Baby, Me and You
Marvin Gaye's career as a solo artist took off in the early '60s, but he found a special magic when he joined forces with fellow Motown star Tammi Terrell on songs like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," which became a hit single 50 years ago. Click through for more on the best duets of classic rock, soul and country.
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1967)
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
The pinnacle achievement of arguably the best soul duo ever, courtesy of another couple making their Motown debut: songwriters Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. The foursome's other hits over the next year included "Your Precious Love," "You're All I Need to Get By" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing." Sadly, Tyrell died from brain cancer in 1970, a month shy of her 25th birthday.
"Don't Know Much" (1989)
Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville
Who knew? The unlikely coupling of a '70s California pop heartthrob and a Nawlins soul singer with a prison record and the voice of an angel produced solid gold. The Grammy-winning "Don't Know Much" peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, but Ronstadt and Neville climbed all the way to the top a year later with another ode to eternal love, "All My Life" by singer-songwriter extraordinaire Karla Bonoff.
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (1976)
Elton John & Kiki Dee
Woo hoo! Nobody knows it, but Sir Elton originally wanted to share the mike with Dusty Springfield, who bowed out due to illness. He then extended the invitation to his frequent opening act, the British blue-eyed soul singer whose only solo hit in the U.S. was 1974's "I've Got the Music in Me."
"Islands in the Stream" (1983)
Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers
Two country superstars crossed streams and crossed over to mainstream success, topping the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Country Songs charts simultaneously for two weeks in the fall of '83.
"Somethin' Stupid" (1967)
Frank & Nancy Sinatra
The Chairman of the Board took his daughter to work one day, with memorable results. The first father-daughter duet to top the Billboard Hot 100 spent four weeks at No. 1 and earned a Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year. It also turned out to be the final No. 1 hit for anyone in the Sinatra family.
"It's Only Love" (1985)
Bryan Adams & Tina Turner
A rollicking "c'est la vie" from one of rock's oddest couples: a leggy 45-year-old soul dynamo and an impish Canadian with a sandpaper voice, 20 years her junior. "It was such a privilege to have sung with her," says Adams, who co-wrote the Top 20 hit, "especially since I was only 24 at the time."
"Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" (1978)
Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings
A cautionary tale delivered with a wink by two legendary cowpokes at home on the range. Winner of the 1979 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
“Where Is the Love” (1972)
Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack
How can a song about feeling so bad feel so good? True, it didn't soar as high on the charts as the duo's dreamy No. 1 collaboration in 1978, "The Closer I Get to You." But "Where Is the Love" won a sweet consolation prize: the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
"You Don't Bring Me Flowers" (1978)
Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond
A bad day for florists blossomed into the third No. 1 single for both easy-listening heavyweights. Interestingly, each had recorded earlier solo versions, which were spliced together by the program director of a radio station in Louisville, Kentucky. The response was so overwhelming that Streisand and Diamond headed into the studio to do it themselves.
"I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" (1987)
Aretha Franklin & George Michael
George Michael of Wham! said thank you, ma'am, when his favorite soul diva agreed to record this song with him. The rousing duet was Michael's fourth consecutive No. 1 hit and Franklin's first since "Respect" 20 years earlier. Together, they won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
"You're the One That I Want" (1978)
John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
"Grease" is the word, but this giddy duet by two heartthrobs in their prime was the final word in the blockbuster movie musical. It was one of three singles from the soundtrack to reach No. 1. The other two: Frankie Valli's title track and Newton-John's "Hopelessly Devoted to You," which earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.
James Taylor & Carly Simon
The catchy call-and-response of Top 40 radio's favorite couple soared to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sweet Baby James tweaked the lyrics of the original 1963 Top 10 hit by Inez and Charlie Foxx, but the pedigree extends to the cover song's impressive credits. The studio musicians included Dr. John on keyboards, the Band's Robbie Robertson on guitar and Michael Brecker on tenor sax.
"You're a Friend of Mine" (1985)
Clarence Clemons & Jackson Browne
Bruce Springsteen's sax hero took center stage for this joyous affirmation of bromance, accompanied by an uncharacteristically chipper Jackson Browne. The Top 20 hit was like a meteor spun off during the full thrust of the Boss' "Born in the U.S.A." juggernaut.
"Endless Love" (1981)
Diana Ross & Lionel Ritchie
Got to give it up for the single that topped the Billboard Hot 100 for what seemed like an eternity, though it was actually only nine long, long weeks.
"Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" (1978)
Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams
Twenty-one years after topping the charts with his signature song, "Chances Are," Johnny Mathis notched his second and final No. 1 single on the 28th birthday of his vocal partner. Williams would score on her own in the '80s with her Grammy-nominated performances of "It's Gonna Take a Miracle" in 1982 and the No. 1 hit from the "Footloose" soundtrack, "Let's Hear It for the Boy," two years later.
"Whenever I Call You 'Friend'" (1978)
Kenny Loggins & Stevie Nicks
Yeah, Loggins wrote it with Melissa Manchester ("Midnight Blue") and scored his first Top 10 solo hit with help from the Fleetwood Mac chanteuse, whose name wasn't listed on the single. But the most touching version of the oft-recorded duet can be found on the 1997 album "Then and Now" by Michael Johnson ("Bluer Than Blue"), who teamed up with bluegrass-country legend Alison Krauss.
Peaches & Herb
Proof that makeup sex is hotter and deeper than the typical nightcap. The dewy-eyed follow-up to the couple's raucous Top 5 dance hit "Shake Your Groove Thing" snuggled up to No. 1 for almost the entire month of May in 1979.
"No More Tears (Enough is Enough)" (1979)
Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer
The decade that began with "I Am Woman" ended with a roar when two 1970s powerhouses transformed the catchphrase of Johnson's Baby Shampoo into a no-nonsense feminist anthem. It was the fourth No. 1 single for both divas—and Summer's last.
"Leather and Lace" (1981)
Stevie Nicks & Don Henley
This ode to opposites-attract relationships could just as well have been a reference to Henley's well-worn rasp and Nicks' frilly warble. Written by Nicks, it was one of two Top 10 duets on her debut solo album, "Bella Donna." The other: "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
"I Got You Babe" (1965)
Sonny & Cher
The hippie equivalent of "I do" was the first single from Sonny & Cher's debut album, "Look at Us." After topping the charts for three weeks in August 1965, it became the couple's signature song, which they would later perform at the end of every episode of "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour" on CBS from 1971-74.
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