The worst words in pop: 'We'd like to sing a duet...'

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

As Kylie and Jason prepare to reprise their 1988 'Neighbours' hit, Genevieve Roberts recalls other twosomes best forgotten

Pleas for mercy rang out across the UK last week as it emerged that Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan are reuniting, to sing a duet.

Twenty-three years ago, the duo – better known at the time as Scott and Charlene from the Australian soap Neighbours – performed Especially For You, the tune that became the soundtrack to their on-screen wedding. This time around, they will be warbling in Hyde Park in central London, with fellow record label mates, at an event next month called Hit Factory Live.

Ms Minogue is possibly misguided in her conviction that the nation will be overcome with gratitude when the duo gets back together, so many years on. "I don't think we'll even need to sing it," she said. "I'm sure the audience all went through the Neighbours wedding. It's going to bring the house down. Even though it's outdoors."

The release was indeed more popular in the UK than in any other market, but that was 1988. The UK has moved on. Critics suggest the duets of the Eighties should remain in that decade, as unfortunate entries in our history books.

Ms Minogue and Mr Donovan follow in the disreputable footsteps of musical heavyweights Sir Mick Jagger and David Bowie, who have spent decades recovering their reputations after performing Dancing in the Street in 1985, and Mel Smith and Kim Wilde, who in 1987 gave us Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. Phil Collins hit an all-time low when he teamed up with Philip Bailey for Easy Lover, while Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias's toe-curling paean To All the Girls I've Loved Before, still evokes shudders in many quarters.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis suffered a temporary lapse of reason in releasing their joint performance of the soul standard Cruisin' in 2000.

Tragically, it seems singers refuse to learn the lessons of the past. Gary Barlow took to the stage last week with Cheryl Cole at the Queen's diamond jubilee concert for a performance of Need You Now which, even on this goodnatured occasion, was hard to file under anything but dire.

Obviously, the duet can produce some delights. Few would cavil at Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel performing Don't Give Up; Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop's spirited version of Well, Did You Evah!; or Morrissey and Siouxsie Sioux reuniting for another rendition of Interlude.

Ironic appeal it may have, but some internet posts suggest people are considering fleeing the capital if the authorities do not step in to put a stop to the Jason/Kylie reunion.

Do you think two's a crowd when it comes to music? Please tweet your yeas, nays, and nominations for the worst duet ever, to @IndyonSunday #jasonandkylie

Mick Jagger and David Bowie

Dancing in the Street, 1985

Combine the swaggering energy of Jagger and the iconoclastic brilliance of Bowie. What could possibly go wrong? The video, that's what. Recorded in less than a day and one of the most buttock-clenchingly awful misuses of music and visuals in modern history, it serves as a warning to wrinkly rockers and would-be duetters everywhere.

Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder

Ebony and Ivory, 1982

It was supposed to be a song about peace and love, but the teeth-rotting harmonies and Hallmark card lyrics earned it a thoroughly well-deserved "worst duet ever" award from Radio 6 Music listeners. It reached No 1 in the charts, proving that you can fool most of the people some of the time. Parodies performed on Spitting Image, Father Ted and Saturday Night Live are infinitely superior.

Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle

Diamond Lights, 1987

Hoddle and Waddle were highly talented on the football pitch. But why they thought this qualified them to record themselves singing is beyond human ken. It comes as no surprise that Diamond Lights is one of the more embarrassing moments in popular music history. Luckily, the dynamic duo returned to their core skills quickly after this totally misguided mish-mash.

Mel Smith and Kim Wilde

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, 1987

Raising money for charity, especially Comic Relief, excuses a multitude of sins. But not this. Smith and Wilde's sacrificial slaughter of the Brenda Lee hit was made worse, if possible, by the liberal sprinkling of "How about pulling my cracker?" quips. Little that either has done before or since can entirely absolve them. Seasonal taste-lapse propelled it to No 3 in the charts.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis

Crusin', 2000

In the film Duets, Paltrow (amateur karaoke daughter) and Lewis (karaoke hustler dad) came together to perform what music website Spinner.com has declared the worst-ever duet. The pair compounded their sin by releasing their mangling of the Smokey Robinson hit. It appears the song's lyric "Let the music take your mind" came true. But not in a good way.

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor