Alex Turner picks his duetting partners carefully, that’s for sure. Miles Kane is the only properly long term repeat collaborator of his, as he tends to only make music with his good mates. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t worked with a whole host of other musicians. Here’s a history of Alex Turner’s classiest collaborations.
The Pun Lovin Criminals – ‘Reptilia’
We can just about forgive Alex Turner for the outrageous ‘Pun Lovin Criminals’ names, seeing as the end result was the coming together of Turner and Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange aka Lightspeed Champion aka Solange’s bezzie mate. Teaming up at London’s seminal indie disco White Heat, they ripped through a ragged cover of The Strokes ‘Reptilia’. Now that’s what we call a super group.
Richard Hawley & Alex Turner ‘The Only Ones Who Know’
When Richard Hawley introduces Alex Turner to the Union Chapel stage as “the lounge lizard himself”, he might as well be assembling a modern day Rat Pack. Performing together before he discovered the joys of Black and White wax, here a floppy haired Turner joins Hawley for a delicate, seductive version of this ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ track. As steel guitar wails in the background, this is pretty much the moment when Turner decides to hightail it to the hairdressers to ask for a ‘Hawley’.
Queens Of The Stone Age – ‘If I Had A Tail’
Alex Turner’s presence on QOTSA’s last album, ‘…Like Clockwork’, is small but perfectly formed. Not only did he name the track ‘Kalopsia’, but he contributes backing vocals to arguably the best – and definitely the sexiest – track on the album. Mark Lanegan and Nick Oliveri can also be heard on the song, and drums comes from a certain Dave Grohl, making for one of the meanest, moodiest boy band gangs in modern recording history. Josh Homme returned the favour by helping out with ‘Knee Socks’ on Arctic Monkeys’ ‘AM’ a few months later. He joined the band onstage for a live version in 2013 at LA’s Wiltern.
There’s nothing quite like the rare treat of seeing Alex Turner and Josh Homme share a stage. So, here’s some footage of what sounds like possible the best gig of the past decade – Arctic Monkeys playing Pappy and Harriets back in 2010, a remote saloon style biker bar in the Joshua Tree desert in California. In matching bad boy jackets, Homme joined Turner at the front of the tiny outdoor stage to croon an almost satanic sounding take on the track. If that wasn’t sinister enough sounding, Alain Johannes joins in the moody fun too.
Arctic Monkeys feat. Dizzee Rascal – ‘Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend’
Debuted live at Glastonbury Festival during their very first Pyramid Stage headline slot back in 2007, this ‘Brianstorm’ b-side is, as Turner modestly says himself by way of introduction, “a cracker”. Arctic Monkeys sole flirtation with the grime world doesn’t see them chucking away their trademarks in favour of a quick cash-in but rather places their pulsing guitar grooves seamlessly alongside Dizzee’s own signature fast-flowing rhymes. An alternate version with more Dizzee and less Turner, called ‘Temptation’, featured on Dizzee’s own ‘Maths and English’.
‘Get Right’ – Miles Kane
Alex Turner and Miles Kane’s bromance needs no introduction. Wearing matching PVC trousers, knocking about as The Last Shadow Puppets and writing screenplays, these two do everything together. Turner showed off his musical all-rounder skills playing bass guitar on their co-write ‘Get Right’, the b-side to last year’s ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’. Turner also helped pen six songs on Kane’s 2011 debut ‘The Colour Of The Trap’ and for a while it seemed like no Arctic Monkeys gig was complete without Kane slipping onstage with his guitar during ‘505’.
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Reverend and the Makers – ‘The Machine’
With Alex Turner adding a definite Midas touch, ‘The Machine’ makes for one of Reverend and the Makers’ finest moments. A fizzy punch of electronic indie, this is taken from the fellow Sheffield sons’ 2007 debut ‘The State of Things’, and sees Turner hollering alongside Jon McClure like a Steel City Kasabian.