Ask Billboard: Readers' Favorite Charted Odd Couples

Ask Billboard: Readers' Favorite Charted Odd Couples

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


READERS' FAVORITE CHARTED ODD COUPLES

Hi Gary,

Chart Beat reader Chris Feldman had a great suggestion in asking for "odd couples" who've teamed up musically. Here are a few of my favourites:

Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson
The debonair Spaniard and the scruffy country outlaw made an unusual, but perfect, team on "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" (1984), which reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 in Canada. The song marked Iglesias' first appearance on Country Songs, where the song reached No. 1.

Rosie O'Donnell and Cher
The multi-media forces teamed for "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" (1999), from O'Donnell's album "A Rosie Christmas."

Bryan Adams and Melanie Chisholm
My home country's legendary rocker joined with "Sporty Spice" of the Spice Girls for "When You're Gone" (1998), a No. 11 hit in Canada (and No. 3 in Britain). In 2005, Adams re-recorded the song with another unlikely duet partner, Pamela Anderson (!)

Sarah Brightman and Paul Stanley
The British popera star stole a Kiss (member) for "I Will Be With You" (2008), from Brightman's album "Symphony."

Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield
The British electronic-pop duo joined forces with the '60s folk-pop star for the 1988 No. 2 "What Have I Done to Deserve This?," her first top 10 since 1969.

DNA and Suzanne Vega
The British dance duo is best remembered for its overhaul of folk singer Vega's former a capella album cut from 1987. The remix hit No. 5 on the Hot 100 in 1991.

Clint Eastwood and Merle Haggard

Film star Eastwood is known for his love of jazz music, but in 1980 he joined forces with country star Haggard for "Bar Room Buddies" a No. 1 country hit from the film "Bronco Billy."

Thank you, Chris, for suggesting this interesting topic.

Blair Buchta
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada



Hi Gary,

Per the topic of unexpected musical pairings, not so much for their sounds, but the accident that led to Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond's duet version of "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" deserves a mention.

A clever Kentucky DJ, Gary Guthrie, combined each artist's solo recordings to create a 1978 Hot 100 No. 1 and what I consider one of the best love songs of all-time.

Thanks!

Tommy Marx
Wichita, Kansas


Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


READERS' FAVORITE CHARTED ODD COUPLES

Dear Gary,

Regarding this week's odd duets feature, these are some of the oddest pairings to me:

UB40 and Chrissie Hynde / Cher and Beavis and Butthead
Reggae and rock met on the UB40 and Hynde 1985 No. 28 Hot 100 remake of Sonny and Cher's 1965 No. 1 pop hit. In 1993, Cher and MTV's Beavis and Butthead bubbled under the Hot 100 (No. 8) with their bizarre rendition of the song. Speaking of Cher, happy 65th birthday to the icon today (May 20)!

The Fat Boys and the Beach Boys
Only the 'boys' in their names seemed similar, as the rap and pop groups, respectively, reached No. 16 in 1988 with "Wipeout."

Barbra Streisand and Don Johnson
The diva duetted with the "Miami Vice" star on the 1988 No. 25-peaking ballad "Till I Loved You."

Art of Noise and Tom Jones
The group and '60s star sent their cover of Prince's 1986 No. 1 "Kiss" to No. 31 in 1989.

Was (Not Was), Ozzy Osbourne and Kim Basinger
With Basinger on vocals, the credits explain for themselves the varied lineup of artists on this 1992 No. 4 U.K. hit.

Eminem and Dido

His rapping mixed with her ethereal vocals on "Stan" (No. 51, 2000). Eminem's performance of the song with Elton John at the 2001 Grammy Awards was surreal.

Jack White and Alicia Keys
The teaming of rock and rap soloists on "Another Way to Die" reached No. 81 on the Hot 100 in 2008.

Plus, a duet where the featured artists went uncredited: Run-D.M.C.'s 1986 No. 4 rap/rock hit "Walk This Way" featured Aerosmith's Steven Tyler on vocals and Joe Perry on guitar.

Kindest Regards,

Elias Svinos
Kos, Greece


Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


READERS' FAVORITE CHARTED ODD COUPLES

Hi Gary,

This "odd couple" invitation was just too fun to resist!

Since this topic was inspired by a current hot comedy album, the Lonely Island's "Turtleneck & Chain," with its Michael Bolton collaboration "Jack Sparrow," how "aboot" "Take Off (To the Great White North)" by Canadian characters Bob and Doug McKenzie featuring hard rocker Geddy Lee from Canada's Rush?

It was a rare day when iconic actor Vincent Price recorded the spoken parts for the title track of the RIAA's best-selling studio album of all-time, Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

Jay-Z hasn't been shy about incorporating atypical hip-hop stylings, from sampling the Broadway musical "Annie" for his "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" (1998) to the Linkin Park mash-up "Numb/Encore" in 2004.

Other unique pairings that come to mind: Sting with Algerian singer Cheb Mami on the No. 17 Hot 100 hit "Desert Rose" (2000); country star Kenny Chesney with evergreen reggae group the Wailers on the 2008 Country Songs topper "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven"; and, Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger taking the lead on the Jacksons' 1984 comeback hit, "State of Shock" (No. 3), after the King of Pop had paired with former Beatle Paul McCartney on "The Girl Is Mine" (No. 2) and "Say Say Say" (six weeks at No. 1).

Pablo Nelson
Berkeley, California



Hi Gary,

No list of unusual duets would be complete without these two Elton John pairings: with RuPaul on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," a No. 92 hit on the Hot 100 in 1994, and Tupac on "Ghetto Gospel," which co-opted John's 1971 song "Indian Sunset."

