Sometimes two musical talents combine their unique styles to produce classics, such as Billy Joel and Ray Charles’ “Baby Grand” or Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure.” Other times the two sounds clash in a cacophony that leaves listeners clamoring for sweet silence.
The Oracle breaks down some of the more misguided musical pairings that may have been hard on the ears, but nonetheless remain fascinating.
Mick Jagger and David Bowie 1985
Two British superstars and a classic Motown song: What could go wrong? Well, things didn’t quite go according to plan. The duo originally planned to perform “Dancing in the Street” together live via satellite, with Bowie broadcasting from his show at Wembley Stadium and Jagger from John F. Kennedy Stadium. Unfortunately, an audio delay would have ruined the performance, so they decided to cancel it.
In 1985, Jagger flew in to Abbey Road Studios, where Bowie was recording, and the two recorded the song and music video in just 13 hours. The video shows the two stars literally dancing in the streets and getting way too close to each others’ faces.
Buzz Aldrin and Snoop Dogg 2009
To get kids excited about NASA, Snoop Dogg teamed up with the only guy who’s been higher than he has. Buzz Aldrin was the second man to step foot on the moon in 1969, so of course, he’d be the best bet for a space-inspired rap song.
Snoop produced a beat, got some background singers to beef up the chorus and let a nearly 80-year-old Aldrin straight kill it. Their track, “The Rocket Experience,” was recorded for Funny or Die in 2009 to commemorate the first moon landing’s 40th anniversary. Snoop and Aldrin got help from Talib Kweli, Quincy Jones and Soulja Boy, and proceeds from the track were donated to Aldrin’s ShareSpace foundation.
Weezer and Lil Wayne 2009
Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo says in “Pork and Beans”: “Timbaland knows the way to reach the top of the charts, maybe if I work with him I can perfect the art.” One might wish he’d have just gone with Timbaland.
His 2009 collaboration with Lil Wayne, not-so-cleverly titled “I Can’t Stop Partying,” was a complete and utter sellout that contradicted all of his anti-mainstream remarks on the previous “The Red Album.”
This song feels like a desperate attempt to capture the same magic as Lil Wayne’s collaboration with Kevin Rudolf on “Let It Rock.” I have a hunch they did this just to drop the line “It’s Weezer and it’s Weezy.”
Metallica and Lou Reed 2011
A combination that features a nine-time Grammy-winning rock band and an acclaimed songwriter might seem like a match made in heaven. However, take a listen to 30 seconds off any track on Lou Reed and Metallica’s collaboration “Lulu,” and you’ll wonder if they play this in hell to torture sinners.
The album, which was released Tuesday, combines the heavy metal riffing of Metallica with the spoken-word lyrics of Reed. Rolling Stone gave the album three out of five stars, but metacritic.com has it at 39 out of 100, so it’s been far from well-received.