Music brings us together. But it brings some of us really together. In the past, we've looked at married couples and that was awfully fun, but how about those couples where you're really not sure what's going on. I mean, they could be doing something funky. But probably not. Though the long studio hours and the constant gazing into one another's eyes could lead somewhere no one was expecting. Sparks fly after all. Especially in creative endeavors. Or so I'm told. As a devoutly unsuccessful musician myself, I wouldn't know first-hand. I can tell you, "tape doesn't lie," "that can't be fixed in the mix" and "could you pay first?" are very common expressions in the recording industry and repeated even to the most talented performers, I'm assured.
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: Just this past year, old Percy himself, Bob Plant, came down from Mt. Zeppelin and joined that bluegrass fiddle girl Alison Krauss for an album of duets that deserves kudos just for digging up a Gene Clark song, if not for the rest of its unexpected splendor. Yes, Raising Sand is quite the accomplishment. But I must disagree with the all-wise computer that decided if people enjoyed Raising Sand they would also enjoy The Very Best of Mick Jagger. In a word, no.
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell: Tammi Terrell died in 1970 at the age of 24 of a malignant brain tumor. She had collapsed on stage in Marvin Gaye's arms back in 1967. But before health issues curbed her career, she and Marvin recorded songs like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Ain't Nothing But The Real Thing" and "You're All I Need to Get By." You know, songs that helped define soul music for that era and that would eventually sustain the career of long distance telephone company spokesinger Michael McDonald.
Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell: You take a guy from the Screaming Trees and match him up with the gal from Belle And Sebastian and next thing you know you've got a Nancy Sinatra-Lee Hazlewood scenario on your hands. Ballad Of The Broken Seas was a heckuva album and would've made for a heckuva tour, but Lanegan didn't show up and Campbell ended up singing to an empty chair. Either that or he did show up and they played the whopping FOUR UK gigs that are listed on her website. Who needs facts? (Well, apparently you do--Ed.) (Rob, if you're going to start writing your own editor's notes, how about writing your own checks, too?--Real Ed.)
Barry Gibb and Barbra Streisand: In 1980, Barry Gibb and Barbra Streisand scared the hell out of the musical world with their album Guilty. Both were hugely successful performers and to see the two of them huddled together in white on the cover of their album and on the ensuing posters that were plastered over the walls of record stores unironically caused many young people of that era to always fear the worst when it came to superstar collaborations. That the duo would get back together 25 years later and record something called Guilty Pleasures and huddle in black, well, I wasn't even sure if it was real!
Simon and Garfunkel: Sure, sure, you wanted me to list Hedge and Donna. I get your emails! I just go my own way. There was no cuter couple than this Ernie and Bert configuration of L'il Paul Simon and fuzzy-headed Art Garfunkel. That the two of them looked so uncomfortable on stage together even when they allegedly got along makes you wonder how they ever managed to sound so smooth, so relaxed and so perfect at the same time. It's as if they knew if they looked at one another that one would turn to stone and one into a pillar of salt. So they didn't. And they each eventually went solo with varying results.