Favourite duets

On this day in 1935, the late and indescribably great Italian tenor and generous humanitarian, Luciano Pavarotti, was born.

Here’s one of my favourite duets, recorded in 2002 at one of the many world-famous ‘Pavarotti and Friends’ concerts, this one in aid of Angolan refugees in Zambia: ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World’ (with James Brown, also sadly missed).

Others that spring to mind: Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel (‘Don’t Give Up’), Roy Orbison and k.d. lang (‘Crying’), Gene Pitney and Marc Almond (‘Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart’), Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry (‘Seven Seconds’) and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (‘Through the Morning, Through the Night’).

Your favourite duets today, then. Include a favourite from Luciano Pavarotti’s extensive list, if you are able to. There have been many memorable ones down the years, but his sharing the stage with B.B. King (for the children of Guatemala and Kosovo and ‘The Thrill Is Gone’) in 1999 was rather special.

If you’re stuck for ideas, or just in a picky mood, try this fanciful list of 50, as chosen by the Telegraph. I think they chose the wrong Sinatra for top spot, myself. Should have been Frank and Ella Fitzgerald

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour's official blog, The Blog ('Features' previously being its rather naff title), affectionately - or lazily - shortened to 'FEd'.

62 thoughts on “Favourite duets”

  1. Barcelona – Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe.

    That’s the obvious one out of the way! :))

  2. Thx for the great video… never saw this before (the original song is now on the radio). 😉

    And your list with duets is great, Peter & Kate are on my no. 1.

    * Richard Wright & David Gilmour – Time
    * David Gilmour & David Bowie – Comfortably Numb
    * David Bowie & Mick Jagger – Dancing in the Streets
    * Mick Jagger & Peter Tosh – Don’t Look Back

    * Sam Brown and Fish – Just Good Friends
    Later he fell in love with Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn) and they did it again, beautiful.

    I’m looking out to hear Mostly Autumn again with this one:

    * Fairytale of New York – Shane MacGowan and the late Kirsty MacColl
    * Kate Pierson & Iggy Pop – Candy.

    Oh and so many more… a lot of my fav bands have male and female singers.

  3. hi FEd,

    probably my all time favourite: queen & david bowie: under pressure. another very moving tune that still sends shivers down my spine!

    all the best,
    bernhard

  4. Richard Wright & Sinead O’Connor – Reaching For the Rail.
    Eric Clapton & Pavarotti – Holy Mother.
    Ligabue & Pavarotti – Certe Notti.
    Elton John & Pavarotti – Live Like Horses.

    1. Eric Clapton & Pavarotti – Holy Mother.

      I would just love to hear that. Holy Mother has always been one of my favourite Clapton songs.

  5. Barley And Grape Rag – Rory Gallagher and The Dubliners

    Pavarotti and Liza Minelli did a great version of New York, New York a few years ago.

  6. “Don’t Give Up” by Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel is my choice.

    I also like “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher.

  7. Great topic Fed, and giving me a flashback to the wonderful RAH gig on June 30th 2006, which I will never forget, all was spellbinding, esp. when David and Richard performed together, and again a sad reminder of the tragic loss of Richard:

    David Gilmour and Richard Wright, Breathe

    Here my other faves:

    – David Gilmour and Richard Wright, Echoes
    – David Gilmour and David Bowie, Comfortably Numb
    – David Gilmour and David Bowie, Arnold Lane

    Elton John and Kiki Dee

    …and last but not least, Bette Middler and Mick Jagger, Ruthless People from the same hysterical movie.

  8. BB King + Tracy Chapman – “The Thrill Is Gone”

    David + Richard – “Echoes”, “Time”

  9. Very good topic Fed, I love duets and I like all from your list.

    It´s really hard to choose a favourite from the Pavarotti-duets. I take “Va Pensiero” together with Zucchero but there are so many good ones.

    Other great duets as already mentioned Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe “Barcelona” also Freddie Mercury and David Bowie “Under Pressure” and of course David Bowie and David Gilmour “Arnold Layne”.

    Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are fantastic together but my all-time fav is Robert with Sandy Denny “Battle of Evermore”.

    What else ?

    – George Michael and Mary J. Blige, “As”
    – Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, “Up Where We Belong”
    – Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, “Say, Say, Say”
    – Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow, “Picture”

    …and so many many more.

  10. John Lennon and Paul McCartney, when they sang together nobody was their match. They didn’t do it enough times.

  11. Barbara Streisand & Neil Diamond – You Don’t Send Me Flowers (corny, but I like it).

    Jon Anderson & Sandrine Piau – Chagall Duet (absolutely sublime, I cry every time I hear it).

    Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (cute and sugary).

  12. Luciano must have taught Roger Moore a thing or two over the years, he seems to have more versatile eyebrows than #2 James Bond – here he is, twitching with Tracy Chapman.

    As for some other famous duets, there’s (in no particular order)

    – Elton John & Kiki Dee – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
    – John Travolta & Olivia Neutron Bomb – You’re The One That I Want
    – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – Islands In The Stream
    – Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – Ebony and Ivory
    – Diana Ross & Lionel Richie – Endless Love
    – Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
    Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald – Summertime
    Morecambe & Wise – Singing In The Rain
    – David & Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill
    – Richard Wright & Sinead O’Connor – Reaching For The Rail
    – David & Richard – Breakthrough

  13. I can think of some good ones!

    * Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane – Heart To Hold

    * Carly Simon and Mick Jagger – You’re So Vain

    * David Bowie and Queen – Under Pressure

    * Mother Love Bone (Pearl Jam and Soundgarden) – Hungerstrike

    * Led Zeppelin (Robert Plant) and Sandy Denny – Battle of Evermore

    * Roger Waters and Don Henley – Watching TV

  14. McCartney and Jackson, “Ebony and Ivory”

    kd lang and Jane Siberry, “Calling All Angels”

    Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, “Raising Sand”

    Boys 2 Men with Michael Bouble, “I’m Coming Home”

  15. Even if I prefer listening to Pavarotti with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, I enjoy the duets you mentioned, and also with Stevie Wonder, Barry White, U2, Tracy Chapman… (no, not with Céline Dion).

    One of my favourites: Pavarotti and Sting: ‘Panis Angelicus’.

    And why not this one? 😉

    1. Oh you are so right on this pick. It just would not be Christmas without hearing this. Thanks for mentioning it.

  16. Dear FEd,

    Wow, was that an excellent clip of Pavarotti and James Brown. Just love it.

    You have chosen many of my favorites including Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel, have always enjoyed that song.

    Two other favorites of my would be:

    Leann Rimes and Eddy Arnold – Cattle Call
    Dan Fogelberg and Emmy Lou Harris – Only the Heart May Know (this is such a beautiful song and the lyrics are truly so heart felt. Has to be one of my all time favorite duets. If you haven’t heard it you should really take a listen.)

    Thanks again for a wonderful topic and hope this day is finding everyone well and happy.

    Love to the World.

  17. Oops, forgot about two more favorites:

    Freddie Mercury and David Bowie – Under Pressure
    Simon and Garfunkel – Old Friends/Bookends

  18. Kee Kee Dee and Elton John — Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

    Barbara Streisand and Donna Summer — No More Tears

    Carly Simon and James Taylor — Mockingbird

    Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra — Arkansas Coal. This is such a cool song. I heard it on David Byrne’s streaming radio last year (the cross-country playlist).

    Queen and David Bowie — Under Pressure

    amanda

  19. – Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, ‘Don’t Give Up’
    – Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue, ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’
    – Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, ‘Say Say Say’
    – Serge Gainsbourg et Jane Birkin, ‘Je t’Aime… Moi Non Plus’
    – Jean Jacques Goldman et Carole Fredericks, ‘Nuit’ – Splendid words too.

    And my recent but super-favourite duet, Leonard Cohen and…???, ‘Joan Of Arc’.

    Not sure who is the blonde female singer, I thought it was Jennifer Warnes, but maybe it’s Julie Christensen? Please?

    Sorry for my ignorance, I’m feeling a bit ashamed… :!

    Michèle

  20. I agree with Nick on Fairytale of New York. Great song.

    There have been quite a few I’ve loved. One would be Joan Osborne and Melissa Etheridge with Bring Me Some Water.

    Then there’s Steve Winwood and Chaka Khan with Higher Love.

    I also enjoyed Pink and Steven Tyler singing Misery.

    And others that come to mind are : Fire Lake by Bob Seger and the Eagles; The Battle of Evermore by Robert Plant and Sandy Denny; and Runaway Train by Elton and Eric. And, if it counts as a duet, how about Gimme Shelter with Mick Jagger and Merry Clayton?

  21. Stop Dragging My Heart Around – Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty

    Short and Sweet – David Gilmour & Roy Harper

    Say Say Say – Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson

  22. Thank you so much for showing this video!!

    I’m sorry I don’t have a duet in mind, but I had to post because I never knew they did this together. Who would have thought?

    All I can say is “awesome”.

