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We've Got Tonight - Odd Pairings in Music

Posted by Miss Ess, October 30, 2008 07:33pm | Post a Comment
With the recent advent of the Jack White/Alicia Keys James Bond theme song, a fellow employee and I paul mccartney and michael jacksongot to thinking about odd pairings. What was up with the 80s anyway? It was the era of the power ballad, which means it was also one of the main eras of odd pairings (although I do seem to remember Bob Dylan popping up in Wyclef Jean's "Gone Till November" video in the 90s, but blessedly that was not an artistic pairing).

The first one that comes to mind, of course, is Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Paul was the "cute" Beatle and Michael was the "cute" Jackson, so this seemed like it could work...until you realize that Paul lived on a Scottish farm with his wife of many years, Linda, and their children, eating vegetarian food and lovingly raising animals. Michael, on the other hand, lived on Neverland Ranch, allegedly with groups of small children shuttling in and out of his Playland, complete with caged exotic animals. And these guys duetted twice, on "Say Say Say" and also "The Girl is Mine!" Without even considering the legal issues that came about soon after the duets due to Jackson buying the Beatles' songbook despite McCartney's wishes, it's no surprise they never talked again after creating these tracks. Here's "Say Say Say":



Another odd pairing that is a favorite of mine has always been Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton's "We've Got Tonight." Kenny's a down home kind of guy, into primping but still at home in cowboy boots-- a classic Texan. Sheena's an intense, romantic gal hailing from grey Scotland and specializing in dance-pop. I think all these two had in common was that they were selling a heck of a lot of records on their own back in 1983. I've heard they really did not get along at all in the studio though. At least they could come together this once, just for this night, of course. From the intro chatter to the mic control, I absolutely love this performance:



Now that I have had a little more time to think about it, one of my very favorite odd pairings (not from the the cowboy and the lady lee hazlewood and ann-margret80s this time though) actually made for an entire album: Lee Hazlewood and Ann-Margret duetted on 1969's The Cowboy and the Lady, of course. I suppose there is a connection in that she was born in Sweden and he eventually lived there for a time, but musically they sound like they are from entirely different planets, especially as they take on "The Dark Side of the Street," with his conversational, deep dark baritone and her fluttering, operatic and over the top vocals competing back and forth. Sadly there are no videos of this bizarre duo that I could find, so you'll have to rustle up that CD here at Amoeba. Trust me, it's worth it -- perhaps the ultimate odd pairing.

There are so many fantastically weird pairings in music beyond these three examples! I will have to think of many more in the near future -- feel free to leave your own faves.

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Paul Mccartney (53), Michael Jackson (52), Kenny Rogers (8), Sheena Easton (2), The Cowboy And The Lady (1), Ann-margret (3), Lee Hazelwood (2)