Kanye West is known for his great musical talents and creating great and sometimes quite eccentric tracks. With a history of collaborating with a long list of artists, some have been more unexpected than others. Take his recent collaboration featuring backing vocals from Beatles front-man Paul McCartney with the surprise single ‘Only One‘. The collaboration may not be described as strange as such, but it is certainly a surprising one. It’s also been reported that Kanye may be collaborating with Taylor Swift, despite him publicly snubbing her at the 2009 Grammy awards. With Kanye’s recent unexpected collaborations, we thought we’d take a look at some of the strangest music collaborations in history.
- Lou Reed and Metallica – Lulu (2011)
When one of the most pre-eminent heavy metal bands in the world collaborated with American rock and roll legend (some would say) and lead singer of the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, fans of both artists kicked up quite a fuss at the idea of the two creating a whole album together. The sales of the Lulu certainly reflected the fans attitudes with a mere 33,000 copies sold in just 3 years! Considering Metallica have a pretty good track record of album sales (their last official album release sold 500k copies in the first week alone), this seems like quite the fail. Maybe not. Despite fans not ‘getting’ the joint effort, Metallica are still proud of the album with Kirk Hammett looking back fondly at the creation of the album, calling it an ‘amazing experience’.
2. Eminem and Elton John – Stan (2001)
Probably up there with one of the most unconventional performances in pop history, Eminem and Elton John performed Stan live together at the 2001 Grammy awards. Eminem’s history of homophobia in many of his raps made this performance quite controversial, with many of Elton John’s fans surprised that he had agreed for it to take place. The performance was actually extremely good. Elton took over the lyrics that Dido sung on the released track whilst playing the piano. The pair hugged it out at the end of the performance, much to the amazement of the fans. Since the Grammy performance, it’s known that Eminem and Elton are actually really good friends, with Elton apparently helping The Real Slim Shady to overcome his drug addiction.
3. Jay-Z and Linkin Park – Collision Course (album)
One of the biggest rap artists and producers around, Jay-Z, produced and featured on the album ‘Collision Course‘ with American rock band Linkin’ Park. The album, which was released over a decade ago, was a weird mix-up of nu-metal rock music mixed up with Jay-Z raps, only lasting for just over 19 minutes (some call it an EP rather than an album). Despite being a weird mix, the album was well received and went to number 1 in the US Billboard charts and has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide! Quite surprisingly, Collision Course was the first album by Linkin’ Park to have Parental Advisory sticker – all due to Jay-Z’s profanity’s in the album!
4. The Flaming Lips and Kesha – 2012
You wouldn’t expect eccentric American rock band The Flaming Lips to want to collaborate with trashy American pop star Ke$ha, star of hit song Timber. They first collaborated with the 28 year old singer back in 2012 on their album The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. If that wasn’t enough, there were suggestions of a further collaboration on a whole album , reportedly going to be called Lipsha! Maybe it’s a good thing for all of us that this didn’t go ahead…
5. Five and Queen – We Will Rock You (2000)
Who would have thought that one of the greatest rock bands in history would have lent two of their band members and one of their greatest anthems, We Will Rock You to a 5 piece boyband from the UK? Well, this happened back in the year 2000. It probably seemed like a great idea at the time, 5ive were the biggest pop band around and looking at the bigger picture, Queen have put their name to a lot worse (Brian May has previously worked with Dappy and now he wants to pair with Korean sensation PSY!?) The 5ive and Queen venture did pay off though, the single reached number 1 in the UK making it 5ive’s ninth consecutive top ten hit. We still prefer the original obviously – why fix something that isn’t broke?
6. Arctic Monkeys and Dizzee Rascal – Temptation Greets you Like a Naughty Friend (2007)
A rapper from south-east London collaborating with an indie-rock band from Sheffield with the fastest selling debut album ever (Whatever People Say I am that’s What I’m Not) wouldn’t cross the minds of most. The venture wasn’t extensively planned and certainly wasn’t recorded to become a massive hit track as it was featured as a b-side to an Arctic Monkey’s album, Favourite Worst Nightmare. In fact, Dizzee stated that the track only took ‘about half hour’ for them to record, both Alex Turner and Dizzee penning their pieces beforehand and then joining the two together in a half-hour session. Not a bad track for minimal effort!
7. Kylie Minogue and Nick Cave – Where the Wild Roses Grow (1995)
A petite, blonde, Australian pop-star joining forces with an extremely cool rock star makes for an interesting combination. The incongruous duo, both from the land down under, paired up for ballad ‘Where the Wild Roses Grow‘ back in 1995. Nick Cave, leader singer of Nick Cave and Bad Seeds, said that he had always dreamed of working with Kylie and had wanted to write a song for her for many years. The ballad has been described as powerful and beautiful and became Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds third most successful track. They enjoyed working together so much, they joined up again last year for the film ‘20,000 Days on Earth‘, which is a documentary film is following 24 hours in the life of Nick Cave.
8. Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman – Something Stupid (2001)
When British icon and ex Take That member Robbie Williams collaborated with Australian actress Nicole Kidman it can be argued that they’d embarked on ‘Something Stupid‘. Their cover of Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s hit song from 1967 didn’t quite have the same class to it as the original. It did well however and was the lead single on Robbie’s album Swing When Your Winning.
9. Pitbull and Priyanka Chopra – Exotic (2013)
One of Bollywood’s hottest actresses, Priyanka Chopra, teamed up with Pitbull, known for his collaborations with music stars across the globe, on a track titled Exotic. Priyanka tried to make waves with a Indian infused western dance track back in September 2013, produced by RedOne and will.i.am. The track did particularly well in India but it didn’t make waves over in the US as hoped. However, the track was used as the Soundtrack for Disney film Planes.
10. Miley Cyrus and Snoop Lion – Ashtrays and Heartbreaks (2013)
Once a much-loved kids TV star named Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus could do no wrong. She then grew up, became an adult, went a little wild and decided on collaborating with legendary rapper Snoop Dogg who now prefers to go by the name of Snoop Lion. Ashtrays and Heartbreaks gathered a whopping 1 million streams on its first day of release on music streaming site Soundcloud (probably due to Miley’s help).
If you can think of any more weird, wacky or unconventional collaborations then let us know. Get in touch via Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Head over to Yamgo.com to watch our range of music channels such as 4Music and Pop Beat TV. For all the latest gossip on the biggest pop stars, watch Cover Showbiz for free right now.