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Making beautiful music together

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July 6, 2008

With literally hundreds to choose from, creating a list of 20 of our favorite duets was a mountainous task. But there ain't no mountain high enough to keep us from doing it. This list is by no means comprehensive, just a mix of tracks - both well-known hits and off-the-beaten-path gems - that we've loved. (And for all you Michael McDonald fans, "Yah Mo B There" just missed the cut.) For an even longer list and to share your own favorites, check out boston.com/ae/music/blog. -SARAH RODMAN

AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH

YOUR PRECIOUS LOVE

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell. This Motown duo is synonymous with duets, so, naturally, we had to squeeze in two, including the classic uptempo jam and the elegant finger-snapper written by another famous duo: Ashford & Simpson.

WHERE IS THE LOVE

Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack. This golden-throated pairing killed us softly with its tale of frustrated love on the down low and set the standard for '70s R&B pairings.

ENDLESS LOVE

Lionel Richie & Diana Ross. The Brooke Shields movie may have faded from memory but not this tender ode to first love.

ISLANDS IN THE STREAM

Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton. The twin titans of country crossover, and Kenny Rogers, look for love with a fine-tooth comb, uh-huh.

THEY CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME

Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald. You can't take anything away from this spitfire jazz classic.

LEATHER & LACE

Don Henley & Stevie Nicks. The one-time first couple of '70s rock join in raspy-voiced bliss to compare closets.

BABY, COME TO ME

James Ingram & Patti Austin. Is that a quiet storm looming in the distance? Best to take cover in each other's arms.

THE BOY IS MINE

Brandy & Monica. Oh, no she didn't! Oh, yes she did.

DON'T GO BREAKING MY HEART

Elton John & Kiki Dee. So much fun they covered it on "One Day at a Time."

NO MORE TEARS (ENOUGH IS ENOUGH)

Donna Summer & Barbra Streisand. Sisters do it for themselves and kick that trifling man out together.

JACKSON

Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash. The Man in Black and his spicy bride at their most playful.

AS

George Michael & Mary J. Blige. Wham, a hip and fresh read on a Stevie Wonder treasure.

KINGDOM OF RAIN

Sinead O'Connor and The The. We're still feeling the chills of the lyrics from this one: "Our bed is empty/ the fire is out."

MOCKINGBIRD

James Taylor & Carly Simon. A funky '70s update of the Charlie and Inez Foxx '60s hit.

LOVE HURTS

Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris. Love may hurt, but these two make it sound so good.

CANDY

Iggy Pop & Kate Pierson. The Stooge and the B-52 make a surprisingly pretty pair on this touching tale of yearning.

GOLDEN RING

George Jones & Tammy Wynette. Classic country heartbreak from a classic country couple.

STATE OF SHOCK

Mick Jagger & the Jacksons. Seriously odd but totally funky, and how can you beat Jacko and Jagger trading lines like "you got me deep-fried"?

HENRY LEE

Nick Cave & PJ Harvey. Dark, sexy, and a little scary. We'd expect nothing less from these two tackling a murder ballad.

GUILTY

Barry Gibb & Barbra Streisand. OK, this is the most aptly titled entry on the list. It oughta be illegal.

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