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    The 15 Best Rock Duos of All Time

    best rock duos

    When two people conduct activities together, they are considered a duo. A duo may be the perfect type of musical act for a performer. After all, one person does not have to carry all the weight of a performance as a solo act.

    Duo members also have little need to worry about being a nameless or highly replaceable face in a large group. Can you honestly name all the members of Journey besides Steve Perry? Judas Priest, a band that formed in 1969, has had no original members since 1973!

    Two talented people in a duo can often play off each other and focus on their specific talents to create a perfect pair. For example, one person might sing, like Daryl Hall, while the other may be an instrumentalist, such as John Oats.

    One person often writes lyrics, such as Bernie Taupin, while the other member may focus on composing music, like Sir Elton John. Sometimes duos are subsets of a larger group, such as the Wilson sisters in the band Heart.

    While countless amazing rock duos have produced songs, some stand out more than others. Here are 15 of the best rock duos whose music has stood the test of time.

    1. Simon & Garfunkel

    music duos

    In the 1960s, this folk-rock group’s debut album spawned the hit “Sound of Silence”. After some troubled waters in their friendship, the duo decided to call it quits.

    However, their last album is one of the greatest-selling albums of all time. This magnum opus included the hit songs, “Homeward Bound” and “Mrs. Robinson” featured in the hit film “The Graduate”.

    Both artists moved on to have stellar solo careers, most notably Simon’s album “Graceland”, and well-received reunions. Over 500,000 fans attended one such concert, The Concert in Central Park, making it one of the largest concert attendances in history – 11 years after the duo broke up. Together, Simon & Garfunkel sold 100 million records and won 10 Grammy Awards.

    Together, Simon & Garfunkel sold 100 million records and won 10 Grammy Awards. In 1990, to no surprise, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    2. Hall & Oats

    male duo singers

    These two talented musicians were never out of touch or out of time with making hits. Daryl Hall and John Oats sold over 40 million albums that brought smiles to many girls named Sarah.

    Since their career commenced in the 1970s, the duo from Philadelphia successfully fused rock and roll with rhythm and blues. Their songwriting and performing prowess led to 10 number one hits.

    “Rich Girl”, “Private Eyes”, “She’s Gone” and “I Can’t Go For That” are just some of the songs that gave the duo residency in both the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame as well as the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Their talents have also been honored with several American Music Awards.

    Hollywood is also a fan of their man-eating music. “You Make My Dreams” has been a mainstay on several movie soundtracks such as the Adam Sandler hit, “The Wedding Singer” (1998), and “500 Days of Summer” (2009).

    3. Crosby & Nash

    bands with two members

    Once Stills and Young left on a southbound train, Crosby and Nash continued as a duo and released their premiere album in 1972. Wind on the Water achieved acclaim from critics and peaked at #6 on the charts.

    They also released a live album in 1977. Due to an ongoing feud, fans are unlikely to see a reunion of the duo.

    4. The Indigo Girls

    female duo singers

    Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, this duo’s first full-length studio album, “Strange Fire”, went gold while their self-titled follow-up went platinum. Amy Ray and Emily won the Best Contemporary Folk Album Grammy in 1990.

    “Galileo” and “Closer to Fine” are two of their most popular songs. The pair displayed a keen head for business by self-producing several albums after being dropped from their label years ago. Fans often hail and enjoy their concerts due to the audience participation that is encouraged by the duo.

    While American music has plenty of homegrown talent, some of our most beloved duos have proven to be talented imports.

    5. Roxette

    rock duos male and female

    This Swedish duo has made us all listen to our hearts since forming in 1986. Known for “It Must Have Been Love”, the number one hit from the “Pretty Woman” soundtrack, the band also graced us with the songs “Joyride” and “The Look”. Throughout their career, the Scandinavian songbirds have sold over 80 million albums.

    For Marie Fredirksson and Per Gessie, success as solo artists in their native Sweden preceded becoming a duo with 4 number one hits in the US and 19 songs in the top 40 in the UK.

    In addition to listening to their music, fans can now lick the duo. Their career was further highlighted by their own postage stamp in Sweden in 1991. Roxette is the 2nd best-selling act ever in Sweden – only behind the mega-group Abba.

    Unfortunately, some of the love is over now – stunning singer Marie lost her battle with cancer in 2019. She continued to record albums and tour long after her diagnosis.

    6. Tears for Fears

    duo rock bands

    This British duo made the world shout and let it all out in response to their pulsating synth-pop rock sound. They ruled the world with multi-platinum albums such as “Songs from the Big Chair” during the 1980s. They have sold over 30 million albums worldwide.

    The pop rock duo also sowed the seeds of love among Hollywood film composers. The number 1 hit song, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, was featured in the teen 1980s film “Real Genius”, while “Head over Heels” can be prominently heard in the 2001 film Donnie Darko.

    7. Elton John & Bernie Taupin

    modern rock duos

    Elton, a piano prodigy, may have sung the memorable soundtrack for Disney’s, “The Lion King”, but Bernie Taupin has been the lyric king since their partnership began in 1968 as staff songwriters for DJM. Possessing the writing speed of a rocket man, Taupin could write lyrics in an hour and Elton would later add music in half that time.

