Marc Anthony – “Vivir Mi Vida” – (2013)

This song is a Spanish cover of a French song. Both are super catchy, but I like the Spanish one better because Marc Anthony added a salsa element to it that the French one obviously lacked. This was a big hit, topping the charts in Colombia (I didn’t even know they had a chart) and doing quite well in Mexico and Spain. It also topped three Billboard charts: Hot Latin Songs, Latin Pop Songs, and Tropical Airplay. It also won the Latin Grammy for Record of the Year.

Tom Novy feat. Amadeas – “Dancing in the Sun” – (2013)

Well what’s better to do in the summer than dance in the sun? Nothing. Tom Novy (from Germany) is mostly behind the scenes today, producing for other artists. But this single from last year is kinda nice (high praise, right?).

Nora En Pure – “You Are My Pride” – (2014)

Nora En Pure is musician/band (as according to the official Facebook page. I’m not sure how you can be a singular musician and a band at the same time. Facebook had dozens of options for gender and they can’t separate these two?)… from Zurich, Switzerland. Folktronica is a strange new combination of folk music and electronica. This isn’t the best example and only hints at it with a little bit of harmonica. The song is nice and relaxing, though.

Shy FX feat. Liam Bailey – “Soon Come” – (2013)

Summer usually comes with a dose of warm weather (sorry, Southern Hemisphere-ers). And nothing says warm weather like music with a tropical tint. And reggae about defines tropical music when it comes to popular music. Shy FX is a London-born-and-based DJ that specializes in this type of music. Liam Bailey is an English vocalist that also specializes in this type of music. This song is perfect for any Songs of Summer list because it is “light reggae” and really nice.

Kris Menace feat. Black Hills – “Waiting for You” – (2013)

Kris Menace is the stage name of German DJ Christoph Hoeffel. This song is pure electronica, but the beats aren’t pounding. But it’s not quite a super-relaxed trance song either. The lyrics are soft and it sounds like it could’ve easily crossed over into the pop music realm. It didn’t, and it remains a pretty much unknown song among the masses. But it isn’t bad.

Michael Mind Project feat. Dante Thomas – “Feeling So Blue” – (2012)

Not everything here will be brand new. And despite the rather somber title, this song is a very upbeat update on Eiffel 65′s 1999 smash “Blue (Da Ba Dee).” It’s not a cover – it just samples the chorus. “Blue” was always a favorite of mine and one of the legendary songs of the Eurodance genre, so it’s no wonder I like this too. It was a top 40 hit in a few European countries but went mostly unnoticed in the U.S.

Bondax – “Giving It All” – (2013)

As you may notice (perhaps, annoyingly) during this rundown, I think relaxing electronic music like this is perfect for summer. This song came out in October of last year and is super smooth and is a great chill out song. And this was a super short post. Oh well.

Calvin Harris – “Summer” – (2014)

The general rule around here is “no featuring songs within the past five years.” That goes out the window when we do our “Songs for Summer.” And what’s a better way to kick off a multi-week list of songs that are perfect for the poolside and beach during this all-too-short summer, than with a song called, well, “Summer.” Calvin Harris is known primarily as a DJ, but he performs the vocals on this track as well. It was a #1 in a few European countries (debuting there in the U.K.) and peaked at #9 in the U.S.

Juvenile feat. Mannie Fresh & Lil Wayne – “Back That Thang Up” – (1998)

C’mon, you have to admit: that’s one of the work album covers you’ve ever seen. “Back That Thang Up” was the edited (and MTV-friendly) version of Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up” (which we’ll feature at a later date). Notice that no matter what you are backing up, it is spelled incorrectly. This only made it to #15 on the Hot 100 (Juvenile would late have a #1) but this is definitely his signature song. This was actually a decent hit on TRL in 1999 and it marks an early appearance of Lil Wayne before he really got famous about five years later. His rap sort of marks the first major appearance of “drop it like it’s hot” – which I guess makes this a cultural landmark? Just kidding. Happy 4th of July.

