The future of music

35 Best Duos of All Time (Top Musical Duos)

December 6, 2023
best musical duos

In this article, I’ve compiled a list of the best musical duos of all time, showcasing partnerships that have created some of the most memorable and influential music in history.

These dynamic pairs demonstrate the incredible power and creativity that can emerge from a perfect pairing in the music world.

Best duos of all time

  • John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • Simon And Garfunkel
  • The Everly Brothers
  • Ike And Tina Turner
  • Keith Richards and Mick Jagger
  • Sonny And Cher
  • The Louvin Brothers
  • The White Stripes
  • Sam & Dave
  • Daft Punk

1. John Lennon and Paul McCartney 

Of course, we will begin with one of the greatest duos of all time.

After all, few bands have had as much impact on the world as The Beatles.

And John Lennon and Paul McCartney are responsible for writing the majority of the Beatles classics.

The two are regarded as the most successful songwriting duo in history, even though they weren’t sure who to credit from time to time.

Nevertheless, their collaboration was legendary, and they created the hits that will be popular among many future generations.

You may enjoy our list of the best Beatles songs ever made!

2. Simon And Garfunkel 

When thinking about iconic male duo singers, Simon and Garfunkel immediately come to mind.

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel met as children in Queens, and started their first music project when they were teenagers – they formed a duo called Tom & Jerry.

Eventually, Tom & Jerry became Simon & Garfunkel, one of the best-selling music groups of the 1960s.

Their biggest hits include “The Sound Of Silence”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Mrs. Robinson.”

Although they had their differences and artistic disagreements, Simon and Garfunkel left us a substantial musical legacy. 

3. The Everly Brothers 

The Everly Brothers were an American rock duo consisting of actual brothers Don and Phil.

In their music, they combined rock and roll, pop, and country, and they had a lot of influence on many artists including the Beatles, Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, Bee Gees, and so on.

They released their first big hit “Bye Bye Love” in 1957, and continued to make music throughout the 60s.

In the 70s, the brothers began making solo recordings, and in 1973, the famous duo officially broke up.

4. Ike And Tina Turner 

Speaking of famous musical duos, Ike and Tina Turner are hard to forget.

This iconic husband-and-wife musical duo made a huge impact on the music scene of the 60s and 70s.

They performed as The Ike & Tina Turner Revue and released dozens of albums.

They also won a Grammy Award for “Proud Mary” in 1972.

It seems like the two worked together perfectly, although their marriage didn’t end happily.

Nevertheless, they are regarded as one of the best duos who will always be remembered for their potent live performances. 

5. Keith Richards and Mick Jagger 

Keith Richards and Mick Jagger formed one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

The Rolling Stones certainly wouldn’t be the same without Richards and Jagger, and each contributed to the band in their own way. 

Mick Jagger is a born performer with a powerful voice, and Keith Richards is a talented guitarist and songwriter.

Although they had their share of conflicts, they are considered one of the most successful songwriting partnerships in history.

“Can’t Always Get What You Want”, “Start Me Up”, “Paint It Black”, and “Anybody Seen My Baby?” are just a small part of their musical legacy. 

6. Sonny And Cher 

Sonny and Cher are the most famous duo singers of the 60s and the 70s.

The couple started their career in the 60s, and eventually sold over 40 million records worldwide.

Their chemistry was undeniable, which can also be seen in this iconic live performance of their classic “I Got You Babe.” 

They eventually went their separate ways, but their energy and music they created together will never be forgotten.

7. The Louvin Brothers 

The Louvin Brothers were a famous musical duo composed of brothers Ira and Charlie Louvin.

They rose to fame in the 50s, and eventually made it to the Grand Ole Opry.

The Louvin Brothers music is centered around country, bluegrass, and gospel, so they were inducted in the Country Grammy Hall of Fame.

Besides their popular hits, the brothers are known for popularizing the vocal technique of close harmony.

And many publications (including Rolling Stone) put them on their list of the greatest duos of all time.

8. The White Stripes 

Meg White and Jack White (previously Jack Gillis) formed the White Stripes in 1997.

The rock duo rose to prominence in 2003, with their global hit “Seven Nation Army.” 

Their music is generally described as garage rock or alternative rock – after all, they emerged from the Detroit garage rock revival scene.

Jack White also made many successful solo recordings, but “Seven Nation Army” remains his biggest hit.

9. Sam & Dave

Sam & Dave are an iconic two person band responsible for popularizing soul and gospel music.

‘The Dynamic Duo’ performed together from 1961 until 1981, and they influenced many musicians including Michael Jackson, Al Green, and Phil Collins.

Their biggest hit was a cover of “Soul Man”, but they released many other R&B and soul classics.

And they will always be remembered for their energy, talent, and creativity.

10. Daft Punk

Unfortunately, Daft Punk announced their split in 2021.

They were a popular and influential French electronic music duo responsible for countless dance hits.