  23. Pavarotti and Friends, one of my most treasured music DVD’s. This one with James Brown is the best on the list I think. Can’t think of anything to top it right now FEd. Two of the greatest talents ever together. Good choice.

    Barbara P

  24. Completely off topic:

    Well done, David, with your Honorary Doctor of Arts degree.

    “Green is the colour of her kind… envy is the bond between the hoped for and the damned.” 😛 😀

    1. Apologies for my rudeness in not obtaining a link, I heard it on the a radio this morning as I was taking Imogen to school.

  25. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm???? Ah yes, Shane McGowan and Sinead O’ Connor – Haunted. Great duet.

    Rgds Geoff Duffy (Dublin)

  26. On of my all time favs is Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel performing Roy Harper’s “Another Day” on her 1979 Christams special – here.

    Nice topic Fed.

  27. Hi FEd,

    magic topic! As a mouse in the cheese for me:

    Richard Wright and Sinead O ‘Connor = Reaching For the Rail
    Richard Wright and David Gilmour = Echoes
    David Gilmour and David Bowie with Richard Wright = Arnold Layne
    Sting and Cheb Khaled = Desert Rose
    Bob Dylan and Joan Beaz = Blowin’ In the Wind
    Eric Clapton and Roger Waters = Wish You Were Here
    Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder = Ebony and Ivory

    A hug from Rome
    diana

  28. Sorry to be off topic, but what do you think about this? Should we make Drew Carey cough up the $1m for the cause?

    I know there are Twitter followers here.

    Thanks.

    Andrew

  29. Hello FEd… and Happy Belated Birthday. Sorry, it’s been crazy for a while now. My father-in-law passed away two weeks ago, so it’s been very hard on the kids…

    Great topic though – a good distraction anyway. 🙂

    My favorite duet would be:

    Sir Tom Jones and the Cardigans – Burning Down the House

    On another note (of shameless self promotion) I’m another year older today… as my youngest 3 year old daughter put it, “Happy Birthday you old man” has definitely kept a smile on my face today.

    In other news I will hopefully be stimulating the economy by buying a new house next month… fingers and toes still crossed that all the final approvals come through by Friday…

    Peace…

    1. Happy Birthday to you, old man – and the best of luck with the house.

      I’m very sorry to hear about your loss.

  30. Scrivo dall’italia,

    fin da piccina ascoltavo i Pink! Più precisamente mio padre li ascoltava e quand’ero nella culla avevo vicino a me la loro musica!

    Il mio udito si è plasmato a questa musica ma soprattutto al timbro di voce di David, che con il passare del tempo è entrata nella mia anima legandosi al mio cuore persempre. Questa voce è stata a me vicina in tutti i momenti della mia vita e mi ha dato la capacità di staccarmi dalla terra e volare nell’universo in un vortice dolce.

    Il suo modo di cantare è l’unico che la mia mente riconosce, perchè cresciuta con me e diventata parte di ciò che sono, è come avere un caro lontano.. Se fossi un giorno all’ospedale l’unica cosa che mi risveglierebbe è il suo canto. Di certo fino alla fine prima di chiudere gli occhi persempre starei lì ad ascoltarla dinuovo. Come quand’ero piccola che riascoltavo mille e mille volte ancora la stessa musica, la stessa voce lo stesso stile. Il mio desiderio più grande era di vederlo cantare dal vivo, e si è avverato quando a Venezia sotto la pioggia piena di freddo lo guardavo, lo ascoltavo.. Non mi ha deluso mai e non lo ha fatto nemmeno quella volta.

    Apprezzo gli altri cantanti, ma David è cresciuto insieme a me.. A David auguro tanta gioia, perchè a me anche se indirettamente, ne ha data tanta davvero.

    Sono un po imbarazzata, ma è così. David, canta, canta sempre…

    1. Dear Liliana,

      I share with you many of your own feelings: “since I was a little girl my hearing has been shaped to PF’s music, especially to the timbre of voice of David, which with passing time became part of my soul, binding to my heart forever. It has been close to me at any moment of my life let me to fly up from the ground into the universe in a sweet vortex. If I were a day at the hospital the only way to make me wake up shall be to hear his singing… My greatest desire was to see him sing live, and it came true when I was in Venice, cold and wet under the rain.”

      I spent my last Saturday in Venice: it has been my first time again there after “The live concert”, of that raining evening in August 2006, and walking through Piazza San Marco, my first thought was for both David and Rick. Just few steps from there, you can find Venice’s Hard Rock cafe. It’s very nice, close to a square of water full of gondolas, where is exposed a large collection of memorabilia of many famous artists.

