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Shaggy and Sting visit SiriusXM Studios on January 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Among the albums released today (April 20) is 44/876, a collaboration between Sting and Shaggy.

This unlikely partnership got us thinking of all the other music duos that had our heads spinning — and sometimes got our toes tapping, too.

10. Justin Bieber and Busta Rhymes

Justin’s second studio album took the form of a Christmas release that saw him team up with A-listers like Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, and Usher. None was so odd as this cut with Busta Rhymes, however, which saw the phrase “parapapapahhh” run through a vocoder and then broken down in a rap.

9. Kanye West and Bon Iver

On paper this was a surprise, but adding Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver) to this track from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy turned out to be another masterstroke by Kanye.

8. Mel C and Bryan Adams

The Spice Girls were at the height of their fame in 1998, when the Groover from Vancouver released this duet with band member Sporty. It was the sign of things to come: Mel B released a track with Missy Elliott, Victoria briefly tried her hand at solo stardom before focussing on fashion, and Geri released a few so-so tracks, until the band announced an “indefinite hiatus” in 2000.

7. Snoop Lion and Miley Cyrus

The “Wrecking Ball” provocateur par excellence leant some plaintive vocals to R’n’B-meets-reggae banger “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks” by Snoop Lion (formerly Dogg).

6. Elton John and Eminem

By 2006, Eminem was being heavily criticized for his homophobic lyrics, so many people were taken aback when one of music’s biggest gay icons agreed to perform “Stan” at the Grammys that year with him. Embracing at the end, the pair became good friends after, as Sir Elton explained on The Graham Norton Show last year.

5. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett

It made some sense when Amy Winehouse duetted with crooner Tony Bennett: tragically, their duet “Body and Soul” was to be the last track the Back to Black singer ever recorded. But when Lady Gaga pulled a similiar stunt in 2014, recording a whole album with the jazz legend, we were left scratching our heads.

4. Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That really is Rocky in a bedazzled and tasselled jumpsuit, singing “Stay Out of My Bedroom” to country sweetheart Dolly Parton. The duet is from the soundtrack to Rhinestone, a 1984 box office disaster that almost capsized the film careers of both stars.

3. Kylie Minogue and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Kylie‘s thin soprano meshed perfectly with Nick‘s rumbling baritone on this slow-burning folk-rock track, the first single from Cave and co’s 1996 spooky album Murder Ballads.

2. David Bowie and Bing Crosby

What is it about “The Little Drummer Boy”? The awkwardness is palpable in this clip from 1977 TV special “Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas.” David apparently agreed to it as his mum was a big fan of Bing‘s, while Bing reportedly didn’t know who David was. It doesn’t stop there being a certain charm to their interaction though, and their rendition has become a Christmas classic.

1. Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy

There was a catch when Eddie agreed to play an Egyptian pharaoh in Michael‘s epic “Remember the Time” short film: the King of Pop had to lend his vocals to Eddie’s upcoming album. You could never accuse Michael of doing anything half-heartedly, and the result is 1993 track “Whatzupwitu,” and an accompanying video of the two pals apparently animated with Microsoft Paint.

Can you think of any crazy collaborations we missed off our list? 

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.