Top Seven Iconic Music Collaboration FAILs

March 15, 2011
Over the years, there have been numerous collaborations between iconic musicians in the pop music realm that instantly satisfied our every audio fantasy the very second they were released. Unfortunately for us all, there have also been a few blunders along the way.

7. Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder – “Ebony and Ivory”

Source: Parlophone/EMI/Columbia
I’m probably going to get some serious crap for hating on this 1982 number-one single, but looking back on it now many years after the fact, “Ebony and Ivory” is pretty freakin’ ridiculous and is in need of a very big Internet FAIL. Due to George Martin’s bouncy pop production of this piece, I want to let Stevie off the hook for any wrongdoing right out of the gate. I’m well aware this is supposed to be a positive song about bringing together all races of people, but the cheeseball production/songwriting and jaw-droppingly over-the-top video make for a serious pop collaboration gone wrong. Might not be a bad idea to let Stevie produce the one next one, Paul.

6. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Phil Collins – “Home”

Photo: Dick Barnatt/Getty Images

Rap/hip-hop and pop acts have been colliding ever since Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith did their thang on "Walk This Way" in 1986, but as we’ve learned from a large number of these genre-bending tracks, it’s a very slippery slope when it comes down to these artists actually creating music that doesn’t make their fans want to lose their Cheerios five seconds in.

The 2002 Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Phil Collins head-scratcher "Home" is a great example of what not to do when attempting to bring together complete musical opposites. Even though we all have a secret affinity for Phil’s skills at chopping together sentimental pop dittys, that doesn’t mean it was okay for the Bone boys to bring in Collins for a cameo on the track, as well as the extrememly awkward music video.

5. Nelly and Tim McGraw – “Over and Over”

Photo: L. Cohen/Getty Images

Saying that either of these two are ‘iconic’ seems to be an overstatement, but Nelly and Tim McGraw are household names when it comes to popular music and that can’t be denied, y’all. With that said, in terms of this list, their joint jam “Over and Over” crashed and burned in the ears of all of us real music-lovers back in 2004. The main reason why this song dies such a quick death is for the simple fact that Nelly is sing-rapping throughout all of it. The overbearing sentimentality of “Over and Over” is the other crowning FAIL achievement. Watching on as these two macho music stars try to get serious and bring their two universes together is a really bad example for anyone making music in the hip-hop/country music world.

4. Ozzy Osbourne and Miss Piggy – “Born to be Wild”

Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Usually almost every duet The Muppet Show team has put together meets the artist halfway in terms of their musical sound and style. This is not one of those times.

Off of the 1994 LP Kermit Unpigged, metal icon Ozzy Osbourne joined forces with Miss Piggy for an updated rendition of the Steppenwolf landmark “Born To Be Wild.” What transpired can only be described as a serious blow to the heavy metal genre as well as the entire musical world. Sure, Ozzy has put his stamp on more outlandish products than this, but this was ’94, people. Ozzy was still “Ozzy.” Seeing his name next to Jimmy Buffett, Vince Gill, and Linda Ronstadt on the same CD was not easy for us metal fans to except. I can only imagine that Sharon put him up to this.

3. Wyclef Jean and Kenny Rogers – “"Kenny Rogers - Pharoahe Monch Dub Plate"

Photo: Todd Plitt/Getty Images

Not only is this a collaboration gone horribly wrong, I’m gonna go ahead and suggest that we all erase this hip-pop misstep from our memory banks starting right this very moment.

Basically a mashed-up version of Kenny’s 1978 number-one hit "The Gambler" and Pharoahe Monch’s rap classic “Simon Says,” “Dub Plate" sees Wyclef Jean attempting to combine these two remarkable gems in epic fashion, but fails miserably each and every step of the way. I’ve got nothing but respect for every artist featured on this 2000 song, but there are truly no words to describe the how mind-numbing this is.

2. Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page – “Come with Me"

Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./Getty Images

Calling Puff “Diddy” Daddy a legend is an overstatement, but his contribution to the hip-pop genre cannot be denied. His 1998 reboot of the Led Zep rock banger "Kashmir" is proof of that. Not only was this Puff Daddy's fifth consecutive top 5 single, it also once again showcased his skills at convincing aging rockers to participate in his kid-like music productions. Godzilla’s “Come With Me” was a slap in the face to Zep fans from day one, but the fact that the video featured a cameo by Jimmy Page made it one of the most talked about trainwrecks of all time. Who in the hell knows how Diddy got Page to sign off on this, but I can only assume it had something to do with a very big check and a nice bottle of Jack Daniels.

1. Mick Jagger and David Bowie – “Dancing in the Street”

How did it go so wrong when it looked like it felt so right?

Just the idea of Mick Jagger and David Bowie doing a song together sounds almost too amazing to believe. Ironically enough, the two legendary rockers did indeed decide to go in on one of the most abysmal covers of all time and easily the worst collaboration by two music’s greatest artists. This cover of the Martha and the Vandellas classic is an over-produced mess, but the ridiculous 1985 video of Jagger and Bowie bumping hips down a fake city street and almost making out is the real reason why this collaboration is a FAIL on every level. I still can’t believe that this is actually real.