The 1980s inspired some of the greatest musical collaborations of all time – songs that spanned genres and skyrocketed up the charts. Here are five of the greatest 80s duets:
What Have I Done to Deserve This? by Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield
Released in 1987, this collaboration introduced Dusty Springfield, who rose to stardom in Britain in the early 1960s, to an entire new generation of fans. The song, featured on Pet Shop Boys’ album Actually, reached No. 2 on both the UK Singles Chart and the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the biggest hit of Springfield’s career in the United States.
I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) by Aretha Franklin and George Michael
The pairing of Aretha Franklin and George Michael – the brainchild of Arista Records head Clive Davis – was pure pop magic. From Franklin’s album Aretha, this 1987 duet became a No. 1 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart, and earned Aretha and George a Grammy for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.
Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Stevie and Tom were a rock vocal marriage made in heaven. Their 1981 single, which appeared on Stevie’s debut solo album Bella Donna, peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks. And, the video for the song has the distinction of being the 25th video played on the day that MTV launched, August 1, 1981.
Easy Lover by Philip Bailey and Phil Collins
In 1984, Phil Collins and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind, and Fire were working together on Bailey’s album Chinese Wall (which Collins produced) when a perfect pop single entitled Easy Lover was born. Released later that year, the song reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a No. 1 hit in several other countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada. And remember the music video? It won the 1985 MTV award for Best Overall Performance.
Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie
Released in 1981 on Queen’s album Hot Space, Under Pressure marked the first time the band collaborated with another artist. Bowie had originally come to the studio to contribute backing vocals on another track for Hot Space, but a jam session with Bowie and the band evolved into a No. 1 hit. Under Pressure became Queen’s second No. 1 single on the UK Singles Chart.
What’s your favorite duet from the 80s?
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Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald – On My Own!
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