Also, in an uncredited role, actress Daryl Hannah helped out Jackson Browne and Clarence Clemons on "You're a Friend of Mine" (No. 18, 1986). Hannah, Browne's then-girlfriend, sang backing vocals and appeared in the song's video.

Best,

Patrick Kelly
Brampton, Ontario, Canada


Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


ASK BILLBOARD: HOME CHARTS EDITION, CONTINUED

Hi Gary,

Love your column and really enjoy the "home charts" piece you've been running. I thought I was the only one in the world who made my own chart!

I make mine in a way that reminds me a little of radio in the '70s, when you could hear a much more diverse mix of music genres than you can on most radio stations today. I believe a lot of people would still like it today, as evidenced by MTV (at least in the days when they were really focused on music): pop, urban/rhythmic, R&B, hip-hop, some rock, maybe some dance and even a little country (once in a while). Forget fantasy football; "fantasy program director" is where it's at!

My top 10 this week:

LW TW Title, Artist
- 10 "Judas," Lady Gaga
9 9 "Roll Up," Wiz Khalifa
5 8 "Look at Me Now," Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes
8 7 "Far Away," Marsha Ambrosius
4 6 "Just Can't Get Enough," the Black Eyed Peas
7 5 "On the Floor," Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull
6 4 "Sure Thing," Miguel
3 3 "E.T.," Katy Perry featuring Kanye West
2 2 "Rope," Foo Fighters
1 1 "Rolling in the Deep," Adele

Matthew Stewart
Oakland, California



Hi Gary,

I love these articles about home charts and wanted to share my story.

My first music chart was a top 20 in January 1989 when I was just 15 years old. My first No. 1 was "Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson. Over the years, the chart's depth has varied; sometimes 20, others 10 or five. (It's been a 10-spot chart since December 2001).

One factor on my chart has been that, as a Christian, I've wanted to keep it as "clean" as possible, so I have banned songs that I believe have sexually-charged lyrics. Thus, no chart entrances for songs like "Justify My Love" or "Erotica" by Madonna. Even if only a few of a song's lyrics are questionable, I've often decided not to allow it on my chart. Ironically, Madonna holds the record for most No. 1s on my chart - 28! 1989's "Like a Prayer" was her first and 2009's "Celebration" her most recent.

In 2005, I began to incorporate Spanish language songs onto the list. Living in Puerto Rico at the time, I began to listen to some great Latin pop music. My first Spanish language No. 1 was "La Camisa Negra" by Juanes, which was followed by another Latin No. 1, "La Tortura" by Shakira featuring Alejandro Sanz.

I call my chart the Wichie Chart (pronounced wee-chee), as "Wichie" was my childhood nickname. I also refer to it as the WC Chart. Compiling it over the years has been so fun, but recently I decided to stop. The state of music today is not the same to me as it was 20, 10 or even five years ago. I simply don't like as much current songs as I used to.

I'm glad to say, however, that this series of articles has inspired me once again! I've reinstated the chart (five positions), with "E.T." by Katy Perry my current No. 1 (the original version; Kanye West's rap is not "clean" enough for me. Sorry ...)

I hope others continue sharing their stories. It's very interesting how each of us has our own way of ranking our favorite songs each and every week.

Thanks for the opportunity to write about my personal chart. I'm happy to know that I'm not the only one.

Luis De Jesus
Orlando, Florida


Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


'IDOL' THOUGHTS

Watching TV used to be relaxing.

Recently, however, between rooting for the Boston Bruins in the NHL playoffs (plus another Boston competitor, newly-crowned champion "Boston Rob" on "Survivor") and following up to three hours a week of "American Idol," sitting on the couch has never been so stressful an exercise (to use the last word liberally).

Having predicted in "Ask Billboard" March 4 that Lauren Alaina would finish first this season (with Scotty McCreery eighth and Haley Reinhart, who departed last night, seventh), I could still successfully complete my first season attempting to gauge the eventual "Idol" victor Wednesday (May 25).

Regardless of the outcome, "Idol" offers its first all-country final faceoff Tuesday, and Radio-info.com's Phyllis Stark (formerly Billboard's Nashville bureau chief) is already seeking feedback on how Alaina and McCreery could eventually fare at country radio.

Programmer reaction to her "Stark Country" column Tuesday (May 17) proved overwhelmingly negative toward McCreery while somewhat more favorable toward Alaina, based on their "Idol" performances and personas to-date.

In yesterday's follow-up, however, several country programmers and consultants expressed dismay over such harsh relatively early judgment of the teen singers.

"With all due respect to the anti-Scotty voices," consultant Joel Raab told Stark, "I can say that country radio has an opportunity to gain new listeners by playing music from these 'American Idol' finalists. Of course the music has to be there, but I think stations will miss an opportunity to expand our reach by being hypercritical of artists who have instant recognition.

"It's great for the format that (each) of the finalists is a country artist. Why are WE knocking them down before they even have a chance to grow?"

"Let me get this straight," added KRTY (95.3)/San Jose, Calif., GM Nate Deaton, "One of the top-rated television shows in the country for the past 12 weeks has been showcasing our format to millions of potential listeners. Two of the finalists sing country music in almost every performance.

"These two folks are still in the competition because they get over 25 million votes each week, and we are going to say 'Sorry, we are not interested.' ARE YOU CRAZY?

"We will welcome Scotty and Lauren with open arms. Please bring your legion of fans to our format."

Read Stark's revealing columns on the topic in their entirety here.

Have a great weekend (with, hopefully, as much stress-free TV viewing as possible, i.e., the 2011 Billboard Music Awards Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC) and, as always, follow Billboard.com's complete coverage of the 10th season of "American Idol." Please feel free to share your opinions in the comments section below or by e-mailing askbb@billboard.com.