My 13 Favorite Duets Of All Time

Categories: Music

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"It takes two, baby," as Marvin & Tammi once sang.

So here are my all-time favorite twosomes -- musically, that is.


(13) "Cruisin'," Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis, 2000

This cover version of the Smokey Robinson hit came from a rotten movie about karaoke, but it grabbed me, with Gwynnie's creamy vocals going with Huey's rasp in a way that really captivates.

Extra weirdness was added by the fact that Huey played Gwynnie's father in the movie, which was directed by her real father! Weird!


(12) "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," Diana Ross & the Supremes with the Temptations, 1969

Motown's blockbuster acts combined for a sultry, sexy, and playful number one. I wished they'd crammed even more Motown stars in there. Martha & the Vandellas would have rocked on backups.


(11) (tie) "Enough Is Enough (No More Tears)," "It's Raining Men," "Heaven Knows"

When disco duetted, it was fieeee-rce, not to mention really danceable. These three have become historic (yet fizzy) gay anthems. Thank you, Barbra, Donna, the Weather Girls, and the guy who sang "Heaven Knows" with Donna.


(10) "Total Eclipse of the Heart", Bonnie Tyler and whoever sang, "Turn around bright eyes," 1983

This elaborate Jim Steinman rock opera posing as a nervous breakdown pretending to be a song is basically a duet -- and a winner. It's so throbbing and over-the-top and ultimately resigned, and I'm always completely wasted by the end of it. Every now and then I fall apart.


(9) "Broken Strings," Nelly Furtado and James Morrison, 2008

Great harmonies add up to a stirring emotional blend that really cooks. This should have been a bigger hit in the U.S. I've played it on YouTube so many times it's starting to come on automatically.


(8) "Islands in the Stream," Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, 1983

I had to include something country! Besides, two friends and I won a karaoke prize singing this to harmonic perfection.


(7) "Highly Prized Possession" by Brian and Brenda Russell, 1977

Anything this then-married R&B duo did together soared, but the deeply felt "Possession" was their peak tune, their honey-drenched vocals melding for a steamy and sincere casserole of sound. I've kept my old turntable mainly so I can play their LP!


(6) "Something Stupid," Frank and Nancy Sinatra

A love song done by a real father and daughter duo was an even weirder idea than the fake Gwynnie/Huey mash-up years later. But these two legends let it rip with their simply and goofily affecting duet. Ask me someday about my dirty cover version.


(5) "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me," Aretha Franklin and George Michael, 1987

Two divas having fun with a neo-Motown meshing that was pure solid gold. This was surely the new WHAM.


(4) "Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth," Bing Crosby and David Bowie, 1977

The all-time weirdo combination, this duet works due to the sheer sweetness of the performance that was mercifully done without any extra irony laid on. Bowie reportedly did it to make his career more accessible and to please his mum, whereas no one's sure if Bing even knew who Bowie was. The unexpectedly touching result was seen on a TV special that's seared into my brain forever.


(3) "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart," Elton John and Kiki Dee, 1976

Even as a youngish thing, I knew Kiki Dee wasn't going to break Elton's heart. I had a very strong feeling that no romantic complications were imminent between them at all. But I simply adored the pert, bouncy interplay between them and have always found this record to be like cotton candy for the soul. There's something so damned catchy and reassuring about it; it uplifts every time.


(2) "You're All I Need to Get By," Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, 1968

Or anything by these two. They clicked and commingled and rocked and elevated everything they touched. They were as pizzazzy and refreshing as the sweet morning dew. They were the Gable & Lombard of pop.


And my fave ...

(1) "I Got You Babe", Sonny and Cher, 1965

The flat-out, heart-on-the-sleeve honesty and openness of their delivery is heart-wrenching and timeless, and when Cher does her "And when I'm sad, you're a clown" bit, I get goosebumps.

To me, they're still -- and always -- a duet.

You?

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39 comments
bsomers
bsomers

Barbra and . . . Barbra singing her sublime "One Less Bell to Answer/A House Is Not a Home" that even the idiots on GLEE cannot ruin.

Sausalito
Sausalito

Sisters are Doing It For Themselves--Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin

Reunited--Peaches and Herb

Shake Your Groove Thing--Peaches and Herb

Guilty--Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb

latenitebump
latenitebump

patti labelle and michael mcdonald          on my ownrick james and teena marie                       fire and desiredebbie harry and kermit the frog             the rainbow connectionjermaine jackson pia zadora         when the rain begins to fallnina hagen lena lovich                        don´t kill the animalsboy george helen terry                              that´s the waypeter gabriel kate bush                           don´t give upsyreeta billie preston                            with you i´m born againbrandy  monica                                          the boy is minemillie jackson elton john                                   act of wartina turner barry white                              in your wildest dreams

Guest
Guest

Well the best ever is "You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore" although her duet with Donna Summer is pretty hot too.

try Morrissey and Chrissie Hynde - Shame Is The Name

Dapperdan
Dapperdan

And you're one asshole. If Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer had called themselves the Soul Gals would it suddenly not be a duet?

The "Girls" in Weather Girls suggests that there's more than one person singing.

Got it, retard??

Kevin
Kevin

"Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" --Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams

"Slow Twistin'" -- Chubby Checker & Dee Dee Sharp

 

Missystanwyck
Missystanwyck

I love the album Chubby Checker did with Bobby Rydell. A lot of great duets in there.

