20 Greatest Duos of All Time – Rolling Stone
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20 Greatest Duos of All Time

The two-live crews who perfected the pair

simon and garfunkel

Douglas R. Gilbert/Redferns

Less narcissistic than solo performers, more intimate than a mere "band," musical duos embody a special chemistry. Sometimes that announces itself in genetically enhanced voices; at other times through a subtle yin-yang of two halves creating a whole. These 20 duos have stood the test of time, even if their relationship was only temporary, and created sounds that are theirs alone. Because, as one memorable duo (Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston) and then another (Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock) stated on separate occasions: It takes two. By Richard Gehr and Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

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2. Ike & Tina Turner

It's well-documented why these two were a toxic pairing – Ike's physical abuse was so extreme that when she finally broke it off in 1976, she hid out and bought a gun for protection, just in case. It's a horrific legacy that clouds their decades of collaboration, which happen to be some of the most indelible American music ever. Imagine "Proud Mary" without Tina's crackly whorl and Ike's baritone counter-melody? Hell, imagine the Rolling Stones' music if they had never toured with them? Ike & Tina's versatile interchange traversed genre like none before them – from folk and funk and country to deep soul, psych, and even musicals – while reinventing what a rock and roll performance could be via their onstage energy (and Tina's leg-power dances for days). Tina has understandably not wished to be associated with Ike for three decades, even forgoing their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction (Phil Spector accepted the award in her stead). But their contributions to rock, both mutually and separately, will never be forgotten.

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1. The Everly Brothers

Actual brothers Don and Phil grew up harmonizing together in Iowa, and Tennessee, and once their harmonic style took over the airwaves in the Fifties, the influence of Appalachia infiltrated the burgeoning rock movement, spreading pretty vocals to legends like Buddy Holly. A little falsetto, a little alto, a little love song, and heartthrobs were born. But more importantly, it's nigh impossible to imagine the the decade without invoking their biggest hits: "Bye Bye Love," "Wake Up Little Susie," and "All I Have to Do is Dream" embodied the era's post-war calm, as the country settled into upward mobility, suburbs, and the vast possibility of American highways. They soundtracked a turning point, however brief; but their influence crossed generations: the Beatles, the Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel, the Bee Gees, Green Day, and beyond.

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