1. Aerosmith and Run-DMC
> Collaboration: Walk This Way
> Year: 1986
When Boston-based hard rockers Aerosmith hooked up with Run-DMC, the rappers from Queens, for the cover of the Aerosmith song “Walk This Way,” it made musical history. The collaboration lifted Aerosmith out of a slump and helped mainstream the career of Run-DMC. The video of the two acts rehearsing in adjacent studios that shows Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler busting through the wall symbolizes the breaking down of boundaries between musical genres.
2. Alice in Chains and Elton John
> Collaboration: Black Gives Way To Blue
> Year: 2009
Alice in Chains was among the most popular “grunge” bands of the 1990s. The group met with tragedy when lead singer Layne Staley died of a drug overdose in 2002. Seven years later, the remaining members teamed up with Sir Elton John — who lent his piano playing skills — to record the song “Black Gives Way to Blue” in tribute to Staley.
3. Alicia Keys and Jack White
> Collaboration: Another Way To Die
> Year: 2008
R&B singer/songwriter Alicia Keys and accomplished rock-and-roller Jack White teamed up in 2008 to record the duet “Another Way to Die” for the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace.” Unfortunately, the track was blasted by many critics for being a jumbled mess.
4. Anthrax and Public Enemy
> Collaboration: Bring the Noise
> Year: 1991
The unlikely collaboration between heavy metal headbangers Anthrax and hip-hop act Public Enemy for the song “Bring the Noise” became the subject of a Smithsonian Museum of American History mini-documentary in its Places of (Musical) Invention video series. The collaboration led to a joint tour, and each show ended with Public Enemy and Anthrax on stage performing the song.
5. Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Phil Collins
> Collaboration: Home
> Year: 2003
Many hip-hop artists sample a wide variety of music. The relationship between Cleveland rap group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and English musician Phil Collins goes even deeper, however. After using Collins’ “Take Me Home” as the basis for their song “Home,” Bone Thugs flew to Switzerland to meet with Collins, shot a music video together, and inducted Collins into the group as an honorary member, bestowing upon him the nickname “Chrome Bone.”
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