Music Industry

Best Duet Songs: What Are The Best Duets Of All Time?

Photograph of the blog post author, Lauren-Tayla Chappell

Lauren-Tayla Chappell

17.5.2021

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What are the top ten best duet songs of all time you may ask? In this article, we will outline some of the most famous duets, some of which are also found to be some of the best karaoke duets!

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These days, the best way for artists to get their music heard by a larger audience is by collaborating with other artists, and we are all about collaboration here at Music Gateway!

So, stay tuned to discover some of the greatest duets ever made! 

10. Girl From The North Country – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash

Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash - Girl from the north country

After meeting at the Newport Folk Festival the pair soon recorded one of the best male duets of all time. The song was recorded at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City in April 1963. I wonder if we’ll ever find out who this song was about? 

There was always a debate about who this song was actually written about. Some people claim it was about former girlfriend Echo Helstrom. Some claim it was Bonnie Beecher. Both girls Dylan knew before leaving for New York. We wonder… 

There was also a 2017 stage musical based on Bob Dylan’s work. ‘Girl From The North Country’ was second to use Dylans’ music after Twyla Tharp’s ‘The Times They are A-Changin’.

9. I Got You Babe – Sonny & Cher

Sonny and cher - I got you babe

A true example of one of the best duet love songs written of all time! Sonny wrote this song in his basement for him and Cher. She didn’t actually think the song would be a hit at first but soon enough the song quickly became the duo’s biggest single! In early 2017 the song had been placed into the Grammy Hall of Fame. 

In the US the song had sold more than 1 million copies in 1965 being certified gold by the RIAA. Soon enough 2011 came around and this song had been reported by Billboard to have sold 372,000 copies of I Got You Babe in the US alone. 

8. Dilemma – Nelly & Kelly Rowland

Nelly and Kelly rowland - dilemma

A song written about two partners who want a relationship together despite them both already being in a relationship. We can’t say it sounds like a love duet but it is a great example of one of the best male female duets, as well as one of the best R&B duets!

Released on July 30th 2002 from Nelly’s second album ‘Nellyville’. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 45th Annual Grammy awards in Feb 2003. 

This song replaced Nelly’s previous single ‘Hot In Here’ on the chart, peaking at number one on the US Billboard Charts Hot 100 for 10 consecutive weeks. The track also hit number 1 in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia.

7. The Boy Is Mine – Brandy & Monica

Brandy and Monica - The boy is mine

Another one of the best R&B duets, the best female duets of all time AND one of the best karaoke duets. A song written about two women fighting over a man.

This song was actually inspired by the duet ‘The Girl Is Mine’ by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. The song was awarded a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a duo or group. 

The song was written by a number of people including LaShawn Daniels, Rodney Jerkins and Brandy Norwood. The single was released from both the singers’ second albums from 1998. These albums were ‘Never Say Never’ by Brandy and ‘The Boy is Mine’ by Monica. The song was recorded in October-December 1997 in California and Atlanta and was then released in May 1998. 

6. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Elton John & Kiki Dee

Elton John and Kiki dee - dont go breaking my heart

Here we have one of the best male female duets released in June 1976. This song has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America! In the UK, the duet became Elton’s first #1 single in Britain on July 2nd.

The writers of this song Elton John and Carte Blanche (Bernie Taupin) received the 1976 Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. After this duet with Dee, John failed to have another US solo number one single until ‘Candle In The Wind ‘ in 1997. 

5. Islands In The Stream – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton 

Dolly parton and kenny rogers - islands in the stream

Agh! What an amazing duet this is. This is one of our favourite soft rock duets of all time. It was recorded and released in 1983. It was originally written in an R&B style for Marvin Gaye but was later changed for the Kenny Rogers album. In 2005, the song topped CMT’s poll of the best country duet of all time! 

This song was written and later recorded by the Bee Gees but was sung by the pair Rogers and Parton. It was released in August 1983 as the first single from Rogers’ album ‘Eyes That See In The Dark’. It was recorded in 1983 in LA with record label RCA. 

Moreover, Rogers and Parton went on to record a Christmas album together. They would continue to perform together on stage and record together up until Rogers’ retirement in 2017. The final song they released together was ‘You Can’t Make Old Friends’ in 2013. 

4. Ebony And Ivory – Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder 

Paul mcCartneyh and stevie wonder - ebony and ivory

Released in March 1982 as one of the best R&B and soft rock duets of all time. This single marked the first ever time that Paul McCartney had released a duet with another major artist. It led onto his 1980’s collabs with Michael Jackson. The single spent 7 weeks at Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and was the 4th biggest hit there of 1982. 

McCartney wrote this song at his farm in Scotland. The song is about the black and white keys on a piano (black being ebony and white being ivory) but is also about integration and racial harmony. He had always envisioned singing this song with a black male singer and so he and Stevie recorded the track at George Martin’s AIR studios in Montserrat. 

3. Leather And Lace – Stevie Nicks & Don Henley 

Stevie nicks and don henley - leather and lace

From the album Bella Donna this is one of the best rock duets of all time. This song is a reflection of the striking feminine energy underpinning the music on the 1981 disc, which topped the US and Australian album charts and launched the Fleetwood Mac Member’s solo career. 

Furthermore, this song was originally written by Nicks for Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter’s album Leather and Lace but the song was never included on the album. Nicks’ version with Henley peaked at number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks in Jan 1982. 

The song has been used and covered many times. It’s been covered by Sara Evans and Maroon 5 in 2008 as well as being used in the CBS drama Cold Case in the last episode of season 1. 

2. Say Say Say – Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson 

Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson - Say say say

This song was released in 1983 as the lead single to McCartney’s 1983 album Pipes of Peace. This post-disco track is one of the best male duets of all time. Once this song was released it quickly became Michael’s 7th top-ten hit inside a year!

In 2013, the song was even listed by Billboard magazine as the 41st biggest hit of all time in the Billboard Hot 100 charts! The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. 

Moreover, it’s said that the majority of this song was actually written by Michael Jackson and was then handed over to McCartney. Jackson became very good friends with McCartney and his wife as he was staying at their home during recording of the song. 

1. Under Pressure – Queen & David Bowie

Queen and david bowie - Under pressure

Lastly, the number one best rock duet ever made. Released in October 1981 and shortly after being described as a “monster rock track that stood out”. This song was played at every single one of Queen’s concerts from 1981 until the end of their touring career in 1986!

The song reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Queen’s second number 1 hit in their home country and Bowie’s 3rd. 

The final version of Under Pressure came from a chance encounter jam session that Bowie had with the band at Queen’s studio in Montreux. The music video for this song actually features neither Queen or Bowie due to touring commitments!

That Was Our List Of The Best Duets Of All Time

Vinyl records

So, there you have it! These are just 10 of the greatest duet songs of all time so we can’t even begin to imagine how many more amazing tracks there are to add to the list.

A lot of these artists are and were some of the musical legends of our time and some are sadly not with us anymore. But luckily for us, they’ve left behind absolutely unreal music that will live on with us forever. 

Finally, what are your thoughts? Do you agree that these songs are in the top 10 best duets of all time? Are there any you would add or remove from the list? Let us know! We hope you’ve enjoyed the article and hopefully may have learnt something new about some of the artists and songs that we’ve spoken about! 

You never know, next time you find yourself at a karaoke bar, you might think back to this article and use one of the best karaoke duets! 

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