Top 5: Country and Rock Collaborations
Taylor! Garth! KISS?!
Recently, rock icon Sammy Hagar announced plans for a new album, the simply titled Sammy Hagar and Friends, which features the Red Rocker and onetime Van Halen frontman duetting with some of his pals. And there are two country stars in the mix: Ronnie Dunn and Toby Keith. (If you recall, Sammy helped honor Toby at last year’s CMT Artists of the Year ceremony.)
But Sammy isn’t the only rock guy of late to reach out to some country cousins. John Oates, half of seminal pop-rock-soul duo Hall & Oates, is readying the latest single from his Good Road to Follow project. Titled “Don’t Cross Me Wrong,” the song features Vince Gill as co-writer, co-producer and backing vocalist.
With these cross-genre connections in mind, we thought we’d count down our favorite rock and country collaborations for this weekend’s Top 5.
5. “Portland, Oregon” – Loretta Lynn with Jack White
Rock visionary Jack White produced the country queen’s 2004 album, Van Lear Rose, which included this coy duet between the former White Stripes leader and Miss Loretta. Its video is as intoxicating as the “sloe gin fizz” they sing about.
4. “Photograph” – Taylor Swift with Def Leppard
CMT Crossroads has darn near perfected the country-rock mashup, and pairing up Taylor with ’80s stalwarts Def Leppard was a stroke of glammy genius. This is one “Photograph” worth framing.
3. “Shameless” – Garth Brooks with Billy Joel
When Billy Joel played the last-ever shows at New York’s Shea Stadium, he brought out Garth for Billy’s own “Shameless,” a song that Garth also recorded. The result was a little ragged, but, boy, did it feel right.
2. “Undo It/Walk This Way” – Carrie Underwood with Steven Tyler
As far as awards-show surprises go, this one from the 2011 ACM Awards was hard to beat. Angelic Carrie happily showed off her devilish side with a surprisingly hard-rocking duet with the Aerosmith bad boy. Big props to rock legend Steven for making “Undo It” sound like an outtake from Pump.
1. “Hard Luck Woman” – Garth Brooks with KISS
If just for the pure “whoa” factor, Garth, an avowed KISS fan, makes our list again, topping it with this have-to-see-it-to-believe-it duet with the makeup-less rockers on their “Hard Luck Woman.” The Tonight Show With Jay Leno would never get any weirder.
Listen to all 5 on our “Top 5 Country and Rock Collaborations” YouTube playlist!