And that so-so chart showing is a lot better than three other female megastar pairings that really misfired. Aretha Franklin and Houston teamed in 1989 for "It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Never Gonna Be," which lived up to (or I guess down to) its title when it peaked at #41. Celine Dion and Streisand teamed in 1997 for "Tell Him," which stalled at #58 on the airplay chart. Britney Spears and Madonna joined forces in 2003 for "Me Against The Music," which peaked at #35.
These three records may have languished because they brought together artists who are too similar stylistically. Some of the most successful and memorable all-female pairings have brought together artists of different genres. Streisand and Summer exemplify this dynamic, as do Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink.Shakira on "Beautiful Liar," which reached #3. Eurythmics, the British duo fronted by Annie Lennox, for the spirited "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves." The song went top 20 and became an instant feminist anthem. Gwen Stefani joined R&B singer Eve on "Let Me Blow Ya Mind." The song reached #2 and won a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Eve returned the favor four years later when she was featured on Stefani's top 10 hit "Rich Girl." Kelly Clarkson joined country queen Reba McEntire for a hit remake of Clarkson's 2005 pop smash "Because Of You."
Just coming from different worlds, though, isn't enough. The 1984 pairing of Streisand and gritty-voiced Kim Carnes, best known for "Bette Davis Eyes," was certainly unlikely, but it didn't really take off. Their single, "Make No Mistake, He's Mine," stalled at #51.
"Lady Marmalade" wasn't the first time that four female stars joined forces on a hit record. In 1996, R&B stars Brandy, Tamia, Gladys Knight and Chaka Khan teamed for "Missing You." The song, recorded for the movie Set It Off, reached #25 on the Hot 100.Salt 'n' Pepa and the R&B quartet En Vogue. The song reached #3 on the Hot 100.
There have been many all-female hits in the worlds of R&B and hip-hop. In 2008, Keyshia Cole invited Missy Elliott and Lil' Kim to join her on her top 10 hit, "Let It Go." Other notable all-female R&B pairings include Eve featuring Alicia Keys on "Gangsta Lovin'" in 2002 and Ciara featuring Missy Elliott on "1,2 Step" in 2004. Both of these singles reached #2.Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris teamed for a pair of Trio albums. The first, in 1987, went top 10 on The Billboard 200 and won a Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Trio II, in 1999, wasn't as successful, but also won a Grammy. Cece Winans for "Count On Me" from Waiting To Exhale, with Faith Evans and Kelly Price for "Heartbreak Hotel" and with Deborah Cox for "Same Script, Different Cast." Artists Stand Up To Cancer, included stars from pop (Fergie, Miley Cyrus), R&B (Beyonce, Mary J. Blige), rock (Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge) and country (Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes).
"Just Stand Up" peaked at #11. The song should have done better, but the all-star charity single genre is largely played out. The same is not true of the all-female collaboration genre. Given the right casting, as we can see from the strong showing by "Telephone," anything is possible.