Did you ever dream of putting Alicia Keys and Jack White, Madonna and Lil Wayne, 5ive and Queen, in the same studio to record a song together? The answer is no… never in a million years! Strangely and fantastically, some of these collaborations are brilliant. Others just sound utterly bizarre. Prepare for the unexpected while two “worlds” come together to create one “world”… with two dimensions.
Linkin Park, Jay Z & Paul McCartney – “Numb Encore/ Yesterday”
Linkin Park, Jay Z and Paul McCartney came together at the 2006 Grammy Awards to perform a medley of “Numb Encore” and “Yesterday”, a strange collaboration that unexpectedly sounded pretty damn good! Who would have thought that one of the greatest rock bands, one of the greatest rappers of our time, and one of The Beatles, could sound good together? Nobody!
Eminem ft. Elton John – “Stan”
What an unusual collaboration for a duet! The Grammy’s always seem to bring incredible talents together to perform on stage. Here’s yet another brilliant performance at the 2001 Grammy Awards, with Eminem and Elton John joining forces. Eminem was under a lot of media pressure at the time due to his homophobic lyrics and the performance was quite the hype. After finishing their number, the two talents hugged it out on stage and held one another’s hand as a symbol of a unity.
Tony Bennett duet with Dani Martín – “Are You Havin’ Any Fun?”
Strange, right? The mythical Tony Bennett collaborating with one of Latin music’s biggest stars, Dani Martín? Tony Bennett came out with a “Viva Duets” album (2012) to perform his classic songs with the help of some younger stars, including Dani Martín, Marc Anthony, Chayanne and Gloria Estefan. Bennett said in a statement: “Latin music has always been about melody and harmony and a lot of soul, so there was a very close artistic connection with each duet guest. I am absolutely thrilled about the record.” Bennett has recently come out with a “Duet II” album, featuring Lady Gaga, Carrie Underwood and Amy Winehouse. What a brilliant idea for an album!
Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé – “Barcelona”
Barcelona is a single that was released by Queen’s legendary frontman, Freddie Mercury, together with one of the greatest operatic sopranos of all time, Montserrat Caballé. While Caballé’s and Mercury’s vocals are backed by a full orchestra, the song reflects Mercury’s love for opera and the ways in which the genre has influenced his singing and songwriting. The song was one of Mercury’s greatest solo hits and reached No8 in the UK Singles Chart. Curiously, it was Caballé that approached Mercury and summoned him for the task of producing the song and submitting it as the theme for the 1992 Olympics. It’s a magical duet. Bring on the goosebumps!
Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy – “Whatzupwitu?”
This song is definitely one of the “weirdest, most terrible-yet-wonderful songs of the 90s.” The lyrics are right up MJ’s street, about saving the world. But why did he jump on Eddie Murphy’s album to collaborate on this song? Despite the music video’s title as “breakthrough” video, MTV deemed it the third worst music video in history. Indeed, it’s a “magical freak show”, with animated hearts floating around MJ’s head and music notes flying around Eddie Murphy’s, while Murphy imitates MJ’s classic dance moves. Enjoy!
Flaming Lips and Ke$ha: “You Must Be Upgraded”
In 2012, Flaming Lips and Ke$ha got together to record “You Must Be Upgraded” for the album Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, after Ke$sha texted Wayne Coyne (frontman) to see if she could jump on their album and collaborate with them. Not only did they accept, they had planned to release a full album together entitled, Lip$ha. Unfortunately, though, the album release was mysteriously called off in November 2013, after Cole tweeted: “As of now… sadly there will be no Lip$ha… I can’t say why… it is sad”.
Alicia Keys and Jack White: “Another Way to Die”
The White Stripes’ Jack White and R&B singer Alicia Keys got together to perform the Bond theme song for Quantum of Solace (2008). Keys thought that by combining The White Stripes’ “very raw, very cut and dry” sound with hers, they could do “something really interesting that mixes rock and soul together, blues and emotion, and it could be really touching.” Time Magazine said that apart from having “no audible chemistry” and “no chorus”, “the lo-fi guitar fuzz suits Bond about as well as a rented tux.” Do we love it or hate it?
Nelly and Tim McGraw: “Over and Over”
In 2004, Nelly and country legend Tim McGraw paired up to collaborate on their hit song “Over and Over”, which topped the UK charts and reached the top ten in 11 other countries. Nelly expressed he wanted to work with McGraw because “he’s badass, he’s got game and he’s got a fine bitch!” – a comment McGraw responded to with: “that’s what Nelly said and I had to respect him for that.” What’s more, McGraw “couldn’t wait to work with him”. This song summons so many memories – we love it!
Madonna and Lil Wayne: “Revolver”
This collaboration is pretty weird and doesn’t make any sense, but it’s actually quite good! “Revolver” featured on Madonna’s greatest hits compilation “Celebration”(2009). The single release included remixes by David Guetta and Afrojack, which won the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording. The lyrics are about love and weapons, with a chorus that reads: “My love’s a revolver”. The song became controversial after the 2012 Aurora shootings, as the lyrics glamorise weapons. The single reached number four on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs in the US.
5ive and Queen: “We Will Rock You”
Did this actually happen? 5ive, the UK’s biggest boyband (at the time) covered Queen’s famous song “We Will Rock You” for their second studio album “Invincible” (1999). The song itself featured two members of Queen – Brian May (guitarist) and Roger Taylor (drums). The song charted at No1 in the UK Singles Chart and became 5ive’s second No1 single and their ninth consecutive top hit. Let me tell you that this collaboration is quite original.
Kanye West and Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver): “Lost in the World”
Kanye featured some interesting guests on his “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” album. Bon Iver was by far the most unexpected and, even more unexpectedly, it turned out to be one of the best collaborations on the album. Justin Vernon creates a great atmosphere on the track, with his soft and emotional vocals that somehow blend in really well with Kanye’s rap verses. Indeed, according to Alex Denney (NME), their performance works to “quite brilliant effect… it frames Kanye’s inner demons in a universal way, recasting Vernon’s semi-mythical woodland retreat as his own cipher for spiritual replenishment.”
Norah Jones and Dave Grohl: “Virginia Moon”
The gorgeous Norah Jones teamed up with Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters for her 2010 “Featuring” album to record the beautiful Bossa Nova ballad “Virginia Moon”. Her soothing tone fits Grohl’s soft, raw voice like a glove.
Snoop Lion and Miley Cyrus – “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks”
The result of this collaboration is pretty strange. The pair teamed up in 2013 to record the lead single for Snoop’s twelfth studio album “Reincarnated”. The song gathered 1 million streams on its first day of release. The song is a tribute to their loved ones who they have lost and is also about smoking weed. The lyrics read: “Tonight there’s gonna be a whole lotta smoke in the air/ Blow it hard for the ones who ain’t there”. The music video highlights life’s ups and downs – a subject the pair sure knows a little about.
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