The Doobie Brothers – “Real Love” – (1980)

This was one of the Doobie Brothers last big hits – reaching #5 on the Hot 100. It’s classic Michael McDonald vocals and classic soft rock. I love this sound from the Doobie Brothers – sort of late-70s/early-80s soft rock with a touch of synth and the definitive voice of this kind of music from McDonald.

Teresa Brewer – “Music! Music! Music!” – (1949)

“Put another nickel in, in the nickelodeon” is the opening line to this #1 hit from 1950. It was released in December of 1949 and other than that catchy hook of a chorus, the song is just okay. It could be construed as kind of annoying. It was Brewer’s biggest hit and signature song. Teresa Brewer was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1931 and died in New York state in 2007.

Philip Bailey & Phil Collins – “Easy Lover” – (1984)

Phil Collins was a pretty big deal circa 1984. So when Philip Bailey teamed up with him to record and release this song, there was a good chance it was going to be a big hit. And it was – hitting #2 on the Hot 100. Bailey’s high-pitched vocals are the perfect complement to Collins’ unique voice. It sounds very 80s but it holds up today whenever I hear it. I said last week we were saving the best for last and this is it, the final duet from our months-long run. Hope you enjoyed it.

Ike & Tina Turner – “Proud Mary” – (1971)

“Proud Mary” is one of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s best songs. And it’s one of the most-famous. This 1971 cover is a big part of the song’s fame. In fact, it’s become one of Tina Turner’s signature songs as well as one of her biggest hits – it hit #5 in the U.S. (CCR made it to #2). What’s great about this version is that it’s their own take on the song and not a direct cover. It starts off real slow and soulful and then at like the 2:20 mark if goes crazy. It’s wild. And a legitimately awesome song.

Sonny & Cher – “The Beat Goes On” – (1967)

This isn’t a duet in the same vein as the other duets we’ve featured. Sonny & Cher were a duo and thus, all of their songs were duets. This song was written by Sonny Bono. This song made it to #6 on the Hot 100 and it remains one of their best-known songs.

Patti Austin & James Ingram – “Baby, Come to Me” – (1981)

I sorta went with the whole “save the best for last” thing with this song. While we’re not quite done with our big duet post rundown, we’re getting close. And I love this song. The music is perfect 80s, and the harmonizing between Austin and uncredited backing vocals-provider Michael McDonald is just fantastic. In 1982 this song peaked at #73 on the Hot 100. Later that year it appeared on General Hospital and re-charted – this time at #1. Worthy of it, I’d say.

Elton John with Kiki Dee – “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart” – (1976)

Here’s one of the most famous duets of all time. It was a #1 hit on the Hot 100 for the better part of a month and it was intended as sort of Marvin Gaye-esque duet and if you listen to it that way, you certainly can hear it. This song was never included on an actual album, but only released as a single (it appeared on other albums years later, however). It remains one of Elton’s biggest hits and the main thing Kiki Dee is known for.

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – “You’re All I Need to Get By” – (1968)

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell were duet masters. First of all, Marvin Gaye is one of the best singers we’ve ever had, even if his time was cut way too short. Tammi Terrell’s career was cut even shorter, dying from a brain tumor in 1970 at age 24. Before she went, she and Marvin put out some great tunes together, including this Billboard top ten hit. This song was actually written by Ashford & Simpson, but made famous by these two here.

The Lonely Island feat. Justin Timberlake – “Dick in a Box” – (2006)

Yeah, yeah. I know I always list the album release year as the date above, but because this was an SNL Digital Short in 2006, I listed it as that (the album came out in 2006). This was one of the biggest Digital Shorts they ever did. The song was recorded in one night and the music video shot in a day. SNL published the uncensored song online the day after it aired and it was a huge internet phenomenon. The song actually won an Emmy and the two characters that Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake created for this song have made re-appearances, releasing two more songs. And yes, I know I’m at the bottom of the duet barrel.

Jon B. feat. Babyface – “Someone to Love” – (1995)

The dramatically goateed Jon B. had a #32 hit on the Hot 100 in 1995 with this duet with Babyface. It was included on the Bad Boys soundtrack and that was what caused it to be such a hit. Babyface was the driving force behind R&B in the 1990s, writing and producing over 25 #1 R&B hits. Having him included on your track was almost a guarantee for success. Kind of like Pharrell right now.

