Two’s company. Tea for two. Two heads are better than one. It takes two to tango.
And the pantheon of popular music is abundant with duets — songs that combine and contrast the vocal talents of two different but complementary singers.
By definition, a duet is a recording or performance that features two vocalists taking turns singing solo sections of equal importance to the piece. This differs from a harmony, in which the vocalists sing together, in harmony or in unison. Duos like Simon & Garfunkel, The Everly Brothers, Seals & Crofts or Hall and Oates don’t really do duets — their songs typically offer one lead voice throughout with occasional harmonies, or harmonies throughout.
Duets first started appearing in popular music in the 1940s, when stars like Bing Crosby and Judy Garland, and Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark, each had Top Five hits with “Talk, Talk, Talk” (1945) and “Baby It’s Cold Outside” (1949), respectively. The ’50s saw more successful duets such as 1957’s “Love is Strange” by Mickey & Sylvia (which enjoyed a second life 30 years later on the “Dirty Dancing” film soundtrack). The early ’60s brought dialog-type duets like Paul & Paula’s “Hey Paula” (1962), Dale and Grace’s “I’m Leaving It All Up to You” (1963) and Inez and Charlie Foxx’s “Mockingbird” (1963). Read More