Today's news that Wu-Tang Clan have teamed up with Cher for a song on their forthcoming Once Upon A Time In Shaolin got us thinking about the array of crazy collaborations that have happened over the years - many of them with mixed results. Which ones worked and which ones didn't? Below are five of the most memorable.
Words: John Balfe
Kanye West and Justin 'Bon Iver' Vernon - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Never in a million years did we think that Kanye West would enlist the help of someone like Justin Vernon for his 2010 opus My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but that he did. Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago record announced Vernon as a significant talent but didn't seem to tick the necessary boxes to be suitable for a musical marriage to Kanye. We were wrong, though, and happily admit that. Vernon's work on MBDTF was exemplary and the record is still Kanye's best work to date and significant credit should go to Kanye for recognising what Vernon could bring to his record, too.
Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett - Body and Soul
Two mammoth voices from different eras collided beautifully when Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse collaborated on a duet of 'Body and Soul', an old jazz standard first recorded back in the 1930's. Tony Bennett became the oldest ever performer to feature to feature in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, as well as picking up a Grammy nomination for the song, but it will always be laced with sadness as it was the last track the Amy Winehouse ever recorded before her death in July 2011.
Metallica and Lou Reed - Lulu
It must have seemed like a great idea at the time: a fusion of legendary music figures Metallica and Lou Reed, producing an avant-garde rock album. On one side, you have the reigning kings of metal and on the other you have a frontman so enigmatic and respected that he helped define the evolution of popular music in the 60's and 70's. What could go wrong? Well, quite a lot as it turned out. The album, called Lulu, was universally panned (including by us). Move along please, nothing to see here.
Bob Dylan and Kurtis Blow - Street Rock
There's a lot of Dylan's unfortunate 80's period that is best swept under a very large rug somewhere but perhaps none more so than Dylan's rather unfortunate dalliance with rap on a collaboration with Kurtis Blow which was featured on Blow's 1986 album Kingdom Blow. Again, it was likely one of those ideas which seemed really good on paper. You can just imagine some bright spark suggesting it, too. "Dylan was known for his poetic lyrics? You know what else is poetic? This new 'rap music' that the kids are into. Let's get Dylan to rap!" The result makes you want to go all Vincent Van Gogh on your own ears.
Weezer and Lil' Wayne - Can't Stop Partying
Remember when Weezer used to be cool? It's starting to seem like more and more of a distant memory now but when they put out their self-titled debut twenty years ago there were few bands with bigger buzz behind them than Weezer but it's been something of a law of diminishing returns ever since then. As for Lil' Wayne? He was never cool, he's more like someone who was left a music career in a will and he's doing his best to make as big a fool of himself as possible in what little time he has left in the limelight. The less said about this most unfortunate of collaborations the better.