An alarming amount of lazy musicians maintain they're still working together and could conceivable release something in the next decade. I ignored dynamic duos who performed in bigger organizations. Therefore, Lennon and McCartney were ineligible. "The Ballad of John and Yoko" may be all them, but it's still credited as Beatles, The.
But that still leaves plenty of quality twosomes to remember. The ranking was, as always, carefully programmed, with positions mostly determined by how I typed them out in the first place. Maybe you enjoy cutting and pasting, but I find it annoying.
24) Zager and Evans: "In the Year 2525," a number one hit in 1969, when we were all led to believe man landed on the moon in preparation for an MTV ad campaign, is arguably the greatest song ever written about the year 2525, which none of us now living will be able to confirm its accuracy. The duo smartly put Zager ahead of Evans, knowing full well the "Z" catalog would put this near Frank Zappa as opposed to the Easybeats.
22) Richard and Linda Thompson: Their divorce album, Shoot Out the Lights, makes them all the more legendary. Sure, Richard on his worst day can outplay just about anyone on guitar, and Linda, even when her vocal cords are paralyzing, can outsing the auto-tuned geniuses that litter the computer-as-music generation (don't get me wrong, I love machines!), but everyone knows complacency and good manners are instantly forgettable. Linda with a bottle, looking to smash it on Richard's head, is a ratings winner. Everyone take your chances on the Wall of Death.
20) The Carpenters: As a child of the 1970s, I will forever associate the warm, dulcet tones of Karen Carpenter with the whirring of the dentist drill. Dental assistants today may be chatting about the merits of the Ramones, but back in the 1970s there was a world order that kept things in their proper place and lite-FM played elevator music and sweet, goopy ballads that reeked of old lady perfume and hard, hard candy. Tonight, let's make love to the Lettermen, darling.
18) Richard and Mimi Farina: So much ink was spilled about Joan Baez and Bob Dylan being so important to the folk movement, but it was Joan's kid sister Mimi and her husband Richard who cranked out several albums of autoharp-folkie glory!
16) David & David: Consisting of David Baerwald and David Ricketts, David & David had a modest hit with "Welcome To The Boomtown" before disbanding after just one album. They continued to work with other musicians and were an integral part of Sheryl Crow's Tuesday Night Music Club, whose success created a bit of rancor among the ranks.
14) Outkast: Andre 3000 and Big Boi grabbed attention by taking hip-hop and adding plenty of other styles to the mix to make it more palatable for folks who aren't so enthusiastic about the hip and the hop. They are said to still be together, but words from Andre 3000 made it sound as if new work wasn't in the making. I suppose as long as the members of a duo are alive, there is always a chance they aren't broken up. But until the money talks...
12) Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell: Terrell collapsed in Marvin's arms onstage at a concert in Virginia. It was discovered that young Tammi had a brain tumor. It ended her performing career and took her life less than three years later. I should really let Kris Kristofferson narrate this one.
10) Sonny and Cher: Though time and commercial radio has reduced them to "I Got You Babe," this duo also had a hit TV show and several other hits. He went into politics and Cher went into acting, singing and being Cher. Their daughter, now son, Chaz Bono is currently more famous than either of them.
8) England Dan and John Ford Coley:
When you learn that "England Dan" was from Texas and that "John Ford" was actually John Edward Coley, and even worse England Dan is the younger brother of Jim Seals, who was in the duo "Seals and Crofts," who have not been put on this list, due to me not thinking of them in time, well, then, it's time to question if anything you know for sure is for sure. Could the government be lying to us? Am I not really in the Witness Protection Program?
6) Sam and Dave: Sure, they inspired The Blues Brothers, who missed this list because there have to be some limits -- though, evidently not many. But anyone who has listened to Sam Moore reach those high notes knows what they were. When Elvis Costello went to cover "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down," he didn't dare attempt it their way. Because even Costello knew there had to be limits.
4) Milli Vanilli: Sure, they've been a punchline for years, attacked for not actually singing on their records and lip-synching in performances. By today's standards, they should be golden gods, an inspiration for SuperBowl half-time performers and others who understand that dancing and jumping around can't be sacrificed just to sing a few notes. Who would pay to see someone stand still? We can't all be Adele!
2) Simon and Garfunkel: Are they back together again? When the money isn't talking, neither are these "old friends" from Queens, who if you've ever seen the two interviewed are very different people, each with outsized egos and meticulous natures. It's what made their harmonies and arrangements so detailed and perfect. I wouldn't want to be their personal assistants. "Yes, Mr. Garfunkel, I'm certain I pressed your Levi's."
- Arts & Entertainment
- Richard Buckner
- Jerry Garcia
- David Ricketts
- David Baerwald