A great team can always achieve more than a great individual. That’s never more true than in the epic new comedy Tag, in which a group of old friends have been playing the same ridiculous game of tag for over twenty years. One of their number, Jerry (Jeremy Renner), has never been ‘it’, so his pals (Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson and Hannibal Buress) team up to take him down.
To celebrate Tag’s release, we give you the greatest team-ups in music history.
Jay-Z and Kanye
You could do a whole list of just amazing Jay-Z collaborations here, but his finest is with his equally grandstanding buddy Kanye, because they didn’t just put out a few amazing songs. They did a whole amazing album, Watch The Throne. From No Church In The Wild to Ni**as in Paris, they put on a rap battle in which nobody lost and everybody won. If we’re allowed, can we also chuck in their collaboration with Nikki Minaj on Monster? (which Minaj won)
The Chemical Brothers and Noel Gallagher
When he was still one half of Oasis, Noel leant his vocals to two of the best Chemical Brothers songs: Let Forever Be and Setting Sun. Noel was always an under appreciated, distinctive vocalist and he and the dance duo brought out the best in each other.
Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams and Daft Punk
A collaboration between three musical acts of such individual skill that it could only produce one of the best songs of the decade. Get Lucky was a gift from the musical gods, a song that will still have you whacking up the volume when it comes on shuffle.
The Beatles and Eric Clapton
The Beatles didn’t ‘do’ collaborations. They didn’t need to, they were The Beatles. Who could possibly make them better? The answer is Eric Clapton. Old Slow Hands guested on While My Guitar Gently Weeps, providing the emotional instrumentation that title demanded. It’s a low-key collaboration, but a timeless, elegant one.
David Bowie and Queen
Two different types of pantomime collide on Under Pressure. Freddie Mercury is a pop peacock. David Bowie is a precious gift from space. They’re both born performers, experimenters, total, once in a lifetime loons, and they combine to make a song that just keeps climbing and climbing, Mercury’s technically flawless vocals soaring around Bowie’s unique quaver. By the time they’re repeatedly imploring each other to “give love” you’re all theirs, ready to give whatever they want.
Aerosmith and Run DMC
Complete lunacy of a collaboration. Rap crew Run DMC and hair-rock screamers Aerosmith shouldn’t even exist in the same aisle of the record shop, let alone on the same song. And yet, while it makes no real sense, Walk This Way refuses you time to think about the oddness of what’s happening.
Brandy and Monica
Who doesn’t love a battle duet? Brandy and Monica, who were chart rivals at the time, went toe-to-toe on The Boy Is Mine, a musical argument about who deserved to keep a guy who was clearly not good enough for either of them to be bothering with. The result is a song that could be released today and still be a massive hit. Put it on at any party, watch every woman in the room go mad, and ask if it’s lost any of its power.
Rihanna and Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris has had all manner of vocalists popping by his studio, from Ellie Goulding to Dua Lipa, and they’ve created some lovely tunes, no question. No other collaboration, however, has come even close to We Found Love, his absolutely barnstormer with Rihanna, which turns some pretty gloomy lyrics into a hands-in-the-air, dance-until-your-legs-drop-off enormo-banger. It remains possibly the best pop song of the century so far. This Is What We Came For, their other song, is a winner too, but We Found Love is perfection.
Jay-Z and Linkin Park
Another Jay-Z, yes, but this has to be included because on paper it’s a nonsense. The overlap on die-hard Jay-Z fans and devotees of Linkin Park, probably isn’t huge, but these unlikely collaborators produced an excellent EP, Collision Course, that mashed together some of their respective biggest hits. The highlight, by some distance, is Numb/Encore which improves both songs.
Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue
He’s a man with a voice like wind through a graveyard and the elegantly spooky demeanour to match. She’s the princess of jaunty pop. They made a haunting match on the strange fairytale Where The Wild Roses Grow, in which they croon at each other about Minogue’s grisly murder. Lovely!
TAG is in cinemas July 6