She’s a fickle mistress, show business, so when your agent suggests collaborating with another musical artist, it’s best to agree. Even if the resulting tunes aren’t a success, at least you’ll go down in history by making musical magic with your stylistic opposite. You won’t find the predictable parings of Sonny and Cher, Hall and Oates or even Britney and Madonna in this list – it’s reserved strictly for duets that had the public saying “wha?!”
10. Ted Nugent and Meat Loaf – Free For All
One is a larger-than-life singer named after a popular dinner-time meal. One is a Detroit-born hard-rock guitarist. Together, they collaborated on a whole album, with Meat singing lead vocals. Stepping away from the glam-rock, high-powered chart hits, “Free For All” was a distinctly more technical and instrument-based experiment from the “Bat Out of Hell” singer. Nugent remained pleased as punch with his decision after the album went Platinum from rave reviews.
9. James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti – It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World
These two world-famous artists couldn’t be more different. African-American James liked drugs, women and soul, whereas Italian Luciano liked food, charity work and opera. Yet, this pair, teamed up with a string orchestra, produced a breath-taking rendition of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” during a “Pavarotti and Friends” concert on May 28 2002.
8. Aerosmith and Run-DMC – Walk This Way
This oft-covered track was originally a hit for the Aerosmith boys back in early 1977, but in 1986, American rap group Run–D.M.C created a version with guest vocals by Steven Tyler. The track was seen as a huge breakthrough in combining rap and rock in the popular charts, and the song’s legacy continues to this day with it being featured on hit game “Guitar Hero.” Other stars to have jumped on the “Walk This Way” bandwagon include Fergie, Nelly, Britney Spears, *NSYNC and Mary J. Blige.
7. Axl Rose, Elton John and Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
This karaoke classic managed to unite not two, but three musical greats as part of a performance in the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert in 1992. However, this wasn’t the only time the British hat-donning diva and the rough and ready American had joined forces in the name of music. In 1992, the pair also performed Guns N’ Roses’ smash hit, “November Rain”.
6. David Bowie and Mick Jagger / Bing Crosby – Dancing in the Street / Little Drummer Boy
One-blue-eyed Bowie has been around for so long, it doesn’t matter whom he pairs up with – it’ll still be successful. This includes “Dancing in The Street”, the track made in conjunction with rubber-lipped Brit-rocker, Mick Jagger, which shot to number one in 1985. However, this collaboration generated more than money – it also got the cogs of the rumor mill in full turn when bisexual Bowie’s wife insinuated the pair had made more than sweet music together. Luckily, no such rumors were present when everybody’s favorite Rat Pack rogue teamed up with Bowie to sing Christmas carols on TV. Their performance of “Little Drummer Boy” was subsequently voted as one of the 25 most memorable musical moments of 20th century television by “TV Guide”.
5. Jay-Z and Linkin Park – A whole album
This ongoing teaming still confuses nu-metallers and hip-hoppers everywhere. Rock and rap fans suddenly had to reevaluate when the über producer & former Def Jam CEO took a teen angst band from California and made “Collision Course”. The album was the first to shoot to number one of the Billboard 200 since Alice in Chains’ “Jar of Flies” in 1994
4. Ozzy Osbourne and Miss Piggy – Born to be Wild
The Prince of Darkness and …. A potty-mouthed pink pig puppet. You certainly couldn’t accuse Ozzy Osbourne of being shy when it comes to dodgy duets. In addition to this parody, which appeared on the 1995 album “Kermit Unplugged”, Ozzy has also collaborated with Primus, Slash and of course, his daughter, Kelly – who fortunately, considering her image overhaul, won’t be confused with Miss Piggy any longer.
3. Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson – The Girl is Mine / Say Say Say
Michael Jackson: another Prince – this time the Price of Pop, and another shameless collaborator. Wacko Jacko’s crooning counterparts include Carlos Santana, Stevie Wonder, Patti Austin and siblings Jermaine and Janet on separate occasions. These particular tracks, released in 1983 and 1982 respectively, paired up two of music’s best selling artists of all time, with amazingly cheesy results.
2. Celine Dion & R. Kelly
Robert Sylvester Kelly, AKA R. Kelly, managed to resurrect his flagging career after those allegations, by collaborating with the French-Canadian songstress that everybody loves to hate. The single, which was released in 1998, reached a rather impressive number one in the Billboard hot 100, as well as 12 weeks at number one on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks. Mind you, Celine was no stranger to that kind of controversy – she eventually married her childhood manager, René Angélil in 1994.
1. Eminem & Elton John – Stan
Publicly-declared “faggot hater” Eminem shocked both his and Elton’s fans when they performed “Stan” together at the 2001 Grammy Awards. The decision raised eyebrows in the gay community as well as rap and hip-hop fans, who deemed it hypocritical, even though many others saw it as a milestone against prejudice. Eminem, real name Marshall, further quashed his homophobic reputation in his film, “8 Mile”, where his character defended a gay colleague.