11 Great Rock Collaborations

11 Great Rock Collaborations

queen bowie
L: Freddie Mercury of Queen (Photo by Lex van Rossen/MAI/Redferns/Getty Images) R: David Bowie (Photo by Gus Stewart/Redferns/Getty Images)

There’s something so exciting when we see two or more of our favourite artists get together to create some magic. While collaborations are now commonplace in the pop charts, they have been around for a long time, and we’ve trawled the internet to bring you some of the best. If we’ve missed your favourite musical alliance please share it on our Facebook page here, for us to check out!

David Bowie and Queen “Under Pressure

Written and recorded in 1981 in collaboration with David Bowie this song was included on Queen's 1982 album Hot Space. The song reached number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the band's second number-one hit in their home country (after 1975's "Bohemian Rhapsody," which topped the chart for nine weeks).  

This song was played live at every Queen concert from 1981 until the end of Queen's touring career in 1986. David Bowie performed it live at Glastonbury Festival in 2000 with his bassist Gail Ann Dorsey taking on Freddie's vocals. That version will be included in the forthcoming Bowie release, Glastonbury 2000, available to pre-order here. 

Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas “Smooth

A collaboration between Latin rock icon Santana and Matchbox Twenty vocalist Rob Thomas. It won three Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. Not only was it the final number-one Hot 100 hit of the 1990s, it was also the number-two Hot 100 hit of the 20th century. "Smooth" is the only song to appear on two decade-end Billboard charts. In 2013, "Smooth" was ranked the second most successful song of all time by Billboard.

Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue “Where The Wild Roses Grow

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds most successful single worldwide reaching # 3 in Norway, top five in Australia, top twenty in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and New Zealand. It reached number 8 in Triple J's Hottest 100 1995. In 2012, NME listed the song in the "100 Best Songs of the 1990s" at number 35.

Neil Young and Pearl Jam “Rockin’ In The Free World

Right after whipping the crowd at the 1993 VMAs into a frenzy with "Animal," Pearl Jam brought out surprise guest Neil Young and managed to up the energy in the room even more. This was Young at the height of his Godfather of Grunge stage, making him the single coolest classic rock figure in the world. Pearl Jam had been playing "Rockin' in the Free World" since early 1992, but this was the first time they ever do it with Young. The combination was explosive and two years later they teamed up in the studio to record Mirror Ball.

Meatloaf and Cher “Dead Ringer For Love

Cher contributed to writing this song but remains uncredited. She also never performed the song live, and the only footage of Cher and Meatloaf doing this song together is this official music video.

Mick Jagger and David Bowie “Dancing In The Street

Originally written by Marvin Gaye, it first became popular in 1964 when recorded by Martha and the Vandellas whose version reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #4 in the UK Singles Chart. It is one of Motown's signature songs and has been covered by the Mamas & the Papas and Van Halen but it was 1985s cover by David Bowie and Mick Jagger that took the song to #1.

George Harrison and Eric Clapton “While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Written by George Harrison and on the Beatles’ 1968 White Album, the recording includes a lead guitar part played by Eric Clapton, although he was not formally credited for his contribution.

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" ranks 136th on Rolling Stone's 'The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time', seventh on the magazine's list of the '100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time', and tenth on its list of 'The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs'.

This version also includes Ringo Star, Elton John and Phil Collins... PHWOAR!! 

Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around

The first single from Stevie’s 1981 solo album Bella Donna. It is, however, the only song on the album that was not written or co-written by Nicks, but by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. It was A&R mogul Jimmy Iovine who suggested Stevie sing on the track.

Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen “Beat It

Eddie Van Halen was asked to add a guitar solo by producer Quincy Jones, and initially, he thought it was a prank call. Having established that the call was genuine, Van Halen borrowed an amp and recorded his guitar solo free of any charge. "I did it as a favor", the musician later said. "I was a complete fool, according to the rest of the band, our manager and everyone else. I was not used. I knew what I was doing – I don't do something unless I want to do it.”  Van Halen recorded his contribution following Jones and Jackson arriving at the guitarist's house with a demo of the song.   

INXS and Jimmy Barnes “Good Times

Originally released by The Easybeats in ’68, this cover version from 1987 by INXS and Jimmy Barnes appeared in the Joel Schumacher film The Lost Boys. This version reached #2 in Australia, as well as obtaining chart positions in both the U.S. (where it peaked at #47) and UK (where it peaked at #18, in 1991). The video clip features INXS and Jimmy Barnes performing the song, with scenes intercut from The Lost Boys. Consequently, The Lost Boys film turns 30 this month and the entire soundtrack is a ripper, you can check it out here on Spotify. 


Iggy Pop and Kate Pierson (The B52s) “Candy

This song is from Iggy Pop’s ninth solo album, Brick by Brick. The song is a duet with Kate Pierson of The B-52's, and was released as the album's second single in September 1990. It’s the biggest mainstream hit of Pop's career, as he reached the US Top 40 chart for the first and only time with it.

Related Posts