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.