25 Stunning Live Collaborations

It’s like the song says: it takes two to make a thing go right. So here’s a run-down of some of our favourite live hook-ups ever. Words: Rebecca Schiller

35 ‘Little Baby Nothing’ (1992)

James Dean Bradfield: “I tried to write something that The E Street Band would play.”

Nine Inch Nails feat. David Bowie – ‘Hurt’


David Bowie made an appearance during NIN’s 1995 Dissonance tour, teaming up with Trent Reznor for this gorgeous rendition of ‘Hurt’, which was captured on the band’s 1997 live DVD ‘Closure’. The performance is drenched with so much raw emotion that we can only imagine what would come out of a full split-bill show.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band feat. Tom Morello – ‘The Ghost Of Tom Joad’

It’s a collab that no one could have anticipated – and what a pleasant surprise it was. If for nothing else, watch the 2008 video to hear Bruce call the Rage Against The Machine man “Tommy”.

Florence And The Machine Feat. Dizzee Rascal – ‘You Got The Dirtee Love’

Recorded at the 2010 Brit Awards, this performance proves that rap and a dozen or so harps can make a beautiful pairing – which can only perfected by the confetti that falls from the sky near the end of the song.

Muse feat. U2’s The Edge – ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’


One of the most memorable moments of last year’s Glastonbury Festival was Muse’s pairing with The Edge. What better way for one of the biggest festivals in the UK to celebrate its 40th birthday than with a supermassive night-time rendition of U2’s classic song from a tight red trouser-donning Matt Bellamy?

Arcade Fire feat. David Bowie – ‘Wake Up’

There’s only so much talent you can pack onto one tiny stage – and this one was nearly overflowing with it. It’s just flat-out amazing. Plus, it must be weird for Bowie to have the most normal haircut on stage for once. This was performed during the Fashion Rocks event at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall in 2005.

Michael Jackson feat. Slash – ‘Billie Jean’

What do you get when you cross the King Of Pop with GnR’s curly-haired, top hat-wearing man? Brilliance. That moment when MJ is standing in a cloud of smoke, dressed in all white, as Slash is slamming away on his guitar – it will literally give you chills. First aired at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards.

Rage Against The Machine feat. Cypress Hill – ‘How Could I Just Kill A Man’

In September 2000, RATM invited the song’s original creators on stage, in a perfect blend of old and new. Check out what went down at LA’s Grand Olympic Auditorium. So much rebellion – that musta been one rowdy mosh to have been caught in.

Mark Ronson & The Business INTL feat. Boy George – ‘Somebody To Love’

So this one wasn’t a brand new, unexpected collab, as the two recorded the original song together. But how could you deny such suave dancing a spot on this list? This one was performed at Belfast Waterfront in September 2010.

Coldplay feat. Alicia Keys – ‘Clocks’

This Summer Sonic performance is simply adorable. Chris Martin calls Ms. Keys “the most beautiful woman on the planet” (except for his wife) and the two of them proceed to share a bench and play the piano together.


Nirvana feat. The Meat Puppets – ‘Plateau’

Part of Nirvana’s 1993 ‘MTV Unplugged In New York’ session, we saw Kurt Cobain joke around with and perform with The Meat Puppets – who he was a personal fan of. Take a look at the two bands playing the Puppets’ 1984 song ‘Plateau’.


The Specials feat. Amy Winehouse – ‘Ghost Town’

We’ve missed Amy Winehouse. Let’s watch this video of her dancing (and singing a bit) to refresh our memories. She joined ska legends The Specials on stage to sing their hits ‘Ghost Town’ and ‘You’re Wondering Now’ at V Festival 2009, and it drew one massive crowd.

The Strokes feat. Elvis Costello – ‘Taken For A Fool’

The Strokes showed off their newest material earlier this month in NYC at Madison Square Garden, where they were joined by Elvis Costello (who also played a support slot earlier in the night). Apparently Julian Casablancas dropped jokes throughout the night that Elvis was joining the band – we wouldn’t complain.