      In the gallery of their website, we can see that only one of David’s 70’s Fender Stratocasters is actually in Hard Rock Cafe Orlando, with the following caption: “There are very few guitarists with a sound as uniquely their own as his. With one bend of the string you instantly know who’s playing.”

      I hope in the nearest future also in the Venice one we could admire a rare pearl of David’s.

      Thank you F.Ed,
      bye/ciao Elisabetta

  31. I seem to remember a John Lee Hooker album of duets being released a few years ago.

    That was packed with some great songs.

  32. More duets that I forgot to mention above:

    R.E.M. “Fretless” (Mike Stipe and Kate Pierson). From the movie “Until The End Of The World.” Pierson has a beautiful voice, almost too good for the party band that was the B-52s.

    Natalie Cole with her father, Nat King Cole – “Unforgettable.”

    The Beatles – “Two Of Us” (Lennon and McCartney sing together beautifully for the last time).

    Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel – “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme”. This should have also been included in the recent post about protest songs. I love how each man essentially sings an entirely different song simultaneously: one song about a young girl’s love for a soldier, the other about the soldier’s senseless demise.

  33. Here’s a great classic by David Bowie and Bing Crosby, The Little Drummer Boy.

    Thomas

  34. Hmmm… how about Al Green & Annie Lennox, “Put A Little Love In Your Heart”?

    Or Marvin Gaye and anybody.

  35. Dear F.ed,

    interesting topic. Last year, one after the departure of the Maestro, a full collection of his best duets has been issued. Its title is: Pavarotti, The Duets by Universal Music (EAN code 0028947810995) containing the best performances of “Pavarotti & Friends” with the best international pop stars. This is the tracklist:

    “I Hate You Then I Love You” with Celine Dion; “Live Like Horses” with Elton John; “Hero” with Mariah Carey; “Miss Sarajevo” with Bono/The Edge/Brian Eno; “Holy Mother” with Eric Clapton; “Panis Angelicus” with Sting; “Miserere” with Zucchero; “Notte e’piscatore” with Andrea Bocelli; “The Magic of Love” with Lionel Richie; “O Sole Mio” with Bryan Adams; “Là ci darem la mano” with Sheryl Crow; “Let It Rain” with Jon Bon Jovi; “There Must Be an Angel” with Eurythmics; “My Way” with Frank Sinatra

    My favourite ones among these famous duets are: Miserere, The Magic of Love, My Way.

    Bye/ciao
    Elisabetta

  36. I have a duet that I love a lot; Zucchero and Pavarotti in Miserere.

    What a nice combination of opera and pop voice by two wonderful Italian singers. I love Zucchero!

  37. Here are a few:

    The Who and David Gilmour – The Dirty Jobs (Hyde Park, 1996)
    Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins – Mother of Violence (Reading Festival, 1979)
    Queen and David Bowie – Under Pressure
    Queensryche and Dio – The Chase
    Pavarotti and Queen (Roger Taylor and Brian May) – Too Much Love Will Kill You
    Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder – Ebony and Ivory
    Steve Perry and Kenny Loggins – Don’t Fight It
    Cher with Beavis and Butthead – I Got You Babe (funny remake)
    Max Webster and Rush (their respective lead singers Kim Mitchell and Geddy Lee) – Battlescar
    Roy Harper and Kate Bush, plus guitars of David Gilmour – You (The Game, Part II)
    John Lennon and Elton John – Whatever Gets You Thru the Night
    Don Henley and Stevie Nicks – Leather and Lace
    Styx (Tommy Shaw and Dennis DeYoung) – Haven’t We Been Here Before
    Supertramp (Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson) – Dreamer

  38. 8| David Gilmour & Richard Wright = Echoes 😉

    Magia e interação na voz de Gilmour e Rick.

    Guitarra destorcida .. incrivel harmonia entre cada respiração .. cada frase .. cada nota musical.

    Musica que invade minha alma, e a rasga inteira..

    Como espada, estilhando-me em pedaços perdidos no universo..

    Particulas de um enigma .. que monto, parte a parte.. Deste meu misterio.. que Sou em Mim !!

    Meu sonho eterno:

    Ver Gilmour ;; cantando uma canção ;; o seu olhar ;; seu sorriso ;; tocar sua face ..

    Mas como sonhos, são sonhos, .. quando acordo todos os dias, volto ao mundo real, sem magia, sem Gilmour.

    Até que novamente adormeça, mesmo acordada, e liberto-me do mundo. E assim estar contigo mais uma vez.

    Rosangela/Brasil

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