    The British duo had 16 top 20 hits in a row from 1972 to 1976. During this time, seven albums in a row reached number one. Captain Fantastic lived up to its name by entering the US charts at number one.

    After a painful breakup, Elton took to a little new platform called MTV and proudly proclaimed, “I’m Still Standing”. The triumphant song, co-written by Bernie, not only allowed Elton to show his flamboyant character on video, but it gave the duo a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

    8. John Lennon and Paul McCartney

    greatest duos of all time

    While the Beatles may have been dubbed “the Fab 4”, it was the fab duo of John and Paul that wrote and composed their series of hits. Together, they wrote almost 200 songs.

    Unlike other songwriting partners, they did not split duties as they both wrote lyrics and music. However, the two conducted their songwriting duties independently.

    Ironically, the last song they wrote together was “The End”. The Beatles would say goodbye to Abbey Road in 1970, but this was not the end of John and Paul’s success. While it was hard to imagine a world without the Beatles, the hits continued for John and Paul in their solo careers.

    9. The Eurythmics

    best rock duos all time

    This British duo, comprised of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, formed in 1980 and has given the world sweet dreams ever since. Singles such as “Here Comes the Rain Again” helped turn the group into international stars. Lennox’s strong vocals led her to do a duet with the late soul icon, Aretha Franklin, on the hit song, “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”.

    The single, “Missionary Man” would earn the duo a Grammy. They would later be inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

    Lennox would eventually sell two million copies of her acclaimed solo debut, Diva, while Stewart would move on to write film soundtracks and form another band.

    10. Bono and the Edge

    most iconic duo

    From Paris to places where the streets have no name, this band is almost as famous as Guinness beer – or perhaps more so. Four Dublin natives formed the rock band, U2, in high school and have filled stadiums since the 1980s. While the group consists of four members, the lead singer/songwriter, Bono, and the guitar wizard/songwriter, The Edge, are the creative soul of the group.

    The songwriting duo has also written songs for other artists and soundtracks, such as Tina Turner’s “GoldenEye” for the James Bond flick of the same name and “Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me” for the 1995 film “Batman Forever”.

    Songs such as “One”, “With or Without You”, “Mysterious Ways” and “In the Name of Love” have earned the band estimated sales of 170 million records worldwide.

    11. Daft Punk

    most successful duo

    Hailing from the City of Light – Paris, France, this duo may be as camera-shy as they are talented. This unique pair is made of two guys in robot costumes. Needless to say, sci-fi futuristic films such as “Tron: Legacy” called on the duo for music composing duties.

    It reached number 4 on the Billboard 200. It would not be the first time the pair would be so lucky.

    Five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, were bestowed on their 2013 release, “Random Access Memories”. The single “Get Lucky” proved to be prophetic for the duo – it won Record of the Year.

    For some duos, making musical hits is a family affair.

    12. Heart

    greatest rock and roll duos

    Two sisters from Canada, Ann and Nancy Wilson, are the fierce duo that pump blood through the band Heart. Known as one of the best vocalists in rock, Ann sang lead for hits such as “Barricuda”, “What About Love?”, and “Alone”. “These Dreams”, another major hit, allowed guitarist Nancy to play double duty on lead vocals.

    Ann and Nancy opened a recording studio in Seattle in the 1990s.

    13. Ike & Tina

    best rock music duos

    Before Tina Turner became a private dancer in the 1980s, she was a fool in love with her then-husband, Ike. In addition to having highly energized live shows, Tina made soulful singing while dancing in heels look effortless. Ike and Tina Turner often forged funk rock with blues to create hits such as “River Deep -Mountain High” and “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine”.

    Successful soulful reinterpretations of rock songs such as “Proud Mary” became part of their routine in later years. Their discography includes 21 albums, such as “Live at Carnegie Hall”.

    The duo had no problem moving beyond their Nutbush City Limits to European concert success due to their live act and tour with the Rolling Stones. In 1991, the pair were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

    14. Sonny and Cher

    greatest music duos

    Before their TV show fame, the married couple began performing in the 1960s. Their soft rock hits include “I Got You Babe” and “Baby Don’t Go”, which hit number one in the US. Unfortunately, the popularity of their soft rock sound declined, but the 1970s opened a door to showcase their variety show talent on the popular “Sonny and Cher Show”.

    15. The Carpenters

    best vocal duos all time

    Rainy days and Mondays will no longer get you down once you listen to the sweet melodies of this talented brother and sister duo. Many of their soft rock hits peaked at #2 on the Billboard charts, but (They Long To Be) Close To You managed to break through and reach #1.

    90 million records have been sold worldwide. We had only just begun to scratch the surface of Richard and Karen’s talent before Karen’s premature death in 1983.

    The music world is filled with so much talent that it may come in the form of a duo or 85-piece orchestra. From soft rock to funk rock, many of the above duos show why two are better than one.

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