More Great Aussie Duets

More Great Aussie Duets

great aussie duets
Neil Finn and Paul Kelly, 2014 (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Some of you enjoyed our first look at some classic Australian duets, which ranged from Nick & Kylie to Ernie & Denise and many points in between. You can read Part 1 here. 

So, we thought we'd dig a bit deeper and find a few more for you. From the not-unexpected like Neil Finn & Paul Kelly to the surprising, like Delta Goodrum & Gurrumul - with a bit of blues thrown in from Kevin Borich & Dutch Tilders and Wilson Diesel - there's something here for everybody. Let us know if we've missed your favourite!

Johnny Farnham & Jimmy Barnes – When The War Is Over 

It's Barnsey & Farnsy... What else can we say? They both love a duet these fellas... As we shall see.

Ross Wilson & The Angels - Cool World

Although Ross Wilson has always been a rocker at heart, some of the 80s Mondo Rock stuff is probably a bit slick for some Oz Rock fans. What better way to roughen it up then, than have none other than the Angels back the Boss up on a track. This version of "Cool World" works a treat, and has the prerequisite grunt required for the occasion, which was a benefit for ailing rocker Ted Mulry. Unfortunately, this was only ever released on DVD, but it's worthy of repeated play. 

John Farnham & Shirley Strachan – Women In Uniform  

Did people really used to dress like this??? Jeez... Anyway, the TV-style mix sucks any guts the band are putting into this, but it's a bit of history for sure. Skyhooks' great rocker, a song loud and hard enough for Iron Maiden to record early in their career, performed live on Hey Hey It's Saturday by Shirl and Farnsy. The link here is Greg Macainsh, who of course wrote the song, and played bass for Farnham for a few years after Skyhooks ended. You've probably spotted him in the "You're The Voice". And, yep that's Greg's fellow former Skyhook Red Symons in there too; it was Hey Hey after all... We guess their sound guy didn't like him.  

Neil Finn & Paul Kelly – Leaps & Bounds/Better Be Home Soon

Taken from the great Kelly/Finn tour of 2013, and the resulting Goin' Your Way 2CD/DVD release. Two of our greatest singer-songwriters (with apologies to New Zealand), two men as in love with words as they are with melody, Neil & Paul together meant a seemingly endless string of great songs (29 across the 2 CDs) and great singing. The band, with Paul's nephew Dan Kelly on guitar and Neil's youngest son Elroy on drums and acoustic guitar, are pretty great too, making the whole set a joy.


Mark Seymour & Eddie Vedder – Throw Your Arms Around Me

Okay, one Australian and one American, but it's an Australian classic and a song that people will be singing and duetting on for decades to come. Someday someone will do a version of this and take it to the top of the charts around the world. It's that kind of song.

Delta Goodrem & Gurrumul - Bayini

You weren't expecting this, were you? Neither were we. Good onya Delta, and good onya The Voice for putting Gurrumul in front of your audience. 

Paul Kelly, Dan Sultan & A.B. Original – Took The Children Away/The Children Came Back/Dumb Things

From the 2017 APRA Awards – a tribute to the great Archie Roach. Starts off with Dan nailing the first verses of "Took The Children Away". Paul Kelly comes on to help A.B. Original through their powerful interpretation of the song, called "The Children Came Back", then it's all in for a version of PK's "Dumb Things", which kicks off in the style of A.B.Original's Like A Version cover of the song before moving into more familiar ground. A powerful duet (and then some) with cross-cultural and cross-musical implications. 

Johnny Farnham & Allison Durban - Baby Without You

Back in the days when they were our reigning King and Queen of Pop, Johnny (pre-Farnsey) and Allison Durban recorded the hit album Together. While it didn't match the success they were both having individually, "Baby Without You" did crack the Top 20. Which leaves us wondering how a Dave Graney & Christine Anu album in 1986 might've fared.

Jimmy Barnes & Tex Perkins – Bottle of Wine

Okay, so we've avoided the obvious source for Australian covers – Rockwiz (and we have a whole article dedicated to it here) – but couldn't pass this one up from Barneys' ongoing My First Gig live series on the telly. ILYOS has vivid (if drunken) memories from the early 80s of seeing a very young Tex Perkins – or Tex Deadly as he was known at the time – at the Tote singing this one up front of Tex Deadly & The Dum Dums, who sounded pretty much exactly like Johnny Cash meets the Cramps. Written by folkie Tom Paxton, "Bottle Of Wine" was a classic 60s country drinking song and something that both these chaps know something about we're guessing.  

Wilson Diesel (Chris Wilson & Johnny Diesel) – I Can't Stand The Rain

A fabulously imagined pairing of Australia's deepest blues singer and harmonica player Chris Wilson and most commercially successfully blues-rock singer/guitarist Diesel was a deserved success for both parties in 1996, and helped to break Wilson outside of his Melbourne home. It was great to hear Wilson's booming voice on the radio when this funky Ann Peebles cover became the album's hit single. 

Kevin Borich & Dutch Tilders - The Blues Had A Baby and They Called It Rock'n'Roll

Wilson & Diesel weren't the first two Australian blues artists to pair up. Heroic La De Das guitarist Kevin Borich and archetypical Melbourne bluesman Dutch Tilders teamed up for a much-loved album in 1980, and this thumping version of Muddy Waters' classic "The Blues Had A Baby and They Called It Rock'n'Roll" appropriately served as its title track.  

Gotye & Kimbra - Somebody That I Used To Know

One of the biggest hits of 2011, "Somebody That I Used To Know" seemingly came out of nowhere and took Melbourne's Wally De Backer – aka Gotye– and New Zealand's Kimbra – to the top of the charts around the world. Gotye was already a couple of albums in and had won two ARIA's and was hugely popular on JJJ when it happened. Still, it obviously had an adverse effect: he responded to the attention by retreating to his Melbourne pub band the Basics. A shame because it's a great and memorable song.  

Kate Ceberano & Steve Kilbey (with Sean Sennett) - Monument City Lights, 1973

We'll finish off with something recent – the first track from a forthcoming release by Kate Ceberano, Steve Kilbey and noted Queensland songwriter Sean Sennett. Ceberano and Kilbey don't seem like an obvious pairing, but there's definitely something going on here. A cool track which will please Church fans and proves that Kate can sing anything, this would've been a certified smash in the late 80s. 

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