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Revisiting 4 of the best R&B duets of all time

Amanda Parris
Listen to Marvin's Room, Dec 15th 2017

Marvin's Room with Amanda Parris on CBC Radio


The musical equivalent of superhero team-ups, duets are always exciting. Sometimes they result in a spectacular meeting point between two impressive powerhouses, while other times they can just be an embarassing collision of talents.

This week, we look back on five of the best R&B duets of all time.

Lionel Richie and Diana Ross, 'Endless Love'

In the canon of musical duets, no matter the genre — country, rock, pop or R&B — this song is considered one of the greatest of all time. “Endless Love” by R&B royalty Lionel Richie and Diana Ross was a single from a film of the same name. No one remembers the film, but the song has become a timeless classic. It is one of the biggest selling singles of Diana Ross’ career and was her final No. 1 song. It’s the penultimate track of romantic R&B.

Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett, 'I Just Can't Stop Loving You'

Siedah Garrett is not a household name, but her duet with Michael Jackson resulted in the creation of music that has been played in households around the world. The song "I Just Can’t Stop Loving You" was the first single off his Bad album and was the first in a consecutive string of five No. 1 singles from the album. They lyrics are undeniably corny but that doesn't stop it from being an undeniable classic in the MJ catalogue.

Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, 'When You Believe'

There is something poetic about the fact that it was the animated retelling of a biblical tale that brought together two of the greatest legends in music history. After years of media pitting the two divas against each other, this collaboration between Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey — for the film The Prince of Egypt — felt nothing short of miraculous. The song received an Academy Award, and can still produce goosebumps to this day.

Brandy and Monica, 'The Boy is Mine'

It’s not a romantic ballad. It wasn’t made for slow dances. This song was actually inspired by an episode of Jerry Springer on love triangles. Brandy originally wrote the song as a solo record, but after listening to it she realized something was missing. Brandy was reminded of Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson’s hit song “The Girl is Mine” and a lightbulb went off: she needed Monica's voice. "The Boy is Mine" became both Brandy and Monica’s first No. 1 hit and is one of the longest running No. 1 songs in U.S. chart history.

Marvin's Room Playlist for Dec. 15, 2017

  1. Stevie Wonder, “Higher Ground”
  2. Jill Scott, “Golden”
  3. Emanuel, “Medicine”
  4. Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”
  5. Lionel Richie and Diana Ross, “Endless Love”
  6. Brandy and Monica, “The Boy is Mine"
  7. Savannah Re, “Impressed”
  8. Miguel feat. J. Cole and Salaam Remi, “Come Through and Chill”
  9. Majid Jordan, “You”
  10. Meshell Ndegeocello, “Fool of Me”
  11. Jon Vinyl, “Life”
  12. McCallaman, “Vacation”