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20 Weird and Wild Grammy Collaborations

Paul McCartney singing with Linkin Park and 19 more mash-ups from music’s biggest night

Paul McCartney; Jay-Z; Linkin Park

Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: Paul McCartney (C), Jay-Z (L) and Chester Bennington (R) of Linkin Park perform during the 48th Annual Grammy Awards 08 February 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty

With no shortage of the music industry's A-list under one roof, the Grammys have spent a lot of time arranging mash-ups, duets, team-ups, collaborations and medleys. Here's 20 of the most unlikely, ranging from the inspired to the WTF.

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Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: Paul McCartney (C), Jay-Z (L) and Chester Bennington (R) of Linkin Park perform during the 48th Annual Grammy Awards 08 February 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty

Yolanda Adams, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride and Florence Welch, Tribute to Aretha Franklin (2011)

Aretha Franklin was in ill health in 2011 and the Grammys' version of a get-well bouquet was a show-opening performance of her biggest hits featuring ladies from pop, R&B, country, rock and gospel. The medley felt a bit disjointed – and certain singers' ill-fitting vocal stylings made Franklin's absence from the stage even more deeply felt – but it was, at least in length, a testament to the massive back catalog of the Grammys' most-decorated female pop icon. And one person felt like a little more time could have been carved out of the broadcast – season 3 American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino, who sat out the Grammys because of what she felt was a snub. "At the end of the day, I should have been on that stage," she told The Hollywood Reporter.

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Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: Paul McCartney (C), Jay-Z (L) and Chester Bennington (R) of Linkin Park perform during the 48th Annual Grammy Awards 08 February 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty

Deadmau5 and Foo Fighters, “Rope” (2012)

Though the 2012 Grammys' celebration of EDM might have seemed a little forced, the Recording Academy didn't broker this strange collaboration: Rat-headed festival DJ Deadmau5 had already remixed the Foos' "Rope" the previous year. As mouse-eared ravers look blissfully on, a straightforward rock performance gradually gives way to buzzsaw electronics and zero-gravity bass drops. After displaying his broad musical tastes, however, Grohl drew some flak for his acceptance speech that night, where he celebrated "the human element of music," saying, "Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that's the most important thing for people to do … it's not about what goes on in a computer."

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Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: Paul McCartney (C), Jay-Z (L) and Chester Bennington (R) of Linkin Park perform during the 48th Annual Grammy Awards 08 February 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty

Metallica and Lang Lang, “One” (2014)

Metallica have always prized the virtuoso chops, complex compositions, instrumental force and high seriousness of classical music. So this collaboration with the most renowned Chinese concert pianist of his age made some sense – at least in theory. Lang Lang performed a dramatic solo prelude as flames shot up behind him, and then the ominous guitar introduction to "One" upstages him and his playing slips into the ensemble. When he competes with the guitars during the song's solo sections, he can't match their volume and his playing grows harsh and discordant to compensate – certainly a more avant-garde moment than the Grammys usually offer. Lang would be back the following year in a more conventional setting, performing "Happy" with Pharrell and Hans Zimmer.

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Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: Paul McCartney (C), Jay-Z (L) and Chester Bennington (R) of Linkin Park perform during the 48th Annual Grammy Awards 08 February 2006 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty

Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar, “Radioactive/m.A.A.d. City” (2014)

"I need y'all to recognize that Plan B is to win your hearts right here while we at the Grammys," Kendrick Lamar rapped during this mash-up of his brash good kid, m.A.A.d. city track with Imagine Dragons' stomping "Radioactive." While the lyric was a success-saluting variation on a verse he dropped at the end of 2013, the way he commanded the stage not only got Taylor Swift and Steven Tyler dancing, it turned the line into an instantly fulfilled prophecy. 

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