HollandReader
HollandReader

Where is the Love?  Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway

Samsonite
Samsonite

Stevie Nicks duets:

Whenever I Call You Friend

Stop Draggin My Heart Around

F. Packer
F. Packer

MM!

How did "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" not make your list?

mjm
mjm

my faves:-anything by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway & Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell-Baby Come to Me (Patti Austin and James Ingram)-Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart (Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye)-Endless Love (Diana Ross and Lionel Richie and the remake by Mariah Carey and Luther Vandross)-Beauty and the Beast (Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson)-A Whole New World (Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle)-I Knew Him So Well (Whitney and Cissy Houston)-Two Hearts (Stephanie Mills and Teddy Pendergrass)-After All (Cher and Peter Cetera)-Hold Me (Whitney Houston and Teddy Pendergrass)-It Isn't It Wasn't It Ain't Never Gonna Be (Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston)-A Little Bit More (Melba Moore and Freddie Jackson)-Give U My Heart (Toni Braxton and Babyface)-Can't We Fall in Love Again (Phyllis Hyman and Michael Henderson)-U Got the Look (Prince and Sheena Easton)-Somewhere Out There (Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram)

HowardB
HowardB

My Favorite Duet Is Leather & Lace

Musto
Musto

A friend tells me Rory Dodd sang the counterpoint to Bonnie in "Total Eclipse of The Heart." I think Rory's a genius.

Mark
Mark

Roberta Flack & Donnie Hathoway / the closer I get to you

Jack
Jack

The KLF & Tammy Wynette - Justified & Ancient 

R WEY
R WEY

BARBARA DICKSON & ELAINE PAGE - I KNOW HIM SO WELL

Barkley
Barkley

"It's Raining Men" isn't a duet.  The guy who sang with Donna on "Heaven Knows" is from the group Brooklyn Dreams, which her husband was in, Joe Esposito.  I like the cheesy yet powerful "Don't Fall In Love With a Dreamer" Kim Carnes & Kenny Rogers.

Wings
Wings

It's Raining Men is indeed a duet by the Weather Girls. They trade off on dialogue at the beginning and then sing the song as a duet, either in harmony or in solo bits.

Barkley
Barkley

But they're one artist, The Weather Girls. 

Barkley
Barkley

Without having to resort to name calling, "It's Raining Men" is not billed as a duet, they're a singing group, one artist.   

Dapperdan
Dapperdan

And you're one asshole.

If Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer had called themselves the Soul Gals, would that suddenly not make it a duet?

The "Girls" in weather Girls suggests that there's more than one person singing.

Got it, retard? Don't you ever get tired of being so stupid?

mYtY
mYtY

ozzy osbourne n lita ford- close my eyes forever

CMG
CMG

I believe it was Meat Loaf who was 'Turn Around Bright Eyes'.

Speaking of which, Ellen Foley and Meat Loaf with 'Paradise by the Dashboard Light'.

Other favorites:'Fairytale of New York', Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan'Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart', Tegan and Tom Gabel'Under Pressure', David Bowie and Freddy Mercury 'The Girl from North Country', Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan

mYtY
mYtY

Seperate Live- Phil collins and marilyn martinalmost paradise- mike reno and ann wilson

Dfgertfbg
Dfgertfbg

Why people like the crapfest that is "Cruisin'" is beyond me. I know I'm in the minority here as the song is immensely popular. Never could understand why this random piece of dreck got picked from the huge pile of lame music and has experienced such wide appeal. Bad karaoke is right!

Melinda9
Melinda9

It sounds like two zombies are singing it.

Jonster
Jonster

I've always been partial to Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz's rendition of "Friendship" where they show up in the same gown and begin ripping pieces of it off each other. 

If they ever black your eyes, put me wise.If they ever cook your goose, turn me loose.If they ever put a bullet through your brain... I'll complain.It's friendship, friendship, just a perfect blendship.When other friendships have been forgit,Ours will still be it.

Ulu
Ulu

Yo probably left it out because you were thinking more of recorded duets than televised ones.

Musto
Musto

I left out my all-time favorite duet by some weird Freudian mistake. Judy and Barbra singing "Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again."

MBC
MBC

I'm sure I'm not the first person to correct you: "It Takes Two" was Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston--not Tammi Terrell.

billyjoe
billyjoe

"Elusive Dreams," a duet by Tammy Wynette and David Houston (NOT George Jones) that became a No. 1 hit in October 1967.

Lost Weekend
Lost Weekend

Two great duets, both captured on TV/video:

Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond performing "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" on the Grammy Awards.  

Barbra Streisand (again) with Judy Garland performing "Get Happy / Happy Days Are Here Agaian."  True electricity between two greats.  Replicated (even down to the outfits) on "Glee", some 45+ years later....

That's entertainment!

James
James

couldn't agree with you more. That Streisand/Diamond duet on the Grammy's has a permanent place on my iPod

Esther Hoffman Howard
Esther Hoffman Howard

And "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" by Babs and Neil--excruciating college break-up angst in the late 70s!

music1028
music1028

LOVE Sonny and Cher....Can't wait for Cher/Gaga duet!

Whiplash
Whiplash

"Deep Purple"--Nino Temple and April Stevens. And Dusty Springfield and the Pet Shop Boys--"What Have I Done To Deserve This?"

But I love your list. Great choices and very personal.

Carmel
Carmel

I have a weakness for Barbra and Barry Gibb doing "Guilty."

And Travolta and Olivia Newton John on "You're The One That I Want'. But I was a hot young thing in the 70s so that might be why.

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