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The Baddest Power Couples in Music

Monday, September 21, 2009

When you think of what might have been with Chris Brown and Rihanna [bubble gum pop's musical match made in heaven?] the subject of the baddest musical couples comes to the forefront.
There have been many, but they have been far and few between. Here's our rundown on what rocked it together like red beans and rice.

Millie Jackson and Isaac Hayes: Unadulterated soul-drench

Soul music's Adam and Eve were Millie Jackson and Isaac Hayes. Not because they were the first (they weren't) but because there collaboration (which lasted only for one album, "Royal Rappin's in 1979) was so quick. One part brown liquor, two parts corn starch, the couple, made beautiful music together with Jackson's edgy in-your-face style smoothed over by the buttery smoove funk Hayes brought to all his projects. Of course, the two's union wasn't so much a romance as a blend of musical convenience that was popular to do back in the day.

Ashford and Simpson: Still Solid as a Rock

When you join a soulful tenor from the fields of South Carolina with a choir-voiced chick from the Bronx, New York, you get a solid-as-a-rock soul machine joined at the hip. Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, songwriters whose credits read like a greatest hits album, have been doing it big since the early 1960s. Nick, way before Barack and Michelle, made PDA among married folks look cool. Many of their songs, such as "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" (recorded by Diana Ross), were actually apparent odes about each other that they wrote down and got paid for.
The couple has done it all the old-fashioned way (they met in church in New York). They wrote songs together almost immediately, selling a list of compositions to a N.Y. publisher for a $75 flat fee. They got the attention of Motown, and the rest, they say, is music history.

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell: Sugar and Spice

New duo in modern music history has had the star potential of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. The makers of "Aint Nothing Like the Real Thing," and "You're All I Need to Get By," Marvin and Tammi were arguably the first and best musical tandem in black music history. In the late 1960s, Marvin, honing his vocal abilities to play off the melodic sighs of Terrell, was fast becoming the sex symbol he had long planned to be. Terrell, a singer since age 13, was by then in her early 20s, and would be the progenitor of a long list of musical powerhouses hailing from the hardscrabble streets of Philadelphia.
After passing out in Marvin's arms onstage, Terrell was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Her health deteriorated so quick that the duo couldn't even finish their last album.
Terrell's death in 1970 has been attributed to putting Marvin in the reflective mental space that birthed his signature work, "What's Going On," in 1971.

Ike and Tina: Rough, yet Easy on the Ears

When you think of Ike and Tina, images of domestic violence immediately come to mind, but before that there was some awesome music, driven by a tandem that thrived in electrical live performances. To put the couple's musical significance in perspective, imagine if a new musical genre (hip-hop in 1978 per say) were being created and you were quite possibly the one who to record it on wax. Ike's 1951 single "Rocket 88," is considered by some the first rock n' roll record. Add Annie Mae Bullock to the mix five years later and you've got pure fire.
The couple had a magnificient 16-year run, with Tina's shimmying almond-colored legs riding the couple's wave of popularity in the U.S. and even overseas. Soon Tina's success began to overshadow Ike's and the abuse started. The couple divorced after Tina escaped from a night of violence minutes before the duo was set to perform. Today Tina is enjoying life in Europe. Ike passed away in 2007.

Jay-Z and Beyonce: Go-getter meets Trendsetter

Jay and Bey are not necessarily newcomers to the game: Combined the couple have released 14 albums (not counting Destiny's Child material) and have sold more than 90 million LPs (do the math) combined. Their brand, emcompassed by the Rocawear label, House of Dereon and the wishes of Def Jam, Apple and other big-name corporations, will only expand in the near-term. Jay-Z's newly released "Blueprint 3" hopes to bring in another mint, but it's Bey's future that holds the most promise. Will she take to the big screen, where she's scored moderate success in such films as "Dreamgirls" and "Cadillac Records," or will she unleash another manifestation of Sasha Fierce on us? We should be so lucky.

P.S. Of course, there's more, including the Dream and Christina Milian, or even Will and Jada, but the former haven't yet earned their stripes, while the latter are so much bigger than music now.


Electrical Synopsis said...

Oh how I love these two!!!


It's apart of the future. a movement.

September 22, 2009 at 12:03 AM

2009 ·Popwife Blog by TNB