General music

Great Collaborations

No artist’s an island

by Jimmy Bartolo 14 Mar 2017

When the chemistry is right, great things make their way to the surface. Not only is the art of collaborating important to exploring where your music can go, it sometimes does help to shut up, sit back and listen to what like minded creatives can do with your work. 

Whether it’s co-writing, duets, remixes or guest appearances, it’s always inspiring to see the endless possibilities of what can be done when we work together. Although it may seem daunting to find the right people to collaborate with (and they don’t come around very often), it truly is a fun experience when you can get along and not want to murder your co-creator. 

Here’s some our favorite collaborations from all corners of genre and time. 

Arcade Fire ft. David Bowie

Canadian Rock band Arcade Fire have been making incredible albums since the release of Funeral in 2004 and show no signs of slowing down. Reflektor is an album that kicked up the band’s musical pace featuring many different contributors and the multi instrumentation that the band is known for. 

Produced by James Murphy and featuring David Bowie providing guest vocals, Reflektor’s conga rhythm and uptempo disco like feel will effortlessly have you hooked till the very end.

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

Having earned a grammy award for producer of the year after working on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, Mark Ronson quickly established himself as one of the most successful artists of modern times. 

2014 proved to further verify that status with the release of Uptown Funk, a song written by Ronson and featuring none other than the Bruno Mars crew providing vocals and super smooth choreography. The song was an instant commercial success earning the producer his first UK & US number one single.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds ft. Kylie Minogue 

Who doesn’t dig a story about love, betrayal and murder? This somber ballad was written by songwriter Nick Cave and features none other than the stunning Kylie Minogue performing lead vocals alongside the composer’s baritone voice. 

Where The Wild Roses Grow was well received by music critics and became the band’s most successful single worldwide. The video is also haunting as it is visually fixating.

Aerosmith & Run DMC 

Written by Steven Tyler & Joe Perry, Walk This Way was originally released in 1975 off Aerosmith’s Toys in the attic album. Although the song peaked at number 10 as part of a string of successful hit singles, it was the remix and cover by Run DMC that would revitalize Aerosmith’s career in the 80’s and bring forth a new genre of Rock and Hip-Hop to the masses.

Electric Six ft. Jack White? 

It was one the most rocking tracks to come out after the beginning of the millennium. While bands in the 90’s were primarily writing songs about broken families, drug addiction and depression (not that there’s anything wrong with that) Electric Six on the other hand wanted to party.

Although there’s no confirmation from either side that the other lead vocal is actually Jack White, I can’t help but feature this rocking disco frenzy on here. 

On another note, if you’re into homosexual innuendos performed by a crowd of Abraham Lincoln impersonators in the White House then this other Electric Six song is just for you.

Elton John & Kiki Dee

I don’t care what anybody says—with its motown inspired sound and uplifting vocal delivery, Don’t go breaking my heart is catchy as it is musically complex. 

Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, it was originally intended to be recorded with the soulful Dusty Springfield though she ultimately withdrew the offer due to illness. The song also marks the first No.1 hit in the UK for both Elton John and Kiki Dee and to this day, remains one of the most popular duets of all time.

Crystal Castles ft. Robert Smith

Originally released on the band’s second album II using a vocoder for the lead vocals, it’s safe to say that Crystal Castles’ mix of electronic sounds and punk edge is unique, catchy and timeless. 

As much as we love the original more innocent sounding vocals, it was when The Cure frontman Robert Smith provided lead vocals on the song that would chart Not in Love to worldwide mainstream success making it a hot track for DJs and dance floors in clubs worldwide.

Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers

French house pioneers Daft Punk are no strangers to the world of collaborating and working with different artists. 2013 however proved to be their biggest venture yet. 

With guest features from numerous names in the industry such as Julian Casablancas and synth pioneer Giorgio Moroder, Get Lucky was the first of top charting singles from the album Random Access Memories and the musical duo's most expansive album in terms of sound to date. Not to mention, catchy as hell!

Carlos Santana ft. India Arie and Yo Yo Ma

Carlos Santana has been at the top of the guitar charts since his performance at the legendary Woodstock Festival over 45 years ago. It is then no surprise that such a crafted guitarist would release an album covering some of the greatest rock songs ever written by his peers. 

Guitar Heaven features guest artists from all corners of the globe spanning throughout every genre but it is the beautifully reinterpreted George Harrison composition featuring India Arie on vocals and Yo-Yo Ma on cello that makes it to our list.

Brian Wilson & Tony Asher 

Not only was this song featured on one of the most influential albums of all time, it also holds its own status as one of the greatest love songs ever to be written. 

Sung by younger brother Carl Wilson, God Only Knows has been variously cited for Brian Wilson’s harmonic complexity, musical structure and of course, its lyrics written by Tony Asher. 

The XX & Florence Welch

Dream pop outfit The XX have been making some of the most highly praised music of our generation starting with the release of their debut album XX which made its way to the top of many music critic lists and later winning the band a mercury prize. Their remix of You Got The Love caught the attention of Florence Welch herself leading to several guest appearances with the band at various festivals and stages worldwide.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds ft. PJ Harvey

Once again Nick Cave’s somber lyrics about crimes of passion make the list only this time with the charismatic PJ Harvey in yet another ballad duet. Henry Lee is a take on a traditional folklore composition arranged by Nick Cave with instrumentation performed by The Bad Seeds. The music video is also an incredible piece of work focusing mainly on body language and improvisation.

The Robert Glasper Experiment Ft Bilal

Regarded as one of the most significant and talented pianists of our time, The Robert Glasper Experiment takes R&B to a whole new eclectic level with the release of Black Radio

Although the entire album is a must listen to for anybody wanting to venture outside of traditional music harmony, my favorite has to be the arrangement of the not so popular David Bowie song Letter to Hermione featuring the incredibly talented Bilal on vocals.

Jack White & Insane Clown Posse

As far as collaborations go, this one has to be the most surprising on the list. When Detroit’s Insane Clown Posse were contacted by Jack White to collaborate on an arrangement he’d been working on for Amadeus Mozart’s Leck Mich Im Arsch (Lick my ass), it’s safe to say that even the duo didn’t know what to expect. 

The result? Well, still trying to make my mind up over here.

Jimmy Bartolo

Jimmy is Kwaver’s Music Community Evangalist. He juggles between fretboard and keyboard and is the one reaching out to our users whether to improve our app or for a quick jam.

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