USA for Africa – “We are the World” – (1985)

Charity singles. The U.K. goes crazy for them and has them all the time. It doesn’t work so well here in the U.S. Perhaps it’s because this track. I’m not sure. It’s definitely cheesy and a part of 1980s culture. This was a group of singers who came together to perform a song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and sell it to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. The whole thing was inspired by Band Aid (from the U.K.). It ended up raising $100 million and selling over 20 million copies (impressive). Annoyingly, USA for Africa stands for “United Support of Artists for Africa” and that’s because a few of the artists weren’t American. Here’s everyone other than Jackson and Richie who were involved: Dan Aykroyd, Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham, Kim Carnes, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Sheila E., Bob Geldof (who was responsible for Band Aid), both Hall and Oates, James Ingram, Jackie Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Randy Jackson (the one from the Jackson 5… not the one from American Idol), Tito Jackson, Al Jarreau, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis and the News (the whole band), Kenny Loggins, Bette Midler, Willie Nelson, Jeffrey Osborne, Steve Perry, all three Pointer Sisters, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, and Stevie Wonder. Yeah, pretty impressive. Look at how many of those people are respectable and/or legendary (many of them) and think about how that would play out today. Do we really need Bieber and Kesha and company coming together for charity? That’s the exact reason charity singles don’t work in the U.S. anymore. The current crop of North American are trash. Also: not how hilariously out of place Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan sound here.

Gwen Stefani feat. Eve – “Rich Girl” – (2004)

Gwen Stefani’s debut solo album, while not No Doubt, really wasn’t too bad. “Interesting” might be one way to classify it, but hits like this propelled it to multi-platinum status with over seven million copies sold. This is actually a Dr. Dre-produced cover of a song from 1993 and features Eve. It was Eve who gave Gwen one of her first solo hits with her song “Let Me Blow Ya Mind.” This peaked at #7 on the Hot 100.

Celine Dion & Clive Griffin – “When I Fall in Love” – (1993)

Sleepless in Seattle may have been the defining “chick flick” or romantic comedy of the 90s. It was produced by David Foster and recorded by Celine Dion – who was coming on strong about this time – and Clive Griffin. Griffin’s spot was supposed to be Stevie Wonder, but I think that may have overshadowed everything. This is Griffin’s best-known work and biggest hit. This is a Grammy-winning song but it wasn’t eligible for an Oscar as it wasn’t original. The song appeared first on the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack before coming out on Celine’s The Colour of My Love later that year.

Clarence Clemons & Jackson Browne – “You’re a Friend of Mine” – (1985)

I guess if part of song being “very 80s” is a raging saxophone, then Clarence Clemons is your man. Clemons – who you might not know by name – you definitely know by his performance. Until his death in 2011, he was the saxophone player in the E. Street Band, backing Bruce Springsteen since 1972. This was Clemons’ only solo hit and his association with The Boss didn’t hurt sales figures. Jackson Browne is guest musician and vocalist here – and his then-girlfriend Daryl Hannah also provided backing vocals. Weird.

Counting Crows feat. Vanessa Carlton – “Big Yellow Taxi” – (2002)

“Big Yellow Taxi” is a song originally written and obnoxiously recorded by Joni Mitchell. It’s been covered a lot over the years, but most famously by Counting Crows with vocals by Vanessa Carlton. This was the biggest version, becoming an Adult Contemporary top five hit. This song came from an era of music where artists just covered older songs (looking at you Smash Mouth and Uncle Kracker). While I don’t love this song (but do love its message), it is infinitely better than the nerve-grating original.

Mariah Carey feat. Joe & 98 Degrees – “Thank God I Found You” – (1999)

This song is from Mariah Carey’s “Whisper Period” – those years in the late 1990s/early 2000s where she barely made any noise on any of her songs and it just sounds like she’s humming words in the next room. Fortunately, this track features boy band 98 Degrees and late-90s R&B dude Joe to provide actual lyrics. Because it is a Mariah Carey song technically from the 90s, it obviously went to #1. But it’s by no means the best of them.

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