This week saw the release of the music video for “Otis,” Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Otis Redding-sampling single from their new album Watch the Throne , and all their jocular tomfoolery got us to thinking about the other gents we know who have teamed up to bring us great duets, bro-on-bro style. Because after all, no girl will ever love you as well as your homeboy, right? Right. From the wonderfully cheesy to the just plain wonderful, we’ve collected some of our favorite all-man duets in music history here (you can also check out our feature on classic lady-on-lady musical collaborations, if we’ve gotten you in the mood). Click through to take a listen to our picks, and let us know which of your favorites we’ve missed after the jump!
Kanye West & Jay-Z, “Otis” 2011
It almost doesn’t bear repeating, but Kanye West and Jay-Z are both hip-hop royalty in their own right (though Kanye might be the prince to Jay-Z’s king, having gotten his rapping start on Jay-Z’s The Blueprint a decade ago), so anything they do together is probably going to be twice as good. We like this weird, playful video and the obvious fun these two are having sampling one of their heroes.
Nick Cave & Blixa Bargeld, “The Weeping Song” 1990
German musician and artist Blixa Bargeld toured with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on and off for about 20 years, and this song is the perfect example as to why they got on so well. Nick Cave’s loaded, on-edge vocals are perfectly accented by Bargeld’s deep grumblings in this ominous track.
Ray Charles & Billy Joel, “Baby Grand” 1986
There’s just no arguing with this classic. Two all-time greats laughing together before hitting us like a ton of bricks.
Phil Collins & Philip Bailey, “Easy Lover” 1984
“Easy Lover” is impossibly cheesy, but we love it anyway. Come on, it grows on you, just listen a couple more times. And hey, it sold a million copies.
Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson, “Say Say Say” 1983
Despite the abject weirdness of the music video, this is one great pop song, which is only to be expected with two of the reigning kings of pop music.
David Bowie & Bing Crosby, “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” 1982
Bowie once said that he only went on Bing Crosby’s show because he “just knew [his] mother liked him.” At the time, people weren’t sure if Crosby knew who Bowie was, but after this duet, which turned into one of the most classic Christmas songs, he sure did.
Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder, “Ebony and Ivory” 1982
Another cheese-fest turned number one single, it does have a positive message, albeit technically about the piano. “black notes, white notes, and you need to play the two to make harmony, folks!”
Freddie Mercury & David Bowie, “Under Pressure” 1981
Another classic track, this was Bowie’s first released collaboration with another musical artist, at least as a performer. Surprise, surprise, it was a number one hit and remains a much beloved single. Especially if you’re Vanilla Ice.
Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart, “Debra Kadabra” 1975
As far as we’re concerned, neither of these growling, crazy men can do any wrong, and this track balls up the fury and energy of both Zappa and the Captain into an overextended, insane romp.
Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings, “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” 1978
You know you’ve really made it when you do a duet with Willie Nelson. And man is prolific with the collaborations, so a lot of people can say they’ve made it. This track is tied with the pair’s “Good Hearted Woman” in our hearts.
Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash, “Girl From The North Country” 1969
If wistful wishing has a sound, it’s Bob Dylan’s reedy tones mixed with Cash’s intensely sweet ones, wondering after a girl they used to know.