How good would it be if, at the end of your local pub trivia night, music acts got up on stage and jammed together? And not just the resident covers band at your local watering hole, I’m talking bona fide rock legends.
That’s always been a big part of the appeal of RocKwiz – seeing people you never thought you’d see perform together singing something you weren’t expecting them to.
Sure, the trivia part of the show is great, too, but hundreds of thousands of people have headed to YouTube to check out clips of the duets (and one group performance) on this list. Here are the 10 most viewed (many of which are also available on SBS On Demand, so we've embedded those where possible)...
1. “Fairytale Of New York” by Tex Perkins and Clare Bowditch
You couldn’t think of two singers more suited to tackle the Christmas classic originally recorded by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl in 1987 if you tried. Tex and Clare gave a rousing rendition of the alternative festive tune during RocKwiz’s 2007 Christmas special.
2. “Sunday Morning” by Courtney Barret and Billy Bragg
It kicked off the debut – and eventually acclaimed – album by The Velvet Undergound back in 1967, and during 2014’s season 12, Melbourne singer/songwriter Courtney Barret and English firebrand Billy Bragg made pretty good substitutes for Nico and Lou Reed on “Sunday Morning”.
3. “This Mess We’re In” by Katy Steele and Paul Kelly
Way back in 2005, season one of RocKwiz set the standard for the decade of performances to come. In the show’s fifth ever episode, Little Birdy’s Katy Steele and Paul Kelly tackled “This Mess We’re In”, which had originally appeared on PJ Harvey’s Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea album in 2000 and featured Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Interestingly, Katy handled Thom’s part and Paul subbed for PJ.
4. “Gonna Take Some Time” by Jimmy and Mahalia Barnes
OK, this duet wasn’t so out of the ordinary – Jimmy and Mahalia have been performing together since she was a Tin Lid. It was also a song you’d expect them to sing, especially in late 2005, which is when this season two episode aired and when Jimmy’s Double Happiness album, which featured the father/daughter duet, was released. But who cares – this Barnes vs Barnes vocal showdown gets clicks for good reason.
5. “Slave To Love” by Dan Kelly and Martha Wainwright
He doesn’t look quite as slick in a suit as Bryan Ferry and she gives the 1985 sophisti-pop tune somewhat of a manic edge, but somehow this take on “Slave To Love” works. I’m just intrigued how the Aussie rocker and the Canadian folk star settled on this song for their season two duet.
6. “Highway To Hell” by Angry Anderson and Sarah McLeod
The choice of this AC/DC classic is a little more what you’d expect to hear the Rose Tattoo frontman or The Superjesus’ vocalist bust out at band rehearsal – but whoever anticipated seeing these two rock “Highway To Hell” together?
7. “Islands In The Stream” by Ella Hooper and Troy Cassar-Daley
Inspired. Whoever came up with the idea of Ella and Troy doing a bit of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers during their season one episode knew what they were doing. The Bee Gees-penned song is pretty much impossible to ruin, but the Aussie rockers do it proud.
8. “Hey Ya” by Vika and Linda Bull, John Butler, Paul Kelly, Seth Sentry and Julia Stone
Another genius idea – the all-star cast from the final episode of RocKwiz Salutes The Decades united for a clearly enjoyable rendition of OutKast’s inescapable “Hey Ya”. There’s no weak link in this ensemble, but it sure wouldn’t have been the same without the Bull sisters’ contribution.
9. “Summer Wine” by Clare Bowditch and Ed Kuepper
Here she is again – this time Clare teamed up with the prolific Ed Kuepper on a fairly faithful version of the Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood duet from 1967. The pair performed “Summer Wine” during their season two episode in early 2006.
10. “Baby Blue” by Isabella Manfredi & Stephen Cummings
First released by British band Badfinger on their album Straight Up in 1971, “Baby Blue” was interpreted by The Preatures’ lead singer, Isabelle Manfredi, and Australian rock legend Stephen Cummings during 2014’s season 12.
Watch RocKwiz Salutes the Legends on Saturdays at 8.35pm on SBS. After they air, episodes will be available on SBS On Demand.
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