The Best Rock Collaborations of the 1990s

Best Duets, Triads and Group Efforts

Do you remember when Bryan Adams, Sting and Rod Stewart became rock's three musketeers? Or when two of the greatest power-pop bands joined forces to throw out the love of their dreams? Or when Seattle's superstars came together to honor a fallen friend? Reminisce with this collection of the greatest musical collaborations in '90s Rock.

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Joan Jett and Paul Westerberg – “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)”

Joan Jett and Paul Westerberg
Joan Jett image by Melissa Bobbitt. Paul Westerberg image by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Two of rock’s most potent singers get together for some space-age canoodling in this cover off of the Tank Girl soundtrack. The Blackheart and the Replacement take on the Cole Porter classic for this bizarre graphic novel adaptation starring Lori Petty. (Bonus: Ice-T plays an alien kangaroo.) It’s a zoological romp that will make you clamor for a flea-bitten tryst.

Watch Lori Petty break into a spontaneous staging of “Let’s Do It” on YouTube.

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Bryan Adams, Sting and Rod Stewart – “All for Love”

Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting

Disney enlisted Bryan Adams to write the Three Musketeers theme in 1993 because of his knack for crafting cinematic ballads. With help from producer Mutt Lange (Heart, Huey Lewis) and composer Michael Kamen (Die Hard), Adams captured the spirit of Alexandre Dumas’ literary heroes. For even more camaraderie, fellow gravel-voiced artists Sting and Rod Stewart joined in, leading to a Billboard smash.

Watch the video for “All for Love” on Vevo.

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Nick Cave and PJ Harvey - "Henry Lee"

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and PJ Harvey

Technically, this is a collaboration between Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and PJ Harvey, but you wouldn’t think that from the sexy music video. The mistress of sensual rock and the former Birthday Partier are all over each other in the 1996 clip. According to The Rumpus (via The Guardian), this visual meeting sparked a yearlong romance between the two. And it wasn’t the only duet on the Bad Seeds’ Murder Ballads album— Shane MacGowan of the Pogues and Kylie Minogue croon with Cave, too.

Watch the video for “Henry Lee” on YouTube.

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Filter and the Crystal Method - "(Can't You) Trip Like I Do"

Spawn Soundtrack cover
New Line Cinema

Despite (or because of) the opioid haze of this 1997 collaboration between industrial project Filter and DJ duo Crystal Method, listeners might have assumed it was a vicious number. Not so, singer Richard Patrick told MTV about the pairing. The lyrics, he said, imagine a utopian world where childlike awe doesn’t end with adulthood. Fitting, as the song served as the lead single to the Spawn soundtrack, bringing many youths’ superhero fantasies to life.

Watch the video for “(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do” on YouTube.

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The Chemical Brothers and Noel Gallagher - "Let Forever Be"

Chemical Brothers cover

The British dance tastemakers and the ​Oasis guitarist/sometimes-singer met on the muddy fields of the Glastonbury music festival. Gallagher expressed his admiration for the pair’s work, and that led to two duets: 1997’s alarmist “Setting Sun” and this 1999 homage to the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Yet as Gallagher tells it, he thought “Let Forever Be” might be better as an instrumental. He relented, and the song became a Top 10 hit in the U.K.

Watch the video for “Let Forever Be” on YouTube.

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Drugstore and Thom Yorke - "El President"

A screenshot of Thom Yorke

A love letter to Chilean socialist icon Salvador Allende, this 1998 duet reverberated with Isabel Monteiro’s pained performance. Backing her was the equally emotive Radiohead frontman, creating a feral whine for justice. The OK Computer geniuses took Drugstore on the road years prior, so when Monteiro sought a partner for “El President,” “ I wanted someone with a very pure, neutral voice of goodness. He fitted the brief perfectly,” she told Rocksucker in 2011.

Watch the video for “El President” on YouTube.

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Temple of the Dog - "Hunger Strike"

Temple of the Dog cover

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring brilliant minds together. When Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose in 1990, his band mates Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament teamed with his roommate Chris Cornell to form supergroup Temple of the Dog. As one would expect from a Pearl Jam-Soundgarden mash-up, the music was gargantuan and the vocals even more so. Cornell traded verses with PJ’s Eddie Vedder on this massive number, thick as thieves who didn’t mind stealing bread from the mouths of decadents. The high notes still send chills down our spines.

Watch the video for “Hunger Strike” on YouTube.

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Weezer and Rachel Haden - "I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams"

Weezer band photo from 2014
Emily Shur

The power-pop circle of Los Angeles in the early 1990s brimmed with a creative incest. Gang leaders Weezer and perkiness purveyors that dog. even gelled to form the Rentals in 1995. Amid the chumminess, Weezer were working on a space opera called Songs from the Black Hole. One of the more commercial tunes, “I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams,” enlisted that dog.’s Rachel Haden, becoming the only officially released Weezer song with lead female vocals. SFTBH was abandoned for the heralded Pinkerton, and that album’s deluxe edition includes this catchy song.

Watch a live performance of “I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams” from 2011.

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Patty Smyth and Don Henley - "Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough"

Patty Smyth and Don Henley

Sometimes the ’80s just aren’t enough for rockers. Scandal leader Patty Smyth teamed with Styx guitarist Glen Burtnikto write this 1992 weeper. Smyth’s frequent collaborator Don Henley stepped in on accompanying vocals to boost the single’s visibility. “I feel forever indebted to Don Henley for his appearing on her recording,” Burtnik told Songfacts. “He was at the peak of his solo years and I believe it drew attention to the song which might not have happened otherwise.”

Watch the video for “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” on YouTube.

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Michael and Janet Jackson - "Scream"

Michael and Janet Jackson

The Jacksons aren’t rock? Tell that to Eddie Van Halen. Tell that to Slash. This 1995 track found the famous siblings at their snarling peak. It flattened their critics like a Mack Truck, with lines like “As jacked as it sounds/The whole system sucks.” Sweet revenge sounded great to Jackson fans— the single climbed to number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained on the charts for 17 weeks.​

Watch the video for “Scream” on YouTube.