10 Weirdest Classic Rock Collaborations
via InsaneMetalTube / YouTube
Musical collaboration is critical for creating great music. It’s when talented musicians come together to share their creative energies, inspiring each other to create songs that are greater than the sum of their individual talents. However, not all musical partnerships result in harmonious melodies. In some cases, two artists join forces when they perhaps shouldn’t have, leading to the creation of music that nobody asked for and, quite frankly, nobody wanted.
Let’s find out the 10 of the most peculiar classic rock collaborations, exploring the details that make each one so uniquely odd.
1. David Bowie And Mickey Rourke
In the 1980s, the worlds of popular music and Hollywood collided in a most peculiar way. Actor Mickey Rourke and musician David Bowie came together for the song “Shining Star (Makin’ My Love),” which was part of Bowie’s 1987 album “Never Let Me Down.” Rourke’s baffling rap about a “dummy run gang” raised eyebrows and left listeners scratching their heads. It’s no surprise that producer Mario McNulty eventually decided to re-record the album, acknowledging the truly bizarre nature of this collaboration.
2. Sir Elton John And Queens Of The Stone Age
Picture this: a hard-rocking post-grunge supergroup, Queens Of The Stone Age, teaming up with the flamboyant superstar, Sir Elton John. The result was Elton’s appearance on the track “Fairweather Friends” from the band’s 2013 album “…Like Clockwork.” The collaboration happened after Elton jokingly told Josh Homme, “The only thing missing from your band is an actual queen!” A moment of genre-blurring that left everyone surprised.
3. Metallica And Lou Reed
Imagine the grumpy former frontman of The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, collaborating with Los Angeles’ most prominent heavy metal band, Metallica. This unlikely pairing occurred in 2011 for the album “Lulu,” which was based on plays by German author Frank Wedekind. The album mainly featured Reed’s spoken word over Metallica’s instrumental tracks, resulting in an avant-garde creation that’s not for the faint-hearted.
4. David Bowie And Bing Crosby
In a nod to Christmas sentimentality or perhaps because “his mother liked him,” the enigmatic David Bowie shared a Yuletide TV show stage with the aging crooner Bing Crosby in 1977. Rumors persist that Bowie’s addition to the track “Peace On Earth” was a way to avoid singing “Little Drummer Boy,” a song he allegedly disliked. Strangely, Bing passed away before the show even aired, leaving this collaboration as a testament to Bowie’s enduring credibility.
5. Johnny Cash And Joe Strummer
Two iconic rebels of music, Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer, came together to record “Redemption Song.” This song was originally written by Bob Marley and was featured on Cash’s posthumous 2003 album “Unearthed.” Produced by Rick Rubin, this collaboration between Cash and Strummer, both of whom tragically passed away within a year, carries a poignant and rebellious legacy.
6. Elton John and Kiki Dee
During the mid-1970s, Sir Elton John, an international superstar, paired up with Kiki Dee, a British singer with notable hits in the UK but not yet a global household name. Legend has it that Dusty Springfield was the original choice for their soulful pop duet “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” However, Dee ended up with the gig, propelling her to immediate stardom as the song topped charts in nine countries, including the United States.
7. Lita Ford And Ozzy Osbourne
One night of heavy drinking between Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne resulted in one of mainstream metal’s most iconic duets. Their collaboration produced “Close My Eyes Forever,” a hit from Ford’s 1988 album. The song reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and its music video was heavily featured on MTV.
8. Robert Plant And Alison Krauss
The collaboration between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss emerged in the midst of rumors about a Led Zeppelin reunion tour. Their album “Raising Sand” showcases a fusion of Plant’s rock background and Krauss’s bluegrass roots. It serves as a testament to the fluidity of music across genres.
9. Chet Atkins And Mark Knopfler
In a somewhat unexpected pairing, guitar virtuosos Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler, known for his work with Dire Straits, joined forces for the album “Neck and Neck.” This collaboration blended elements of country and rock, resulting in a relaxed and self-referential musical journey.
10. The Jacksons And Mick Jagger
Originally intended to feature Freddie Mercury, “State of Shock” ultimately showcased Mick Jagger as the lead vocalist. Released in 1984 as the Jacksons’ comeback single, this song saw Jagger and the Jacksons engaging in a vocal showdown, adding an unexpected sense of purpose and power to the track. Imagine what could have been if a Rolling Stone had been Michael Jackson’s rival instead of a Beatle!