Their biggest hits include “One More Time”, “Around The World”, and ‘“Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” 

Their music is recognizable by the sound of synthesizers and extensive sampling; but in general, they mainly combined acid house, pop, indie rock, funk, and electro.

All in all, Daft Punk undeniably made a huge impact on many music genres.

11. Outkast 

And when it comes to the influence on the hip hop genre, Outkast played a crucial role.

Consisting of rappers Andre 3000 and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, the hip hip duo achieved huge success in the late 90s and 2000s.

They earned six Grammy Awards, and their albums became popular worldwide. 

All things considered, Outkast was proclaimed one of the best hip hop acts of all time for a good reason.

Their most popular hits include “So Fresh, So Clean”,“Hey Ya” and “Ms. Jackson.” 

12. The Eurythmics

Eurythmics were a British pop duo consisting of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart.

Both were previously in a band called The Tourists. 

The Eurythmics’ first studio album wasn’t a huge success, but they eventually rose to prominence and released some of the best pop hits of all time.

‘Sweet Dreams’ is a great example – the worldwide hit was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2020.

13. Steely Dan

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker met at Bard College in Hudson, NY.

Eventually, they began recording albums and founded a rock band.

Their first album, Can’t Buy A Thrill (1972), blended elements of jazz, rock, Latin music, R&B, and blues. 

The songs became staples on radio, and the duo Steely Dan established themselves as one of the most interesting and influential two man groups in history.

14. The Righteous Brothers

Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield weren’t really brothers, but their 2 man band The Righteous Brothers achieved great success.

Medley’s bass-baritone voice and Hatfield’s higher-register vocals fit together perfectly.

They were in different groups before they met, but their collaboration brought them fame, especially the hits like “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and “Unchained Melody.”  

In 2003, Bobby Hatfield died, so Medley continued to sing as a soloist – but he eventually joined forces with Bucky Heard and brought The Righteous Brothers back to life.

15. Otis Redding And Carla Thomas

Otis Redding is regarded as one of the best singers of all time, but he also recorded successful songs in a musical duo, along with Carla Thomas.

The two worked so well together, so it’s a shame they released only one album together.

Their album King & Queen was influenced by Marvin Gaye’s duets, and it features ten covers of soul classics.

Although they didn’t have a long career as a duo, Otis Redding and Carla Thomas certainly made an impact on the soul genre and culture in general. 

16. The Carpenters

The Carpenters are also considered one of the best singing duos of all time.

Karen Carpenter and her brother Richard composed and recorded many famous tunes from the 60s and the 70s.

Their sound was quite gentle and melodic, influenced by classics and jazz.

And people loved them – eventually, they became one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

17. Hall And Oates

Hall and Oates are one of the most famous musical duos from the 80s.

Their music is a fusion of R&B, pop, and rock, and their biggest hits are incredibly catchy and memorable.

In the band, Daryl Hall generally sings, and John Oates provides backing vocals and plays guitar.

All in all, they seem to be working together without hassle – they met in the 60s, and they have been making music and performing for decades.

18. Eric B. & Rakim

Eric B. & Rakim are a hip hop duo formed on Long Island, New York, in 1986.

Composed of DJ Eric B. (Eric Barrier) and MC Rakim (William Michael Griffin Jr.), the duo became one of the most influential hip hop acts.

Their music is recognizable by the 80s hip hop sound, a free-rhythm rhyming style, and heavy beats.

Rakim’s performance was also influenced by jazz standards.

19. Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra

Nancy Sinatra is regarded as one of the most influential singers of all time.

Besides her flourishing solo career, she also joined forces with a songwriter and producer Lee Hazelwood.

In fact, their album Nancy & Lee made quite an impact on the 60s music scene and many artists that came afterward.

The pair had different paths, but they managed to create a musical crossover that is now an important part of music history. 

20. Richard and Linda Thompson

Richard and Linda Thompson are important names in British folk-rock music history.

Richard Thompson rose to fame in the 1960s, and he formed a duo with his then-wife Linda in the 70s.

The duo produced six albums together, and their creative collaboration lasted until their divorce – eventually, they continued their separate ways.

21. Tears For Fears

Tears For Fears are widely regarded as one of the most successful duo bands.

Their songs “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and “Shout” are award-winning, chart-topping hits.

Tears For Fears consists of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, who met as teenagers in Bath, England. 

And the duo is still active – they released a new studio album ‘The Tipping Point’ in February 2022.

22. Indigo Girls

Just like famous duos we mentioned today, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers met as kids.

They started performing together as high school students, and eventually they formed a folk rock group Indigo Girls.

As Indigo Girls, Ray and Saliers achieved a lot – they released multiple successful albums and memorable hits like “Closer To Fine” and “Galileo.” 

23. Run The Jewels

Run The Jewels (also known as RTJ) is an American hip hop duo composed of producer El-P and rapper Killer Mike.

