Blending Genres To Create Great Music

January 28, 2014

grammy-logoMusical collaborations are always a highlight of the Grammy Awards — and this year’s pairings were no exception.

The performances ranged from hard-hitting combinations such as Metallica and Lang Lang to random mixes such as Robin Thicke and Chicago.

With all of those huge acts on the bill, it’s hard to imagine anyone topping them. But two performances –- Kendrick Lamar with Imagine Dragons and Daft Punk, Pharrell, Niles Rodgers and Stevie Wonder –- were a step above the rest.

Not only did these two performances give me goosebumps, they also got me thinking about other collaborations in music. As I started my research I came across several awkward (Eddie Murphy and Michael Jackson) and bad combinations of musicians. But I also found some examples of unique musician combinations that turned out great.

Here are some favorites:

Alicia Keys and Jack White
Jack White seems to be able to team up with everyone and put out good music. In this case, he and Alicia keys got together to create the theme song for James Bond film “Quantum of Solace.” This track does a great job at blending the rock n’ roll sound White is known for with the beautiful voice and piano playing of Alicia Keys.


Public Enemy and Anthrax
Possibly one of the weirder combinations of bands was “Bring the Noise” by Anthrax, featuring Public Enemy. In the ’80s people didn’t usually think that a trash metal band and hip-hop group would be a good combination. However, these two groups got together and put on a fantastic performance, effectively pioneering the “rap metal” genre.


David Bowie and Bing Crosby
Another fantastic collaboration that took place decades ago was the recording of “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. The song was originally recorded for Bing Crosby’s “Merrie Olde Christmas.” Outside of the great harmony between the two musicians, the introduction to the clip is fantastic.


Eminem and Elton John
In 2001, Eminem released his most successful album, “The Marshall Mathers LP.” Although the album went platinum 10 times, there was a significant amount of public criticism of the album because of Eminem’s offensive lyric. In the midst of the debate about the album, he teamed up with Elton John to perform “Stan” for this memorable and powerful Grammy performance.


Phish and Jay-Z
I have to be honest, I’m completely biased on this one. If you know me, you know Phish is band I enjoy a bit. Additionally, Jay-Z is one of my favorite rap artists of all time, which is why this song is a perfect combination for me. If you just ignore the awkward dancing from the band in the background, it’s actually a cool rendition of a few of Jay-Z most popular songs.