February 2014

Fredro Starr & Jill Scott – “Shining Through” – (2001)

This song was done as the theme for the movie Save the Last Dance (there was also a version released on Fredro Starr’s 2001 album Firestarr). This soundtrack was a multi-platinum seller with a number of really big pop songs on it. There were others that got more airplay but this is actually a pretty good song as Jill Scott’s voice is as awesome as ever.

Gerald Levert & Eddie Levert Sr. – “Already Missing You” – (1995)

Eddie Levert was the lead singer of the O’Jays in the 1970s and his son Gerald was a songwriter and performer in his own right who was also a member of LSG (with Johnny Gill and Keith Sweat) in the 90s. With his father, Gerald released two albums (one posthumously). Father & Son was released in 1995. This song peaked at #7 on the R&B chart in 1995. Gerald died at age 40 in 2006.

Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – “Ebony & Ivory” – (1982)

“Ebony & Ivory” is an often-referenced song from 1982 that hit #1 on the Hot 100 and stayed there for seven weeks. Depending on how you view it, this song is either about black and white piano keys or about people and racial integration. It’s actually about both – but mostly the racial thing. A lot of people think this song was sappy – and my response to that is “It was the 80s.” Strangely, Wonder and McCartney performed this live together in the studio – but the music video was filmed separately because of scheduling issues. Weird.

Robert Plant & Allison Krauss – “Rich Woman” – (2007)

I love this album. This was the third and final single from the Grammy Award-winning Album of the Year for 2009. This song was in a movie called Mad Money which I barely recall being a movie. This is a cover of an old, old song but it’s a great example of when the right people come together they really can make magic.

Donna Lewis & Richard Marx – “At the Beginning” – (1997)

I will admit – I really liked this song when it came out and I haven’t heard it in a while. And I will also admit that as soon as it started I remember why I liked it so much the first time around. This song did okay on the Adult Contemporary chart and showed that Disney didn’t have a stranglehold on original songs in animated films (this one came from Anastasia and most of what I remember from the movie is that Hank Azaria did a voice and it was awesome). Good song – I don’t care if you mock me.

Lionel Richie & Diana Ross – “Endless Love” – (1981)

“What? Friends listen to ‘Endless Love’ in the dark” is one of my most-used quotes from Happy Gillmore. “Endless Love” was actually from a movie of the same name starring Brooke Shields. The movie is largely forgettable but the song it spawned was huge and remains much more famous. Billboard called it the greatest duet of all time, which I would call accurate. There have been successful covers, too (which we’ll get to in a few weeks). This would have been a much more appropriate song to post last Friday on Valentine’s Day.

Rob Zombie & Ozzy Osbourne – “Iron Head” – (2001)

Well this is a non-tradition duet (both Rob Zombie and Ozzy Osbourne would probably beat you to near death with a guitar if you called this a “duet”). Whatever – it’s two musicians and vocalists joining forces for one song and the word “featured” is not in the artist line. Originally, Zombie was going to record this solo after working with Ozzy on it but he felt it lacked that special touch so he invited Ozzy to sing on it as well. Something different and a little heavier for your Friday. (Oh crap, I forgot this would be posted on Valentine’s Day – I guess I coulda went with something a little more romantic, eh?)

Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, & Sting – “All For Love” – (1993)

The movie was The Three Musketeers and I guess Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, and Sting were supposed to be the musical equivalent of the Three Musketeers? Maybe in 1993. Now it seems a little absurd. Let’s look at where they are now: Bryan Adams has all but disappeared off the face of the Earth after a fairly decent and long career. Sting is still a fairly well-liked and well-respected public figure, but he doesn’t put out a lot of new radio-friendly music these days. And Rod Stewart stopped singing original songs over a decade ago – releasing CD after CD of standards. This was a #1 hit on the Hot 100. The title is inspired by the Three Musketeers motto “All for one, and one for all” and was transposed into this romantic soft rock song. Ooookay.

Aretha Franklin & George Michael – “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” – (1986)

This extremely 80s-sounding song from Aretha Franklin and George Michael was a #1 hit on the Hot 100. This was the era of Aretha’s pop resurgence and George Michael was a really big deal in 1986. I’ll be honest, this is a pretty good song with pretty good vocals. Sure it sounds a little dated (like it came out of a Beverly Hills Cop movie or something) but I still like it.

Ricky Martin & Christina Aguilera – “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely” – (2000)

Here’s a big dose of the year 2000. Two of the biggest names of 1999 teamed up for a top 20 hit in 2000. It was a #1 elsewhere and on three other American Billboard charts (Hot Latin Songs, Latin Pop Songs, Tropical Songs). This lost the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals Grammy to “Lady Marmalade” – also featuring Aguilera. Ricky Martin also recorded a Spanish single. Remember when Christina Aguilera used to try and cash in on her Latin heritage? Anyway, this song (and video) is a good slice of nostalgia. Enjoy.

Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson – “Scream” – (1995)

This is a brother and sister duet. Many people think Michael Jackson peaked in the 80s and while that might be true, his stuff from the 90s was awesome. At the time, this was the highest debuting single on the Hot 100 ever – jumping in at #5 (where it peaked). It’s about the tabloids that were all over Michael after his alleged child abuse among other things. It was nominated from a Grammy and one of the best remembered things about this song was the video. It was considered the most expensive music video ever made – costing over $7 million in 1995. Which is insane. In all reality, it’s probably more memorable than the song itself.

Stevie Nicks & Don Henley – “Leather and Lace” – (1981)

I’m starting something new this week. It’s not a countdown. Instead, I’m just going to feature duets until I basically run out of them. From the 80s (Monday), 90s (Wednesday), and 2000s (Friday). The first is from two huge stars: Stevie Nicks (of Fleetwood Mac) and Don Henley (of the Eagles). Stevie Nicks wrote the song for Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter – but their version never even appeared on the album they released together (which was actually called Leather and Lace). Instead, Nicks recorded it with Henley and it went to #6 on the Hot 100.