Los 20 mejores duetos vocales de la música

Pocos subgéneros de la música han sido más rentables (y a menudo desafortunados) que los duetos. Pero como hay muchos buenos, nos ponemos manos a la obra y elegimos los 20 mejores duetos vocales de la historia de la música.

En el texto y la selección nos ayuda un habitual colaborador del blog, nuestro gran amigo Carlos Rodríguez Duque, El Duque de Texas. Mucho soul, country y rock and roll con iluminados como Otis Redding, Frank Sinatra, Carla Thomas, Aretha Franklin, Gram Parsons y muchos más. Irresistible.

1. «Something Stupid» (Nancy Sinatra & Frank Sinatra): Puro encanto en un dueto vocal histórico

Como de costumbre, Frank Sinatra borda un tema que salió a la venta el año anterior a la versión con su hija y que fue escrito por Carson Clarks y grabado por él y su señora Gaile Foote. Clarks se aseguró de que Sinatra lo escuchase, éste vio el potencial del tema y decidió pasárselo a Lee Hazlewood, productor de la carrera discográfica de Nancy. Hazlewood se entusiasmó y propuso grabarlo inmediatamente.

«El resto es historia de la buena: número uno en Estados Unidos durante cuatro semanas, número en Gran Bretaña, disco de oro (de cuando eran de oro y no de bisutería) y único disco de la historia grabado por padre e hija en alcanzar a posición más alta de las listas», explica Carlos Rodríguez Duque.

2. «Love is strange» (Mickey and Sylvia): inocencia en un duelo vocal maravilloso

Él, profesor de música; ella, su alumna… Mickey Baker and Sylvia Vanterpool grabaron este temazo en 1957. Bo Diddley había compuesto la canción apenas un año antes, aunque fue acreditada a su mujer de entonces, Ethel Smith.

Diddley llegó a grabar su versión pero no tiene nada que ver con la de Mickey & Sylvia, uno de los mejores duetos vocales jamás grabados. «Esta es una de esas versiones que superan con creces a la original. Sensual, atrevida, y con unas guitarras que hacen todo lo necesario para convertirse en una tercera voz», suscribe Carlos Rodríguez Duque.

3. «Good Lovin’ Ain’t Easy To Come By» (Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell: puro alma de soul

No entraremos en la historia de amor entre Terrell y Gaye ni haremos mención al monumental tema que les hizo famosos entre los televidentes celtibéricos de los años 90. Nos centraremos en la participación o no de Terrell en «Good Lovin’ Ain’t Easy To Come By» porque antes de que el disco se comenzase a grabar la cantante estaba ya muy enferma. Tanto que se cuenta que Gaye se puso furioso cuando Barry Gordy Jr. le dijo que tenían que aprovechar el tirón comercial para sacar un tercer elepé de duetos.

El artero de Barry le convenció diciéndole que el dinero de las ventas serviría para cubrir los gastos médicos de Tammy y que incluso ayudaría a la familia de esta económicamente. El dinero habla y normalmente manda. Gaye calló y comulgó con rueda de molino.

«Valerie Simpson grabó la canción para que sirviese de guía en la melodía vocal de una Terrell ya muy debilitada por el tumor cerebral que sufría. La idea era que Terrell pasase por el estudio y grabase su parte siguiendo aquella guía de Valerie Simpson, pero es más que probable que la voz que se escucha en esta preciosidad de canción sea la de la propia Simpson porque Tammy no podía ya ni cantar», recuerda Carlos Rodríguez Duque.

Por cierto, que aún no se ha hecho el reconocimiento que se debe a los grandísimos Ashford & Simpson.

4. «I got you babe» (Sonny & Cher): nada podía fallar con esta canción

De 1965, se trata de un tema compuesto por completo por Sonny Bono para su entonces mujer Cher y cuya música interpreta aquella maravilla musical que era la «Wrecking Crew«. ¿Qué podía fallar? Absolutamente nada. Es uno de los mejores duetos vocales. O como poco uno de los más populares.

«La fórmula era la correcta: letras simples, melodía pegadiza y una producción impecable. Lo bueno de ‘I Got You Babe’ es que te puede parecer una canción empalagosa como un merengue o una perla musical según el día del año», opina Carlos Sánchez Duque.

A pesar de que a Cher no le gustase y de que Ahmet Ertegun la quisiera relegar a la cara b del single, «I Got You Babe» se hizo el tema estrella de ambos y les dio mucho dinero. Ah, fue compuesta poco después de que saliera «Like a rolling stone«, de Bob Dylan. Comparen…

5. «Bonnie & Clyde» (Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot): la bella y la bestia, o casi

Las letras en francés están basadas en una especie de poema que escribió Bonnie Parker en algún momento de su huída antes de que los Rangers de Texas los friesen a balazos. De todos es conocida la leyenda de esta señora y de su compañero de correrías Clyde Barrow, incluso hay película de Netflix. Así que centrémonos en lo importante…

El feo Lucien debió de ver la que dirigió Arthur Penn en 1967 y quedó prendado de la historia. Gainsbourg y Bardot vivieron un cortísimo romance en otro de esos mitos revividos: la bella y la bestia fumadora. Gainsbourg pensó que BB quedaría eternamente enamorada de él gracias a su dominio de la palabra y diversas artes, pero Brigitte estaba casada por aquel entonces con el guapetón germano Gunter Sachs y a la vez también tenía una amistad especial con el actor Stephen Boyd, con quien había trabajado en una película en 1957.