Alex Turner feat. Richard Hawley – ‘Only Ones Who Know’

Richard Hawley and Alex Turner performed this stunning version of the 2007 Arctic Monkeys song ‘Only Ones Who Know’ at the Little Noise Sessions in November 2009. It’s a beautiful, classy merger of two musical legends.


Kings Of Leon feat. Eddie Vedder – ‘Slow Night, So Long’

Back when KOL were still scruffy country boys, they joined forces with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder at the 2007 Rock Werchter Festival in Belgium. It sounded amazing, and Vedder fit right in with his lengthy unkempt ‘do.

Lykke Li and Miike Snow – ‘Knocked Up’

Here’s one more Kings Of Leon tune, performed by the highly unexpected pairing of Lykke Li and Miike Snow. This was recorded at the Sound Academy in Toronto in August 2009. Not the greatest quality, and you’ll have to put up with some annoying background screams, but they prove that a little Swedish gal and a hairy Swedish guy can take on KOL like champs. Lykke’s dance moves aren’t too shabby, either.

The Big Pink feat. Lily Allen– ‘Dominos’/’You’re So Vain’

At last year’s Shockwaves NME Awards 2011, The Big Pink and Lily Allen performed this mash-up, and it was a great send-off from the music world for Miss Allen. Not interested? At least watch it for the pole-dancing robots.

Noel Gallagher feat. Paul Weller – ‘Talk Tonight’

Oasis and Paul Weller. Need we say more? The Modfather played the keyboard as the Gallagher bro performed his band’s 1995 song on Channel 4’s ‘The White Room’ that same year. They look so youthful.

Ray Davies feat. Mumford And Sons – ‘Days/This Time Tomorrow’

Ray Davies of The Kinks joined Mumford And Sons on stage at the folk band’s London Hammersmith Apollo show in October 2010, and they teamed up again in a much more intimate setting to record this official video. This collaboration was part of the Kinks’ frontman’s collaboration LP, ‘See My Friends’.

The Libertines feat. Mick Jones – ‘Time For Heroes’

It’s a bit shaky, but it kind of distracts you from the fact that Pete Doherty is stumbling around on stage and falling off of speakers. The Clash’s Mick Jones showed up at the Libs’ Love Music Hate Racism show at the Astoria in Mach 2004, playing this song, ‘Time For Heroes’, ‘What Katie Did’ and ‘Skag And Bone Man’ with them.

Queens Of The Stone Age feat. Dave Grohl – ‘Avon’

QOTSA had Dave Grohl drumming for them for their Glasto 2002 set. You can catch a few more of their songs from the set on YouTube, but we’ve got this killer performance of ‘Avon’ for you to check out now.


The National feat. Sufjan Stevens and St. Vincent – ‘Afraid of Everyone’

Radio City Music Hall in NYC is a magical place. Throw The National, Sufjan and St. Vincent on stage together and it becomes otherworldly. Here’s a song they performed together in June 2010.


Bjork and PJ Harvey – ‘Satisfaction’

Talk about a powerful angry woman duo. You really, really wouldn’t want to mess with them after watching this. Bjork and PJ took the 1994 BRIT Awards by storm with this Rolling Stones cover. It’s been nearly 20 years since this was recorded, and it still gives us goosebumps.


The Rolling Stones feat. Jack White – ‘Loving Cup’

Here’s another Stones tune for you, this time performed by the Stones themselves, along with Jack White, in October 2006. The band were also joined by Christina Aguilera and Buddy Guy at this NYC Beacon Theater gig – but we’re quite partial to Jack’s musical contribution.


LCD Soundsystem feat. Arcade Fire – ‘North American Scum’

Although LCD’s retirement is still a bit of a raw, sensitive reality for many, we can’t knock the band’s send-off party. Dude knows how to go out with a bang. James Murphy and co were joined by the Canadian Grammy winners at their recent Madison Square Garden goodbye show – and what ensued was one insane fuck off party we wish we were at.

Weezer feat. Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino – ‘Island In The Sun’

The entire world of indie music peed its collective pants of excitement when their favourite modern-day stoner Bethany Cosentino (of Best Coast) joined Weezer to sing ‘Island In the Sun’ at Cali’s Gibson Ampitheatre in November 2010.