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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Patrick Swayze feat. Wendy Fraser – “She’s Like the Wind” – (1987)

The Dirty Dancing soundtrack is one of the most successful soundtracks of all time, selling over 32 million copies. I can’t be the only one who finds it weird that Patrick Swayze had a top three hit in the U.S.? Then again, this was the decade of all kinds of actors releasing music – Don Johnson, Bruce Willis, etc. Patrick Swayze is the main credited artist, but the single was actually released with “featuring Wendy Fraser” attached to it. You can tell this is from the 80s because of the power ballad lyrical delivery and the saxophone. Mostly that sax.

Common feat. Lily Allen – “Drivin’ Me Wild” – (2007)

Here was a song that I once saw featured on some near-the-end-of-it-all music video program on MTV or VH1. Probably VH1. Anyway, it was a minor hit in the U.K. – due to featured artist Lily Allen’s large fame. This song by Common was produced by Kanye West. It’s average. Lily Allen is the best part. As she usually is.

Glenn Medeiros & Bobby Brown – “She Ain’t Worth It” – (1990)

This was a #1 hit for Glenn Medeiros (and Bobby Brown). His successful years were between 1984 and 1993. After that, he became a teacher and currently is a vice-principal at a school in Hawaii. How about that for a career turn? Imagine having a teacher who had a huge radio smash. This song is a good example of early-90s R&B/new jack swing. I like it (although I don’t care for Bobby Brown’s rap verse).

Dionne Warwick & Friends – “That’s What Friends Are For” – (1985)

This song was written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. Rod Stewart recorded it originally but it was Dionne Warwick’s version that went to #1. Well, Dionne Warwick and friends. Those friends? Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder. Pretty impressive friends. Well name-dropped, Dionne. This was a charity single to benefit AIDS research. It’s one of those tunes that everybody knows.

Jennifer Lopez feat. LL Cool J – “All I Have” – (2002)

This was the second single from J.Lo’s “Jenny From the Block” album (that’s not actually what the album’s called, but it’s the single it is best known for and how I refer to not only the album but this phase in J.Lo’s career – as if I do this a lot). This is one of those #1 hits that I don’t ever actually remember hearing on the radio. I remember the Christmas-themed video on MTV back in the day, but the song was somewhat foreign for many years. And this is one of the last songs I can recall from LL Cool J before he went all NCIS on us.

Salt-n-Pepa with En Vogue – “Whatta Man” – (1993)

This is one of the most popular songs by either Salt-n-Pepa or En Vogue (the best girl group the 90s, sorry TLC). “What a Man” was originally recorded as a soul track in 1968 by Linda Lyndell. En Vogue covered it and layered a Salt-n-Pepa rap over top of it to generate a top three hit on the Hot 100. It was also nominated for a Grammy. It’s an awesome 90s track.

Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald – “On My Own” – (1986)

This Hot 100 #1 hit was originally recorded by Dionne Warwick, but never released. So Patti LaBelle and the former lead singer of the Doobie Brothers, Michael McDonald – the best voice in blue-eyed soul – put out a version to top the charts. The duet was not recorded live together, but instead recorded in different cities independently and merged into one track. If you like McDonald’s unique voice, you’ll like this song.

John Mayer feat. Taylor Swift – “Half of My Heart” – (2009)

Well 2009 is officially over five years ago, so I can feature songs from that year. And this duet between John Mayer and Taylor Swift gained significant radio popularity in the first half of 2010. It peaked at #25 on the Hot 100 and its best performance was on the Adult Top 40 chart, where it reached #2. This is the kind of song the Adult Contemporary crowd loves.

Brandy & Monica – “The Boy is Mine” – (1998)

Here’s one of the greatest R&B songs of the 90s. Man I loved this song when it came out and have no idea how it wasn’t included in the top 50 in our 200 Best Songs of the 90s countdown. I messed that one up. The song was released on albums by both Brandy and Monica (Brandy first, hence her album over there at left). The song was a Hot 100 #1 for 13 weeks over the summer of 1998. It was everywhere. It won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group and was nominated for Record of the Year. Awesome, awesome song.

Eddie Money – “Take Me Home Tonight” – (1986)

Yes, we’re still doing the duet thing. So what’s with this song? Well it was never released as a “duet” but it was recorded and certainly is a duet. The female vocalist? Ronnie Spector, former leader of the 60s girl group The Ronettes. This was an album rock chart #1 and a top five hit on the Hot 100. It’s one of Eddie Money’s signature songs and one of the best radio-friendly Top 40 rock songs of the 80s.

John Mellencamp feat. India.Arie – “Peaceful World” – (2001)

One of the purveyors of musical Americana had this minor hit in the aftermath of 9/11. The song was actually around prior to the attacks, but it really picked up steam afterwards – although it never officially charted, bubbling under at #104. Also, Mellencamp’s face is way too airbrushed on that album cover. Right?

Gloria Estefan & ‘N Sync – “Music of My Heart” – (1999)

There are two big names behind this song. No, not Gloria Estefan and ‘N Sync – but Diane Warren and David Foster. If you don’t know who they are, look them up as their hit-writing/producing ability is pretty strong. This song was nominated for two Grammys and an Oscar. It was a #2 hit on the Hot 100 and as I’ve had a 90s music listening resurgence lately (this includes a lot of ‘N Sync on my car radio) – I must say, this song is pretty good. Although Joey Fatone’s super red hair in the video really isn’t.

Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson – “Say, Say, Say” – (1983)

Paul McCartney teamed up with a fairly young Michael Jackson for this Hot 100 #1 hit in 1983. I’ve never really known what to think of this song but as I’m listening to it I’m realizing that Jackson’s vocals are awesome (as usual) and McCartney’s performance is pretty good too. But the combination of the two really works. It doesn’t even sound tragically 80s – which it really had the opportunity to do. I guess that’s a good thing.

Chad Kroeger feat. Josey Scott – “Hero” – (2002)

“Hero” was the theme song for the constantly-being-rebooted Spiderman back in 2002. The song was the result of Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and Saliva’s Josey Scott. Theory of a Deadman frontman Tyler Connolly also co-wrote the song with the other two and performed as part of the group. Mike Kroeger (also of Nickelback) is on bass and the drummer is Matt Cameron (of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden fame). The song was very popular in the aftermath of 9/11 and received a lot of airplay, peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 and in the top five of four other American Billboard charts – and it charted all over the world too. I grew tired of it quickly but I wouldn’t say I loathe it.

Celine Dion & R. Kelly – “I’m Your Angel” – (1998)

This #1 hit from late 1998 appeared on albums by both Celine Dion and R. Kelly. It was the first #1 that took Billboard’s new rules into account regarding tracks that were never officially released as a single (otherwise referred to as “airplay-only”). This is neither artist’s best song although even if it was a big smash.

Gloria Loring & Carl Anderson – “Friends and Lovers” – (1986)

This is a super-80s duet from Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson. Loring – now known as the mother of Robin Thicke – was an actress-turned-singer known mostly for her role on Days of Our Lives. Carl Anderson is best known for his work on Broadway. They teamed up in 1986 and recorded this song – which topped the Adult Contemporary chart and hit #2 on the Hot 100 in 1986. This song is the definition of 1980s Adult Contemporary.