Duets are a mainstay in popular music, but they don’t always have to feature two singers getting all sappy on a big power ballad.
In particular in hard rock and heavy metal, singers can join forces to up the throat-shredding factor, make things get a little weird…or, every once in a while, get all sappy on a big power ballad.
Check out these 10 great hard rock and metal duets below, and let us know what you think in the comments.
1. Lemmy Kilmister and Wendy O. Williams, “Jailbait”
Lemmy and Wendy O. was a match made in biker-rock heaven. The two collaborated a few times—in addition to this tune, they also tackled Motorhead’s “No Class” and, quite impressively, Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man.”
2. Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford, “Close My Eyes Forever”
In 1988, the Prince of Fu**ing Darkness and the then Queen of Metal teamed up for this somewhat sentimental—but undeniably monster—hit. The song appeared on Ford’s album from that same year, ‘Lita.’ It’s had such staying power that, more recently, Disturbed’s David Draiman and Halestrom’s Lzzy Hale took a stab at it on Device’s debut album.
3. Soulfly with Tom Araya, “Terrorist”
Soulfly’s 2000 album, ‘Primitive,’ features a host of guests, including Corey Taylor and Sean Lennon. For this track, Max Cavalera teamed up with Slayer’s Tom Araya for an epic shout-fest.
4. Anthrax, “Ball of Confusion”
Over the years there has plenty of confusion as to who owns the lead-singer slot in Anthrax—Joey Belladonna or John Bush. While today it is firmly back in Belladonna’s hands, at the time of this recording, Bush was (ahem) the man. This 1999 cover of the Temptations classic, however, features both frontmen. For good measure, former Anthrax bassist Dan Lilker even jumped in on the recording.
5. Elton John and Axl Rose, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Axl Rose has duetted with a surprising number and range of artists over the years, from Alice Cooper and Tom Petty to Sebastian Bach and Michael Monroe. But perhaps his best known duet is this, with Elton John at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness in London in 1992, with the remaining members of Queen as the backing band. Elton handles the piano-ballad first half, before Axl, in football jersey and kilt, comes bounding onstage post-opera section to bring it all home in grand hard rock style. And check out the smiles all around at the end!
6. In This Moment with Adrian Patrick, “The Promise”
When Adrian Patrick was initially tapped to duet with Maria Brink on this In This Moment track, it was to lay down scratch vocals that would later be replaced by a more well-known male frontman. But Patrick did such a good job that his voice stayed, and he even hit the road to perform the song with In This Moment onstage. Soon enough, his own band, Otherwise, had a record deal as well.
7. Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson, “The One You Love to Hate”
For this song from his 2000 album with his band Halford, the Judas Priest frontman paired up with perhaps the only other British metal singer as highly regarded as him—Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. This live version features the two legends onstage together—and, for good measure, former Queensryche vocalist Geoff Tate.
8. Megadeth with Cristina Scabbia, “A Tout Le Monde”
Megadeth first recorded “A Tout Le Monde” for their 1994 album, ‘Youthanasia.’ Thirteen years later, they redid it for their album ‘United Abominations,’ this time with excellent assistance from Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia.
9. Five Finger Death Punch featuring Rob Halford, “Lift Me Up”
For 2013′s ‘The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1′ FFDP brought Max Cavalera, Tech N9ne and Maria Brink on board as guests. They also opened the album with this duet between Ivan Moody and the Metal God himself, Rob Halford. That year, Halford joined FFDP onstage at Revolver’s Golden Gods award show to perform the tune.
10. Aerosmith with Run-D.M.C., “Walk This Way”
Because it will always be awesome.