The Late Movies: 10 Weird Duets

Natalie Cole and her dead father. Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Eminem and Elton John. These notably weird duets shocked and (usually) entertained us, but there are plenty more odd musical couplings out there. Here are 10 of our favorites.

1. Nelly and Tim McGraw

When hip-hop star Nelly and country singer Tim McGraw teamed up in 2004 for "Over and Over," off Nelly's album Suit, the song soared to the top of Billboard's Top 40 chart within just four weeks of its release after debuting at the number 7 spot. This marked the largest position jump to number 1, tying Nelly with Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey for quickest rise to the top spot. Two singers apparently were friendly before the collaboration, but when Nelly's people called McGraw to ask for his vocals on Nelly's country song, McGraw responded, "There ain't nothing country about it!"

2. David Bowie and Marianne Faithfull

As her career and her personal life declined, singer-songwriter Marianne Faithfull pulled back from the public spotlight. However, in 1973, she paired with David Bowie to cover Sonny Bono's "I Got You Babe." Bowie and Faithfull briefly dated in the early 1970s, but their relationship ended well before this performance on NBC. The results are ... interesting.

3. Bruce Willis and the Pointer Sisters

Before finding stardom in action movies, in 1987, Bruce Willis recorded a moderately successful album called The Return of Bruno. The lead single "Respect Yourself," a cover of the Staple Sisters' original, featured vocals from June Pointer of the Pointer Sisters, who all appeared in the video. The song peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

4. Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue

Australian singer, songwriter and all-around badass Nick Cave collaborated with pop star Kylie Minogue on 1995's "Where the Wild Roses Grow," a musical dialogue between a murderer and his victim. Cave reportedly wrote the song with Minogue in mind and it went on to become the most successful single for Cave's band The Bad Seeds, reaching number 3 in Norway, the top 5 in Australia and the top 20 in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and New Zealand.

5. Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Recorded over a weekend in April 1999, Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra's two-disc album S&M features performances of Metallica songs with additional symphonic accompaniment, composed by Michael Kamen, who also conducted the concert.

6. Ben Folds and William Shatner

The former frontman of Ben Folds Five and the former captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise hooked up for Fear of Pop, an experimental recording project. Their first (and only) album, Volume 1, was released in 1998. The album is considered Ben Folds' first solo project, but the band included other musicians, notably Caleb Southern and John Mark Painter. Shatner provided vocals on "In Love."

7. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Phil Collins

Phil Collins' 1985 song "Take Me Home" got a hip-hop upgrade in 2002, when he teamed up with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on their album Thug World Order. The song features verses by the rap group, with the chorus sung by Collins. The song was panned in the U.S., but received so much praise in the U.K. that Bone Thugs named Collins an honorary member and dubbed him "Chrome Bone."

8. Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney

Although it's well-known that this pair had already collaborated on "The Girl Is Mine," from Michael Jackson's Thriller album, they also worked together on "Say Say Say" for Paul McCartney's Pipes of Peace. "Say Say Say" was recorded at Abbey Road Studios between May and September 1981

9. P. Diddy and Jimmy Page

In 1998, Godzilla got a movie makeover thanks to director Roland Emmerich. The flick's song, "Come With Me," was performed by rapper P. Diddy and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, who samples Zeppelin's classic "Kashmir."

10. Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Cabelle

Spanish opera singer Montserrat Cabelle partnered with Freddie Mercury of Queen to record "Barcelona" in 1988. The pair became friends when Mercury appeared on a Spanish talk show and mentioned wanting to meet the famous songstress. "Barcelona" was later named the 1992 Olympic anthem, though the song was not performed at the ceremonies because Cabelle refused to sing it with anyone else after Mercury's death from AIDS earlier that year.


The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.


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