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FEATURE

Coolest duos in music

By Matt Glazebrook, 13 May 2014

The Black Keys release their eighth album this week, conclusively proving (yet again) that rolling just two deep is no barrier to making a mighty racket. 

On Turn Blue, the Ohio guitar-and-drums merchants compensate for their dearth of members with a powerful blues-rock assault, as well as the sort of intense interpersonal dynamic that only a tightly-honed two-piece firing on all cylinders can deliver. But do the Keys make our countdown of the coolest double acts in music history? Read on to find out.

coolest duos in music

Picture: Getty

5. Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner

Country music has had its fair share of male-female duos, but Dolly and Porter may just about be the coolest. It's something to do with the contrast between Wagoner's ice-cool, gravel-voiced rockabilly style and Parton's sparkling Dollyness.

Coolest track: Better Move it On Home– an irresistible slice of driving country funk.

coolest duos in music

Picture: Retna

4. Dave and Ansel Collins

What makes Dave and Ansel Collins so stylish? Well, there's the reggae duo's commitment to quality knitwear, for one thing, but more importantly, their pair of damn-near-perfect 1971 hit singles – the stomping Double Barrel and the soulful Monkey Spanner. Try walking down the street listening to either without immediately breaking into a too-cool-for-school strut. You won't be able to. 

Coolest track: Monkey Spanner – truly the heavy, heavy monster sound.

coolest duos in music

Picture: Rex

3. Daft Punk

We could have made this whole list out of French electronic twosomes – Justice for their facial hair, Air for their easy-listening savoir faire... 

But Daft Punk bag the top five spot for a couple of reasons. There's nothing cooler than owning a look and sticking with it, and while robot helmets alone = a decent gimmick, robot helmets + immaculate tailoring = menswear genius.

Coolest track: Da Funk– electro at its most down and dirty.

coolest duos in music

Picture: Rex

2. White Stripes

No act has embraced the potential of the duo as wholeheartedly and thrillingly as the White Stripes, especially in their earliest incarnations. No fripperies like back-up musicians, just ferociously brilliant guitar and no-flips-given bare bones drumming. Plus those perfectly matching red-and-white outfits are fresh as.

Coolest track: Hello Operator – Jack shredding, Meg pounding. Pure garage rock heaven.

coolest duos in music

Picture: Getty

1. Eric B and Rakim

Because they're Eric B and Rakim. Do we really need to say any more? That picture tells you everything you need to know about hip hop hustle.

Coolest track: Paid in Full – at least 10 years ahead of its time when it was released in 1987, this funky, sample-fest still sounds fresh as you like today.

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