In The Stream" (1983)
by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers

OK, this is the favorite duet for many folks, but I can't get over the immature mental image of crap floating down a sewer when I hear the song's title. But other than that, what's there not to love?

 


#16 "Baby It's Cold Outside"
by Ray Charles and Betty Carter

Sure, there's been a million versions of this late '40s classic, but I really dig the Ray and Betty version the best. It's easy to make this song (which is often misinterpreted as a Christmas song) extra corny, but there's a special eagerness to Ray's vocals that make this song even better. Though you have to admit that Betty sounds an awful like Miss Piggy in this version.

 


#15 "What Have I Done To Deserve This"

by Dusty Springfield and The Pet Shop Boys

Neil Tennant's voice mixes perfectly with the legendary Dusty Springfield's in this '80s classic. It was not only a #2 song in the UK, but it remains Dusty's biggest US hit.

 


#14 "Candy" (1990)
by Iggy Pop and Kate Pierson

A super fun collaboration of new wave and punk pioneers. From Iggy's croaky vocals, to the sultry stylings of rock's sexiest redhead, it's a great song of a relationship that was put on hold. One can only wonder, however, how fun this song would have been if B-52s front man Fred Schneider sang it with her.

 


#13 "Under Pressure"

by David Bowie and Queen

Even though they totally stole the beat from Vanilla Ice, this crazy Marvel Team Up duet was an instant masterpiece. There's still never been anyone else like Mr. Freddie Mercury. Not only one of the best duets ever recorded, but easily one of my all time favorite songs. I especially love the part right around the 2:20 mark when Mercury starts wailing and then Bowie joins in with the echo laced "Love love love love..." They just don't make songs this good anymore.

 

 

#12 "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
by Elton John and Kiki Dee

If this silly song doesn't make you smile, you're a mean jerk. Gotta love Elton's snazzy outfit and Kiki's Dorothy Hamil "Short and Sassy" in this video. How can you not sing along "Whooooo hooooooo" to this? They were whooo hooooing before Gwen Stefani even knew what a whoo hooo was, damnit!

 

 

#11 "Endless Love"
by Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross

When I was in 8th grade, this was like the ultimate slow dance song. Well, that's what our Scoutmaster told us at least. Lionel and Diana are wonderful in this song and everything about it is simply beautiful. If you don't sing this with your wife at least once before you die, you'll die a bitter empty death while someone plays an 8 track tape of Stryper at your funeral.

 


#10 "Fairytale of New York" (1987)
by Shane Magowan and Kirsty MacColl

Perhaps the greatest Christmas duet ever recorded, that's for sure. So much passion in this tune. And any duet that features the taunt, "You scumbag, you maggot!" is OK in my book.

 


#9 "Redemption Song"
by Joe Strummer and Johnny Cash

How could you not team these two guys up and come up with something fantastic? This song's so great because it was put together due to Joe's extreme love of Cash and his work, as he was hanging out just soaking in the experience recording "The Man Comes Around". Rick Rubin got the two together to record the Marley classic, and the rest is history.

 


#8 "Crying" (1987)
by Roy Orbison and kd Lang

An unlikely duo on paper, at the time at least, but Roy and kd rework his classic into a gorgeous duet featuring two of the greatest vocalists that ever walked the earth. Too bad this video features scenes from that stupid video where Jon Cryer went undercover as a high school student.

 


#7 "Solid As A Rock" (1984)
by Ashford and Simpson

Another underrated guilty pleasure that deserves recognition. You can just feel the love, admiration, and respect between this husband and wife singer songwriter team. They're one of the greatest songwriting couples in America. When you're in New York, make sure you visit their restaurant, Sugar Bar.

 

 

 

#6 "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)" (1979)
by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer

Admittedly, this song is about as cheesy and overproduced as it gets, but damn if I don't love it. It's a disco classic full of so much girl power, that The Spice Girls should pay royalties.

 


#5 "You're The One That I Want" (1978)
by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John

John Farrar wrote this catchy tune for the Grease movie, and it still holds up. The movie footage that accompanies it sells it even more. I love how Sandy become a slut to keep Danny, while Danny becomes a square to keep her, but once he sees her in that insanely sexy skintight black number, the slut side wins! It's a tale as old as time.

 


#4 "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (1967)
by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

Written by Ashford and Simpson (who's "Solid" also graces our list), this is just one of those duets that you can't help but sing along to.

 


#3 "Nuthin' But A G Thing" (1992)
by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg

Ignore the fact that this is simply just one of the best rap songs ever recorded, but as rap duos go, this is one of the tightest line trading performances ever captured. Their styles are different but blend together perfectly on top of Leon Haywood's gorgeous "I Wanna Do Something Freaky To You" sample.

 

 

 

#2 "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" (1937)
by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

Corny for sure, but it's the best kind of catchy corny ever. Those Gershwin boys sure could write a song and if you can get Fred and Ginger to sing it, you've hit a home run, introducing it in the film Shall We Dance. And they could sing it while dancing on roller skates! Now they're both gone and all we have is Britney Spears dancing in her own sick while she sings duets with her nasty Sarlacc vagina to the paparazzi. Oh how I long for the golden days.

 

 

#1 "Summertime" (1957)
by Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong

Could this song possibly be any better? Could there even be a duet greater than this? You get Ella Fitzgerald, the greatest female vocalist to ever walk the planet, paired with Louie Armstrong, who is easily in the greatest Jazz entertainers short short list as well. This duet is the musical equivalent of Leonardo DaVinci and Rembrandt painting together (while Thomas Kinkade cries silently in the corner as the effects of cyanide make his life slowly ebb away). Porgy and Bess never sounded so good. If you don't like this song, you're likely a Scientologist who's not allowed to feel real emotion. This is the duet that duets dream about being when they sleep at night. This is the song that's beaming through space and will get intercepted by aliens who'll decide not to invade us because even a planet as fucked up as ours is worth saving if it can produce beauty such as this.

 

-Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com

 

 

g

 

retroCRUSH PALS

THE SNEEZE

MYSTERY ISLAND

COCKEYED

JOHNNY RYAN

SEW DARN CUTE

STEVE WEISSMAN

FUN CHICKEN

LEFT-OVER BLOG

SOMETHING AWFUL

FARK

I-MOCKERY

LUCY HELL

POPCRUSH BLOG

buzznet