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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Greatest Duets of All Time

“Under Pressure,” “Hunger Strike” and your other favorite tunes by two artists

stevie nicks tom petty


Bruce Springsteen's recent guest appearance with the Rolling Stones got us thinking about great duets. They've been a staple of the charts since the beginning of pop music, and even today a huge percentage of tracks on the Hot 100 feature two or more artists. We asked our readers to select their favorite duets of all time. (In a funny coincidence, the top three songs all came from 1981.) Click through to see the results. 

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3. Stevie Nicks and Don Henley, “Leather and Lace”

They've never talked much about it, but Don Henley and Stevie Nicks dated for a couple of years in the 1970s. They remained friends even after the breakup, and when Nicks cut her debut solo LP in 1981, Henley agreed to duet with her on "Leather and Lace," a track she originally wrote for Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. The country pair named their 1981 album Leather and Lace, but inexplicably cut the song from their disc. It was their loss since Henley and Nicks brought it to Number Six on the Hot 100, proving they didn't need the Eagles or Fleetwood Mac to land songs on the radio. 

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2. Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”

Stevie Nicks wasn't going to take any chances on Bella Donna, her first solo album. Not only did she recruit Don Henley for "Leather and Lace," but managed to get her hands on "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," a song Tom Petty and Mike Campbell wrote and slated for a Heartbreakers album. Stevie worked some of her magic (with a little help from Jimmy Iovine) and the song moved to her album. It hit Number Three on the Hot 100. They've sung it together a number of times over the years, most notably on Petty's 2006 tour, which featured Nicks on many of the dates. 

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1. Queen and David Bowie, “Under Pressure”

In July 1981, David Bowie headed over to Montreux's Mountain Studio to record a track with Queen. He originally planned on singing on "Cool Cat," but the session didn't gel. Luckily, the four members of Queen and Bowie started jamming on a new piece that soon morphed into "Under Pressure." The whole thing came together within a matter of hours, though there's a dispute to this day over who exactly came up with the iconic bass line. The song became a worldwide hit, though the never performed it together live — even though Bowie's set immediately followed Queen's at Live Aid. 

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