It’s 2.2.22 so there’s no better time to round up the best double acts to ever fight over a solo
Selling more records than the Olsens and having funnier hair than the Krays, John and Edward Grimes might be the most influential twins in history. They’re not, of course, but they have released four albums, represented Ireland at the Eurovision and starred in three separate Sharknado sequels.
Already pop royalty before they released After The Screaming Stops, the 2018 documentary helped Bros find a new audience as the entire nation watched Matt and Luke Goss bicker about darts, conkers and brotherhood all Christmas. (“He was a rectangle and I was a rectangle and we made a square, which therefore is a fortress…”)
The Black Keys
Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney made far more noise than any two people have a right to when they exploded onto the indie blues rock scene in 2001 – now filling tours with tracks from 10 different albums.
Sonny & Cher
From ‘I Got You Babe’ to their very own weekly TV comedy show, Sonny Bono and Cher lived their marriage in public during the 60s and 70s, making for an even more public split when they divorced in 1975 – leaving us with a career spanning 40 million record sales and two Grammy wins.
Ball & Boe
Brought together as much by their friendship as by their long history in musical theatre, Michael Ball and Alfie Boe make the perfect odd-couple as they trade solos, songs and West End memories.
Sam & Dave
Nicknamed “the sultans of sweat” for a reason, Sam Moore and Dave Prater brought soul and gospel to the American charts with a heat and energy that made them one of the most exciting live acts of the 60s. ‘Soul Man’, and ‘Hold On, I’m Coming’ are still impossible to listen to sitting down.
Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince came together in the smoke of the 00s indie scene to give us some of the best lo-fi garage rock of the era – continuing through five albums and a dozen different festival-defining live shows. ‘No Wow’ is still the only track to play on a new set of speakers.
Tears For Fears
Releasing a new album in 2021 and taking to arenas and showgrounds throughout next summer, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith are still pushing the boundaries of the New Wave scene they helped to shape with tracks like ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’.
The Ting Tings
If you went to an indie club in the late 00s you would definitely have spilt Jägerbombs over your converse when ‘That’s Not My Name’ and ‘Shut Up And Let Me Go’ came on. The band’s latest album went in a new (read drum’n’bass) direction, but few did indie-funk stomp better back in the day.
‘Close To You’, ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ and ‘Rainy Days And Mondays’ feel like part of the furniture of the 70s – with Karen and Richard Carpenter’s soft sung pop now woven into memory alongside a raft of other Top 10 hits.
If you only know ‘Hey Ya’ and ‘Ms Jackson’, you’ve got a pretty great month ahead of you. Andre “3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Bigboi” Patton have one of the best back catalogues in hip hop – from 1994’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzikto their recent teases of new material.
The White Stripes
They told everyone they were brother and sister, but Meg and Jack White were actually married (before they started The White Stripes) – deliberately confusing journalists who were trying to a hang a relationship story on one of the biggest and best garage rock bands of the 00s.
Craig and Charles Reid mixed alt folk with post punk to write some of Scotland’s best-loved music across 11 albums, several compilations and one really great film musical (watch Sunshine On Leith to see ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ given the Hollywood chorus line treatment it always deserved).
Simon & Garfunkel
‘The Sound Of Silence’, ‘Mrs Robinson’, ‘The Boxer’, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘The Only Living Boy In New York’… The list of classics by Simon & Garfunkel is exactly as long as their discography, going on to influence singer songwriters for generations to come.
The Everly Brothers
Taking their duets more seriously than most, Don and Phil Everly were two voices who sounded like one – pioneering country pop in the 50s with hits like ‘Bye Bye Love’, ‘Wake Up Little Susie’ and ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’.
Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
It doesn’t quite seem fair that Jeff Townes got stuck behind the decks while Will Smith went on to become one of the biggest movie stars in the world, but Jazzy made half of ‘Boom! Shake The Room’, ‘Summertime’, ‘Men In Black’ and ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’, which makes him about twice as great as most DJs.
Something much more than just a comedy band, Jack Black and Kyle Gass started out as an Edinburgh Fringe skit and turned into one of the greatest rock acts this side of the apocalypse. A fifth album is supposedly in the works, which is as good a reason as any to go and listen to ‘Tribute’ again.
Pet Shop Boys
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe spearheaded the Second British Invasion in the 80s with blockbuster synth-pop hits that won them a staggering 42 Top 30 singles – including ‘West End Girls’, ‘It’s A Sin’, ‘Go West’ and ‘Always On My Mind’.
The Chemical Brothers
Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons (not actually brothers at all) brought big beat to the mainstream in the 90s – lifting the underground techno club scene up into arenas, stadiums and festival fields over six No.1 albums, 13 Top 20 hits and three decades still at the top of their game.
Ron and Russell Mael are hard to pin down. Are they art pop? Glam rock? Something else? Watch Edgar Wright’s recent documentary to see just how hard it was for them to fit themselves into anyone else’s pigeonhole or, better still, watch their French musical opera Annette to get a glimpse inside the band’s mad genius.
The day Guy-Manuel de Homen-Christo and Thomas Bangalter finally took off their helmets, electronic music cried. Leading the French house scene from the front, the Parisian duo influenced everyone who ever picked up a synthesiser after 1997.
Lennon & McCartney
Think of musical duos, and you think of Lennon and McCartney – which is odd since they both did their best work as part of a foursome, and both found very different directions when they started their solo careers. Still, it’s a testament to their unique song writing ability that their names still somehow only sound right when you say them together.