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When rock stars get together, wonderful things happen. Yes, collaborations are the name of the game. Here are some of our favourites.
The former Oasis man enlisted the former Smiths man's guitar talents for the track The Ballad Of The Mighty I, on his second album, Chasing Yesterday. The love-in has continued with a number of guest appearances at each other's gigs. Picture: Getty
Arcade Fire's Reflektor album is a collaborative feast. Not only did LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy produce the record, but David Bowie sang backing vocals on the title track as well!
The veteran rockers hadn't heard of the young hip hop upstarts, and wondered whether a collaboration on the 'Smith's classic song Walk This Way was a good idea. It was. Picture: Rex Features
Post second LP Favourite Worst Nightmare, Turner took a break from Arctic Monkeys and joined up with a fresh-faced Miles Kane (then with The Rascals) and came The Last Shadow Puppets. The best buds got together, donned strapping pinstriped suits, and took to the road with 12 full-blooded ballads.
In 2010 Florence Welch was the Queen of Cult Rock and Dizzee Rascal was the undisputed King of UK Rap. When they performed a mash-up of Dizzee’s Dirtee Money and Florence’s cover of Candi Staton’s You Got The Love at the BRIT Awards it felt like all the music of the past year distilled into three minutes. An official recording of the song was soon released and the pair can still be found at festivals occasionally performing their classic mix together.
2013 was the year Mumford and Sons took over the world and nothing epitomised this more than their headline slot at Glastonbury. After a knee-slapping, banjo-twanging set, the lads finished things off with a cover of The Beatles classic With A Little Help From My Friends. The Vaccines, Vampire Weekend, First Aid Kit and The Staves joined them on stage. It was an emotional performance that has gone down as a true Glastonbury moment.
While Pete Doherty has spent the last ten years working on a variety of projects and getting himself into all kinds of trouble, his delicate vocal performance on Wolfman’s For Lovers is one of his most tender moments.
“Aisha. We’ve only just met. And I think you should know: I’m a murderer.” That’s about the size of what happened when the psychedelic dance outfit Death In Vegas teamed up with punk god Iggy. The resulting track, Aisha, featured on album The Contino Sessions and earned the band a Mercury nomination.
Electronic was a supergroup consisting of ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and New Order frontman Bernard Sumner. While Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe of Pet Shop Boys and former Kraftwerk member Karl Bartos also played their part, it was mainly a Marr and Sumner synth/guitar love-a-thon. The classic Getting Away With It was born out of the partnership.
It was in the Humbug days that the Sheffield lads started hanging around (or as Homme puts it – “turning cans towards the sky”) together. Helping produce a handful of their tracks, and even providing guest vocals on Knee Socks from AM, Josh Homme collaborative influences go a long way with the Monkeys. You could even argue that their bleak, more rock-infused sound on the last few albums is a direct result of their time with the Queens frontman?
The Chemical Brother are fans of teaming up with Britpop superstars, and their partnership with The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft is no exception. The song, The Test, was a psychedelic big beat masterpiece and featured on the 2002 album Come With Us.
At the beginning of 2013 you couldn’t move for Daft Punk, and more specifically their comeback single Get Lucky. It was proof of what media hype and the greatest PR campaign in history can achieve. Whilst the soul-fuelled vocal from Pharrell took the limelight, it was the delicious funk riff provided by Nile Rodgers that really drove this tune. The result was on of the biggest pop songs of all time.
When Jack White collaborates he doesn’t do it be halves (see the previous entry about Insane Clown Posse, for God’s sake). Out of the various spots he’s popped up, the Electric Six performance is one of our favourites (so is his appearance in The Simpsons). Controversy has raged over whether it actuall is Mr White howling in the background of Danger! High Voltage, and so it remains as one of rock’s great mysteries. In the words of former Electric Six drummer M, "My attorney has advised us to neither confirm nor deny the presence of Jack White."
Not In Love was one of Crystal Castles’ strongest singles but, as with the vast majority of their music, the almost computer game style of the vocal made it tricky to get stuck into. When Robert Smith laid down his own version of the vocal, however, it became a dancefloor classic. The Cure man’s distinctive voice brought a whole new element to the track that made it more accessible and radio-friendly.
While The xx’s minimal electronica was being downloaded onto everyone’s iPod, Jamie from the band was busying himself in a world of remixing. As well as taking on the likes of Jack Penate and, who could forget, Gil Scott Heron, it was probably his reworking of Florence Welch’s take on You Got The Love that gained most attention. The singer loved the interpretation and performed the track with the band at theirlive shows.
