5 Unexpected Duets Of The 70s and 80s
Steven Tyler inducts AC/DC at the 2003 Rock Hall of Fame - Rock & Roll Hall of Fame / Youtube
The ’70s and ’80s were a heyday for duets, with chart-topping collaborations becoming the norm. Yet, amid the superstar pairings that dominated the era, some duets stood out for their unexpectedness.
These unexpected duets of the ’70s and ’80s remind us that music is full of surprises. Whether blending genres or pairing established stars with rising talents, these collaborations not only defied expectations but also left an indelible mark on the ever-evolving landscape of popular music.
Here are five duets from that time that, while seeming unconventional at first, turned out to be hits and left an enduring mark on music history.
Olivia Newton-John and The Tubes, “Dancin’”
The 1980 soundtrack for the film Xanadu brought together an eclectic mix of artists, including Olivia Newton-John and The Tubes. The Tubes, on the fringes of mainstream popularity with a sound hovering between New Wave and punk, seemed an odd match for the pop sensation Newton-John. The song “Dancin'” highlighted the contrast between them, with Newton-John’s swing-style verses merging seamlessly with The Tubes’ rock sections. Against the odds, this unique collaboration worked, creating a memorable track.
Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer, “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)”
When disco queen Donna Summer joined forces with Barbra Streisand for “No More Tears,” it raised eyebrows. Streisand, known for her powerful vocals in a different genre, stepped into disco territory. However, the result was a powerhouse duet where both vocalists shone, proving that musical boundaries are there to be challenged.
Run-DMC and Aerosmith, “Walk This Way”
The fusion of rap and rock was groundbreaking in 1986 when Run-DMC and Aerosmith collaborated on “Walk This Way.” Initially reluctant, Run-DMC’s impromptu performance over Aerosmith’s opening measures caught the attention of producer Rick Rubin. The resulting cover not only became a hit but also revitalized Aerosmith’s career, marking a pivotal moment in the crossover of hip-hop and rock.
Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield, “What Have I Done to Deserve This?”
Dusty Springfield’s return to the charts in the late ’80s was unexpected, especially with a collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys. Originally suggested to partner with Streisand, the duo insisted on Springfield, creating a No. 2 hit. Springfield’s vocals, particularly in the outro, added a layer of depth to the song, turning it into more than just a breakup tune.
Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin, “Separate Lives”
In 1985, Phil Collins, riding a wave of success, teamed up with Marilyn Martin for “Separate Lives” on the White Knights movie soundtrack. While Collins was a household name, Martin was a newcomer. Despite this, their collaboration soared to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Collins’s star power undoubtedly played a role in propelling Martin into the limelight, even though she had only one more Top 40 hit in her career.