«Pobre Serge… De nada sirvieron las canciones que escribió para Bardot (incluida la primera versión de ‘Je t’aime… moi non plus’); qué poco se imaginaba que la bella se iría a Almería a rodar una película del oeste con Boyd y que no volvería a hacerle caso nunca más», matiza Carlos Rodríguez Duque.

El tema apareció en dos elepés: uno de Gainsbourg de 1968 titulado «Initials BB» y otro, un recopilatorio de temas de Bardot y Gainsbourg del mismo año, el magnífico «Bonnie and Clyde».

6. «That’s All It Took» (Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris): la pareja country-rock por excelencia

Habría que incluir un dueto de música country, pero no nos hemos atrevido a adentrarnos en el más puro porque abrir esa puerta hubiera supuesto no salir de ese cuarto. Para contrarrestar tanto soul, aquí va un tema escrito en parte por el grandísimo George Jones y que grabó a dúo con Gene Pitney.

Es muy difícil superar la parte de Jones de aquella primera interpretación, imposible diríamos porque somos muy fans del “No Show”, pero nadie se puede resistir al encanto de la pareja por excelencia del country rock.

«La versión en la que nos centramos apareció en el primer disco en solitario de Parsons. Un tema en el que las voces cantantes lo bordan, en especial Harris, pero que a su vez tiene un acompañamiento musical delicioso. Lástima de una mezcla con menos protagonismo para el fiddle de Byron Berline
cuando Gram y Emmylou están cantando a dúo», opina Carlos Rodríguez Duque.

7. «‘You mean so much to me» (Southside Johnny & Ronnie Spector ): absolutamente arrollador

En el primer disco tras la mutación de The Asbury Jukes en Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, hay dos canciones escritas y regaladas a la banda por el anteriormente artista Bruce Springsteen. Una de ellas es «You mean so much to me», que en el elepé interpreta al alimón con John Lyon la maravillosa Ronnie Spector.
«Un tema que no entró en ‘Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ’, pero que es tan ‘Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ’ como cualquiera de las nueve canciones de aquel álbum de debut. Spector convierte en oro cualquier canción que canta», asegura Carlos Sánchez Duque.

Qué inicio tan arrollador, qué vientos, cómo mezclan los dos vocalistas. Es sencillamente arrebatador y uno de los mejores duetos vocales se siempre, aunque no tan reconocido como debiera.

8. «Ain’t But The One» (Aretha Franklin & Ray Charles): Lady Soul, a ciegas

Los siete primeros segundos de la canción nos avisan de lo que nos espera: Aretha mostrándole al oyente quién fue, es y será: la indiscutible reina del soul. Y luego entra en acción Ray Charles, quien adapta su forma de cantar para servir de ayudante perfecto. Nada de protagonismo masculino. Una vez que la reina arranca, Charles se quita de en medio y entonces «Ain’t But The One» se transforma en un arrobamiento musical al más puro estilo «Old Landmark».

«Es una de las canciones menos conocidas de la discografía de Lady Soul principalmente porque no apareció en álbum hasta 2007, en concreto en la recopilación ‘Rare & Unreleased Recordings From The Golden Reign Of The Queen Of Soul’. La canción es una grabación en directo extraída del especial de televisión de la CBS ‘Duke Ellington, We Love You Madly’ grabado en el teatro Schubert de Los Ángeles en enero de 1973″, reseña Carlos Rodríguez Duque sobre uno de los mejores duetos vocales jamás grabados.

9. «Tramp» (Otis Redding & Carla Thomas):

Este tema lo coescribió y grabó Lowell Fulson, pero el éxito llegó con la versión de apenas unos meses después de Redding & Thomas. Apareció en el último disco en vida de Redding, el titulado ‘King & Queen’, y fue un producto que intentó imitar el exitazo de los discos de duetos de Tammy Terrell y Marvin Gaye pasándolo por el tamiz de la Stax.

«Esta canción en concreto forma parte de aquella corriente musical en el que la artista en cuestión le cantaba las cuarenta a su partenaire masculino. Carla llama paleto a Otis con un desdén que es gloria bendita y a su vez Otis hace de gañán de la zona campestre de Georgia como nadie», aprecia Carlos Rodríguez Duque.

10. «Aguas de Março» (Elis Regina & Tom Jobim): un puzzle sonoro

En 1974 salió a la venta un disco titulado «Elis & Tom«, que fue grabado en Los Ángeles en aquel mismo año. La cara A la abría esta pieza sublime de la música brasileña, uno de los mejores duetos vocales de siempre y que es posiblemente el tema que mejor encaja el puzzle sonoro de todas las piezas que compusieron el disco.

«Jobim, como escritor de canciones/poemas; Regina, considerada a maior cantora do Brasil, unos músicos que son una máquina perfecta de hacer música. Unos toques de Vinicius de Moraes por aquí, Chico Buarque y Aloysio de Oliveira por allá y la dirección orquestal del americano Bill Hitchcock… Las aguas de marzo que cierran el verano del hemisferio sur hechas canción», resume Carlos Rodríguez Duque.

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