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Posts Tagged ‘Rihanna’

  1. Eric Burdon & War:  Eric Burdon rose to fame in the early to mid-1960s as the lead singer of the British Invasion band, The Animals (House of the Rising Sun, It’s My Life…).  And though their sound was solidly rooted in rhythm and blues, few could have forecast his re-emergence in 1970, fronting the California Funk band, War.  Their classic, “Spill the Wine” was an unprecedented stew of funk, psychedelia, and beat poetry.  Over fifty years later, it still defies categorization.
  2. Bing Crosby & David Bowie:  The contrast between 1940s Crooner, Bing Crosby, and 70s Glam Rocker, David Bowie couldn’t have been more dramatic, and it remains unclear who thought their collaboration might be a good idea.  Even less likely, was the selection of a children’s Christmas song as the vehicle for their duet.  None the less, their medley of Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth created a memorable moment, when two iconic artists from differing generations came together in a completely unexpected way.  Crosby would pass away in the weeks that followed their session.
  3. Carly Simon & Mick Jagger:  Though Jagger’s backup vocals on the Simon classic, “You’re So Vain” aren’t substantial, they are memorable.  And given his iconic counterculture status during the 1971 recording, his participation as a backup singer for the Pop Chanteuse seemed highly unlikely.
  4. Michael Jackson & Eddie Van Halen:  Despite the huge success of the Jackson 5, Michael’s four solo projects for the Motown label were far less celebrated.  That all changed in 1979, as Jackson switched to the Epic label, and worked with Producer, Quincy Jones, on his breakthrough album, “Off the Wall”.  It was Jones who suggested the inclusion of a “rocker” for the follow-up album, and when they approached Eddie Van Halen, he happily jumped in.  The resulting, “Beat It” sold over 8 million singles, while the “Thriller” album went on to sell over 50 million units, making this one of the most successful songs of all-time.
  5. Aerosmith & Run DMC:  It’s hard to remember that there was once a time when the Rock and Hip-Hop worlds didn’t substantially intersect, but this was the song that most prominently broke down that barrier.  At the time of it’s release, such a collaboration was unthinkable, but within a few short years, the air waves were filled with rap/rock tunes.
  6. Johnny Cash & Rick Rubin:  Rick Rubin made his name in the 1980s, as the cofounder of Def Jam Records, and as a Producer of Hip-Hop artists like LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys and Run DMC.  Later in the decade he went on to produce numerous Hard Rock / Heavy Metal bands as well.  But it was his collaboration with the legendary Country artist, Johnny Cash that ultimately caught everyone off guard.  While it may have seemed like a mismatch on paper, the records they created indicate otherwise.
  7. Stevie Nicks & Prince:  On the heels of the wildly successful Fleetwood Mac album, “Rumours”, Stevie Nicks launched her solo career in 1981 with the multi-platinum album, “Bella Donna”.  And as she prepared for her follow-up record (1983s “Wild at Heart”), she found inspiration in the form of the Prince classic, “Little Red Corvette”.  Borrowing from both the melody and sound, she created the foundation of her hit single, “Stand Back”.  Though it was a marked change from her grittier rock/folk sound, it proved to be equally successful.  In acknowledgement of her source material, she split the songwriter credits with Prince, and even managed to get him to play some keyboards on the track.
  8. Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole:  On the surface, there is nothing unusual about a father-daughter duet, especially when both are successful artists, but what makes this collaboration so unique is that it took place 25 years after the father’s death.  Natalie Cole was only 15 years old when her father, Nat King Cole passed away from lung cancer (1965), but thanks to the marvels of modern technology, their duet on “Unforgettable” resulted in the 1991 Grammys for Song, Record and Album of the Year.
  9. Kanye West, Rihanna & Paul McCartney:  This unlikely partnership (i.e. FourFive Seconds) began as a songwriting collaboration between West and McCartney, and further evolved with West’s involvement in the production of Rihanna’s album.  Though a bit of a departure for all three artists, it proved to be highly successful.  Ironically, many younger fans had no idea who Paul McCartney was.
  10. Lil NAS X & Billy Ray Cyrus:  The melding of Country music with Rap music hasn’t necessarily been a winning combination, so there wasn’t much reason to believe that a little-known rapper, and a largely forgotten country singer would do much to change that.  But “Old Town Road” went on to become one of the most successful singles of all time.

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