In a way, Run The Jewels is a super-duo (like supergroup), because both members had successful careers before they founded RTJ.

They released all of their albums as a free download, and all of them received praise both from fans and critics.

Their most popular songs include “Legend Has It” and “Oh Mama.” 

24. The Black Keys

When thinking about the best rock duo of the decade, The Black Keys definitely come to mind.

The popular 2 man band consists of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney – they started making music independently.

Eventually, they got a record deal, and became one of the most successful rock bands of the 2000s.

They have released many rock hits over the years, including “Lonely Boy”, “Little Black Submarine”, and “Gold On The Ceiling.” 

25. Loggins And Messina

Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina joined creative forces and formed a pop-rock duo. 

They weren’t active for a long time, but they managed to achieve success in the 1970s.

In fact, they became one of the leading musical duos of the 1970s, and their songs climbed the charts.

26. Jan And Dean

Jan and Dean was an American rock duo consisting of William Jan Berry and Dean Ormsby Torrence.

The duo met in high school where they formed their first group, and eventually, they became known as Jan and Dean.

They were the pioneers of surf music popularized by the Beach Boys.

Their most recognizable song is “Surf City” – the song was released in 1963 and became the first surf song to  reach the number 1 spot. 

27. Chad And Jeremy 

Chad and Jeremy rose to fame in the early 1960s.

Despite the British Invasion of the 60s, the two entered the music industry in a rather gentle way.

Their music was soft, sweet, and folksy, and people seemed to embrace it.

Their biggest hits include “A Summer Song” and “Before And After.”

28. Ashford & Simpson

Ashford & Simpson were a husband-and-wife music duo known for making funk, disco, and R&B music.

They were a talented songwriting duo who poured their soul into every song.

The pair wrote many hits, including Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman.”

But they were also performing a lot, and some of their most famous duets include “Found a Cure” and “Solid.”

29. Delaney And Bonnie

Another famous singer-songwriter pair who were also soulmates are Delaney and Bonnie.

They also fronted a rock/soul ensemble, Delaney & Bonnie And Friends, consisting of different members at different times.

The ensemble included Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Gregg Allman, and Leon Russell, just to name a few.

So the impact of Delaney Bramlett and Bonnie Bramlett on the 60s and 70s music industry is undeniable. 

 30. Fripp & Eno

Fripp & Eno is a musical side project composed of prog-rock guitarist Robert Fripp and famous glam-rocker Brian Eno.

Their collaboration started on an album No Pussyfooting that was recorded in three days over the course of the year.

The album, just like the majority of their songs, is a blend of ambient music, electronic music, and experimental sound characterized by a tape-delay technique. 

31. Royal Blood

When it comes to modern top musical duos, we want to mention Royal Blood.

The rock duo was formed in Worthing in 2011.

In fact, Royal Blood was initially a trio, but their guitarist left early in 2012, and they’ve continued to perform as a duo ever since.

Their most famous songs include “Figure It Out”, “Lights Out”, and “Little Monster.”

32. Suicide

Suicide duo was formed by vocalizer Alan Vega and keyboardist Martin Rev.

They were intermittently active between 1970 and 2016, and they inspired generations of electro duos.

They were pioneers of music that included synthesizers and minimalist electronic instrumentation, but they also started with punk.

So in a way, Vega and Rev defined the sound of the synth-punk genre.

Accordingly, Suicide is regarded as one of the most influential duo, and their self-titled debut album is described “a landmark of electronic music.”

33. Shirley & Lee

Consisting of Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee, Shirley & Lee are responsible for many great R&B hits.

They were active in the 50s and the 60s, and since they were both born in New Orleans, they are often associated with the New Orleans soul genre.

Their most notable hits include “I Feel Good” and “Let The Good Times Roll.”

34. Roxette 

She goes (na na na na na na)

She’s got the look…

Besides “The Look”, Roxette released many all-time hits like “It Must Have Been Love” and “Listen To Your Heart.”

The pop rock duo consisted of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle, who were both established artists in Sweden before they got together.

With Roxette, they achieved international fame, and they became Sweden’s second-best-selling music act after ABBA.

35. Pet Shop Boys 

Pet Shop Boys won the Brit Award three times, and they were praised and awarded by many publications like NME and Billboard.

In other words, the English synth-pop duo is one of the most respected music duos of their era. 

Pet Shop Boys’ members Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe met in 1981 (in a hi-fi shop) and became friends – and the rest is history.

Their biggest hits include “Always On My Mind”, “West End Girls”, and “Heart.” 

Best Music Duos Of All Time – Final Thoughts 

From Daft Punk to Sonny and Cher, there are so many memorable music duos who will always be remembered for their creativity and chemistry.

We hope you enjoyed our playlist of iconic music duos and their beloved, timeless songs.

Similar Articles: 

Best Singers of All Time

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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