As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one. Bringing their relative star powers together and combining forces, these pairs of artists all struck up an incredible chemistry on these 16 intriguing collaborative albums…
Jay-Z and Kanye West, ‘Watch The Throne’: What do you get when you collide two of modern music’s biggest names in the studio? A blockbuster, gossamer hip-hop thrill-ride like no other, that’s what. Confirming their status as rap royalty, Hova and Yeezy filled ‘Watch The Throne’ with some of the biggest hip-hop anthems of recent years, from ‘Otis’ to ‘Niggas In Paris’.
David Byrne and Brian Eno, ‘My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts’:
Eno and Byrne have already proven their mettle as grade A collaborators, but in 1981 the two came together. Named after a 1954 novel, ‘My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts’ is now widely accepted as one of the first records to embrace the possibility of sampling.
St. Vincent and David Byrne, ‘Love This Giant’:
Exploratory, boundary-pushing musical minds David Byrne and Annie Clarke delivered a record more than the sum of its parts on 2012’s ‘Love This Giant’. The Talking Heads man and ‘Strange Mercy’ innovator toured the critically-acclaimed LP extensively and also released a follow up EP ‘Brass Tactics’ of live versions and remixes.
Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, ‘Raising Sand’:
Led Zep singer Robert Plant and country vocalist Alison Krauss’ 2007 joint LP, meanwhile, was met with such acclaim that it won a Grammy for Album of the Year. Meeting in the middle of their disparate styles to produce something subtle and entirely separate, it gave a new lease of life to both.
Franz Ferdinand and Sparks, ‘FFS’:
Franz Ferdinand and Sparks’ recent team up as FFS was a match made in wry, angular heaven. On this year’s self-titled debut, the Scottish indie gang and the eccentric Mael brothers combined forces to create one of 2015’s most playfully silly but still whip-smart LPs. Turns out this town actually is big enough for the both of them.
Eric Clapton and BB King, ‘Riding With The King’:
Forgive the charmingly cheesy title, ‘Riding With The King’ featured two classic vocalists coming together in blues-rock harmony. Yeah, it’s not the most progressive album in the world, but as a lesson in effortless star power, it’s a good one.
The Supremes and The Temptations, ‘Diana Ross and The Supremes Join The Temptations’:
Back in 1968, two of Motown’s biggest stars combined powers for a joint LP of covers and duets. Featuring a classic version of ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ among others, it was a smart move from an iconic label that churned out stars like it was the easiest thing in the world.
Lou Reed and Metallica, ‘Lulu’: One of the most divisive albums in recent music history, Metallica and the late, great Lou Reed’s 2011 collab ‘Lulu’ was loud, long and almost impenetrable in its winding slog of sludge metal guitar and artsy dialogue. David Bowie called it Reed’s “greatest work” but critics dismissed it as a load of absolute tosh. Only time will tell how the record ages.
Bat For Lashes and TOY, ‘Sexwitch’:
Bat For Lashes singer Natasha Khan and East London psych outfit TOY recently unveiled collaborative LP ‘Sexwitch’ – 10 points for the excellent name. Inspired by Khan and producer Dan Carey’s worldly travels, it’s a dark and mystical affair that’s just as evocative as its lusty name.
Drake and Future – What A Time To Be Alive’: September 20, 2015 – what a time, indeed, to be alive. For Drake and Future fans at least. Unveiling the mixtape on his Beats 1 show, Drake’s collab with Future was recorded when they teamed up for a writing spree in Atlanta over just 6 days. Quite a turn-around for the pair, who not so long ago were beefin’.
Brian Eno and Karl Hyde, ‘Someday World’:
Take one experimental, ex-Roxy Music pioneer and add a founding member of Underworld and the result is, er… Reichkuti – the pair’s attempt at melding the work of avant garde composer Steve Reich and Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti. ‘Someday World’ and ‘High Life’ were their two LP attempts at the new genre.
Sunn 0))) and Scott Walker, ‘Soused’:
Seattle metalheads Sunn O))) – big fans of droning, 15-minute epics – and songwriter Scott Walker – author of Walker Brothers’ hits ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’ and ‘Make It Easy On Yourself’ – might not be obvious bedfellows, but their 2014 LP ‘Soused’ proved opposites attract and, sometimes, make some beautifully noisy music.
Wilco and Billy Bragg, ‘Mermaid Avenue’:
Though Wilco and Billy Bragg are the ones actually lending their musical skills to the 1998’s ‘Mermaid Avenue’, there’s an unheard collaborator involved in this one too. All the lyrics on the record were actually previously penned by the late Woodie Guthrie, with Bragg and the band finding the unused words and giving setting them to music.
Jimmy Page and David Coverdale, – ‘Coverdale/ Page’:
For a short period in the early ’90s, Led Zeppelin guitar titan Jimmy Page and David Coverdale – singer of hard rock stalwarts Deep Purple and Whitesnake – joined forces for some predictably riff-heavy tunes. One album – ‘Coverdale/ Page’ – emerged from the collab before the two parted ways.
Linkin Park and Jay Z, ‘Collision Course’: A nu-metal-hip-hop hybrid might not have been the moment that the world has been waiting for, but it’s what the world got in 2004 when Linkin Park and Jay-Z collided with this series of mash-ups. A footnote on both acts’ careers, which later exploded, ‘Collision Course’ might not have aged well but is a pretty fascinating relic of its time.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono, ‘Double Fantasy’:
What better person to collaborate with than your real life other half? A view clearly shared by John and Yoko, who released several experimental records together and solo LPs in tandem over the years. ‘Double Fantasy’, however, was their collaborative peak, as well as Lennon’s final release before his tragic murder in 1980.