With the recent release of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton‘s new single “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” it got us thinking: What are the best male/female country duets of all time? Certainly Rogers and Parton’s “Islands in the Stream” is a classic, but what are the most memorable duets?
We’re starting with contemporary country artists, so on today’s list, we look at male/female duets from the most recent period of country music, beginning with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill‘s 1997 hit “It’s Your Love.” Our “new school” list then leads all the way up to Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert‘s new single, “We Were Us,” which just released this month.
Stay tuned, too: We’ll soon go back in time and list out our favorite classic country male-female duets as well.
We bet Taylor’s been dreaming up this collab since her first single, 2006’s “Tim McGraw.” For this highway heartbreaker (released on McGraw’s 2013 album Two Lanes of Freedom), McGraw and Swift–along with Keith Urban guesting on guitar–paint the picture of a horrific accident spawned by the dangers of texting and driving. McGraw told Radio.com that he wanted Swift on the song right from the start, “because I thought it fit her vocal perfectly, and I liked where it’s set in the song.” The song hit the top of country singles charts this past June.
Country legend Loretta Lynn teamed up with rock artist/producer Jack White (the White Stripes, Third Man Records) for the first time in 2004 on Lynn’s album Van Lear Rose. Her only duet on the album, White assists on guitar and vocals, making the track a unique, yet eerie country-rock amalgam.
This two-time GRAMMY-nominated track peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and introduced Grace Potter to the country world. Following the success of the single, Chesney invited Potter and her band, the Nocturnals, on his 2012 Brothers of the Sun tour with Tim McGraw. All summer long, Potter and Chesney performed the tequila-infused track of regret from stadium and arena stages, no doubt inspiring plenty of tequila drinking along the way.
Keith Urban’s new single (from his 2013 album Fuse) waxes nostalgia on a past relationship. During an interview with Radio.com, Urban said he’s been looking for a song to duet with Lambert on for years. “I just love Miranda’s voice, I love her artistry,” he said. “We did some shows together many years ago. She got up and did a song with me each night and I loved our voices together.” While Urban said it’s not necessarily a song Lambert would have done in the past, their voices blend together for a convincing tale of long lost love.
Who better to duet on a love song than married couple Faith Hill and Tim McGraw? While the two have released many songs together over the years, “It’s Your Love” went all the way to No. 1 in 1997, staying there for an impressive six weeks (it also cracked the Top 10 on Billboard‘s Hot 100). And the accolades didn’t stop there, as the song wound up winning them four ACM awards: Single of the Year, Song of the Year, Video of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year.
Originally written for Bon Jovi’s 2005 album Have a Nice Day, the song reached No. 23 on Billboard’s Hot 100. However, a country version recorded with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles brought it all the way to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, making it Bon Jovi’s first country hit.
Country rocker Jason Aldean shows his softer side with this beautiful duet with Kelly Clarkson. Aldean’s first duet, it was his decision to invite Clarkson on the track. The song went all the way to No. 1, becoming Aldean’s fifth chart topper and Clarkson’s first on the country charts. The song also became a crossover hit for Aldean, as it was played on pop radio, too.