It was one of the strangest collaborations of all time. Jack White. Insane Clown Posse. It was, Jack White (of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) and Insane Clown Posse (the I Stab People hitmakers). No body wants to remember it, but no one can forget it. While the lead single was a cover of the forgotten Mozart tune Leck Mich Im Arsch (which translates as something like Lick My Arse?) they also put a B-side together called Mountain Girls, which – as far as we can gather – is about shotgun weddings and taking meth. It’s all a bit much really.
Collaborations don’t get much bigger than The Smoking Mojo Filters, which consisted of Paul McCartney, Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher. Contributing a cover of Come Together for the first War Child album, Helop, the track became a firm favourite. To be fair, with a line up like that, the track was only ever going to be loved.
Fairytale Of New York is probably the most famous, credible and touching Christmas song ever written. Originally set to be a duet between bassist Cait O’Riordan and Shane MacGowan, O’Riordan left the band in 1986 before the recording. The remaining members got solo artist Kirsty MacColl on board and the rest is Chrimbo history.
Although he made no secret of his desire to play with Queens Of The Stone Age, Dave Grohl didn’t make an appearance till their third record - Songs For The Deaf. The result was an instant classic that shot QOTSA to the top of the rock list and proved that Mr. Grohl’s still got it with the sticks.
It was on the 1995 album Mirror Ball where Pearl Jam joined forces with folk legend Neil Young. The record and tour that followed were praised by fans and critics alike. The two went together like peanut butter and jam – if that’s your thing – as they were suitably dubbed Neil Jam as a result.
Aside from the fact that they made two cracking tunes, Noel Gallagher’s collaboration with The Chemical Brothers helped continue to break down the boundaries between rock and dance. Setting Sun and Let Forever Be were psychedelic gems that pushed The Chemical Brothers to the forefront, whilst displaying Noel’s musical intelligence at the same time. More than anything though, the tracks are proud nods to Lennon’s Tomorrow Never Knows – and you can’t get much better than that.
Can you recall what the buzz was like when this got announced? We were ready to throw our Cave LPs in the bin (this was before CD recycling facilities were around). But, to our surprise, Nick made the ex-Neighbours star credible with Where The Wild Roses Grow – a bleak, devastating tale of murder and betrayal.
Bonkers actor Keith Allen. The bassist from Blur. And a bucket of Vindaloo. Vindaloo. “Fat Les”. That is all that needs to be said.
Super producer Nigel Godrich has worked with every great band from U2 to R.E.M. His most notable work, of course, is his role within Radiohead (he’s even been labeled as the sixth member). In 2009 Yorke and Godrich finally took the plunge and started their own side-project called Atoms For Peace. The deep electronic tunes were driven by swirling basslines so the pair, naturally, employed the greatest bassist in the world to pull them off – Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea.
When it was announced that Tom Smith (Editors) and Andy Burrows (Razorlight, I Am Arrows, We Are Scientists) were going to be writing a Christmas album together people were scepitcal to say the least. Certainly no one expected one of the best modern day Christmas songs to come out of it. But When The Thames Froze is a delicate, haunting festive treat that has instantly become a seasonal favourite.
Due to Bono’s unexpected spinal operation in 2010, U2 had to postpone their debut Glastonbury headline slot (don’t worry, they smashed the Pyramid Stage just one year later). Fans were understandably disappointed, but when Muse stepped onto the iconic stage with a proud looking Edge next to them, it was a Glastonbury moment and a sign of what was to come.
Tequila swigging Josh Homme is no stranger to collaborations, but Them Crooked Vultures was perhaps his most ambitious. Not only did he grab old pal Dave Grohl to wallop the drums, he also employed Led Zeppelin hero John Paul Jones to slap the bass. The album was a rock feast, which included the single New Fang.
Yes – of course we couldn’t forget Brian Eno. Glam rock star turned forward thinking electronic God, Brian Eno has been behind some of the biggest records of the last thirty years. He’s worked with James Blake, Coldplay, U2, Talking Heads, Air, James, David Bowie, M.I.A., Pavement, Unkle, Jay-Z, (takes breath) Massive Attack, Oasis, Bob Dylan and even – wait for it – Jason Donovan! The man is a true legend and a testament to the art of collaboration.
Yeah – we love it too.