The Ten Best Duets in Pop History

The great duet duo of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
The great duet duo of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
From the Icon: Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell artwork.

The duet is often maligned. What should be a simple yet effective songwriting tool has been ruined by years of cheesy celebrity cameos, lackluster songwriting and poor musical pairings. But there are also a few gleaming gems out there. Here are our favorite duets in history. Let use know about your favorites in the comments!

See also: The Ten Worst Duets in Pop History

10. (She & Him) M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel: "Baby it's Cold Outside"

Despite the controversy, "Baby It's Cold Outside" is the epitome of a great duet. Written in 1944 by Frank Loesser (known for his little Broadway hit

Guys and Dolls

), the song features a male and female vocalist, each trading lines, lending equal importance to the narrative progression of the song. That story arc -- between a man, who is trying to get a woman to stay the night instead of venturing into the cold, and the woman, who is trying to leave -- has uncomfortable overtones. She and Him challenged the implications of the song by switching their roles.

9. Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and Gillian Welch "Lua"

From his initial angst-ridden project, Commander Venus, to his tear-jerking mainstay, Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst has always been a sad bastard. The fact that he penned "Lua," from Bright Eyes' 2005 effort,

I'm Wide Awake, it's Morning

, is a prime example of his inherent emo-ness. For the 2009 compilation album

Dark Was the Night

, Oberst revamped the tune with a little help from the Americana legend Gillian Welch. Their version is so surprisingly carefree and sweet, Oberst sounds like a happy dude for once.

8. Dewey and Darlene Cox's "Let's Duet" Is a duet that makes fun of duets actually good? Well, if you fill it with sexual puns, it is. "Let's Duet," sung by John C. Reilly and Angela Correa, is a funny-but-awesome track from the 2007 comedy, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Written as a parody of the typical rock biopic (Ray, Walk the Line), the film centers around country singer Dewey Cox (Reilly) and his rise to stardom. When he meets his second wife, Darlene (Jenna Fischer), he definitely wants to "duet" with her, and duet they do.



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