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The 10 Best Guest Appearances On Other People's Songs

Heart at House of Blues, 2012
Heart at House of Blues, 2012
Photo by Groovehouse

Have you ever had one of those moments when, you're listening to a song and hear something familiar, like maybe a familiar voice or wonder, "Okay, who is really playing this particular instrument?"

Many times a band or an artist will guest star on a recording. Sometimes it's a well-known fact, such as the time John Mayer played the guitar solo on Fall Out Boy's remake of "Beat It" by Michael Jackson.

10. "Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney feat. Michael Jackson

This is perhaps one of the greatest collaborations featuring two legends: a former Beatle and the King of Pop. However, the song is perhaps more memorable for its video where the pair play a pair of traveling salesmen/vaudeville act called "Mac and Jack."

9. "Magnet and Steel," Walter Egan feat. Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks

Back in the '70s, songwriter Walter Egan had a massive crush on Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks. So he wrote a song about her and even got her and her ex-boyfriend, Lindsey Buckingham, to sing backup on the track. The song is rumored to be about Nicks.

Though they reportedly never dated -- Stevie would go on to date her longtime solo producer, Jimmy Iovine -- the song remains a classic and has been used in many films such as 1997's Boogie Nights.

8. "Beat It" by Michael Jackson feat. Eddie Van Halen

When Michael Jackson wrote "Beat It" for his bestselling Thriller album, he was purposely aiming to write a rock song, albeit in his own way. When Eddie accepted the offer, he wanted nothing in return as far as monetary compensation goes.

According to a Q magazine interview with producer Quincy Jones, Jones said, "I'm not going to tell you what to play, the reason you're here is because of what you do play...' So that's what he did. He played his ass off."

 

7. "What About Love," Heart feat. Starship's Grace Slick & Mickey Thomas on background vocals

When Heart recorded their 1985 self-titled comeback album, the band brought in Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas.Though you can barely hear Slick's powerhouse vocals in the background, they're still there. Listen carefully.

6. "God's Child (Baila Conmigo)," Selena feat. David Byrne

Shortly before Selena was killed by her fan club president, Yolanda Saldivar, she teamed up with none other than former Talking Heads front man David Byrne for what would become her second posthumous release, Dreaming of You. Her first was a Spanish greatest-hits album.

5. "Love Song" by Madonna feat. Prince

Once upon a time, Prince and Madonna were actually friends and even dated briefly in the mid-1980s. This song was on her controversial Like a Prayer album. Though this was recorded after her divorce from actor Sean Penn, it's still a good song because both singers' voices mesh in a very beautiful fashion.

 

4. "Eye to Eye" by Amy Grant feat. Katy Hudson (Perry)

In 2001, Katy Perry was known to Christian rockers as Katy Hudson. However, her album went nowhere and her label went out of business. In the meantime, she recorded backup vocals for Grant's 2003 comeback album, Simple Things.

3. "Breakin' My Heart" by Tom Verlaine (Television) feat. Ricky Wilson (of the B-52's)

When the B-52's lost Ricky Wilson to AIDS, not only did the band lose a great guitarist, but the music world at large did too. If you listen to "Breakin' My Heart," it sounds a lot like the usual stuff the B-52s put out in the late '70s and early '80s.

2. "Don't Give Up" by Peter Gabriel feat. Kate Bush

Former Genesis singer Peter Gabriel achieved his greatest solo success in 1986 with the release of So. While recording the album, Gabriel called upon Kate Bush to sing a duet with him. The song itself talks about unemployment and the despair that it brings upon a man. Bush tells him in the song "don't give up."

There were two versions of the video made, one consisting of a single continuous shot of Bush and Gabriel constantly hugging each other as friends and the other of depressed people and Bush's face superimposed on various shots. The first version of the video is seen below.

 

1. "Bleed to Love Her" by Fleetwood Mac feat. Christine McVie

If you have ever listened to Fleetwood Mac's 2003 album, Say You Will, you will notice that there was a very big stylistic shift, in more use of Lindsey's guitar. However, one track in particular sounds like classic Fleetwood Mac: "Bleed To Love Her."

The song features original Mac keyboard player Christine McVie, who had left the band in the late '90s and moved back to England. The song was originally on their live comeback album, The Dance.

Honorable mentions include original Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green playing guitar on the band's 1979 album Tusk.

If I missed any, please feel free to tell me in the comments section.


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