10 Best Rock Music Collaborations Of The 1980s

When the stars aligned and the biggest names in the business worked together.

Walk This Way

You know what they say: two is always better than one. Well, for the most part.

You can see this in music history, which is full of great examples of two or more famous musicians working together to produce something special.

Just look at the 1980s. This is the decade that gave us Diana Ross and Lionel Richie on Endless Love, George Michael and Aretha Franklin on I Knew You Were Waiting for Me, Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes on Up Where We Belong, and The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl on Fairytale of New York.

But it wasn't just soul singers, pop stars, and drunken Irish bands that were hanging out in the 80s. Some of rock music's greatest partnerships happened in the decade, and that doesn't just mean singing duets. A collaboration in this instance is any time a rock musician worked with somebody else in any capacity, be it on the microphone, behind the scenes, or both.

The following ten tracks rank among some of the greatest ever made in the 80s, and they never would have happened without a little teamwork.

10. Dire Straits & Sting - Money For Nothing

In 1985, Dire Straits made music history.

Their album, Brothers in Arms, went platinum ten times over in the UK and nine times over in America. It would go on to sell an estimated 30 million copies around the world, making it one of the best-selling LPs ever made. And you know what? It's also a banger.

One of the highlights on an album full of them, is the song that would be chosen as its second single. Money for Nothing is one of the sweetest sounding songs of all time, as guitarist Mark Knopfler seamlessly teases a beautiful riff out of his instrument.

Just be careful of the lyrics; some of them have aged very badly.

Knopfler set the song's signature "I want my MTV hook" to the tune of The Police's Don't Stand So Close To Me. This was enough to land frontman Sting a co-writing credit and snag him a spot on the record itself.

Sting performs backing vocals on the track and gets about two lines to himself during the middle portion of the song. It's not the biggest contribution, but he can still say he was part of one of the coolest songs of the 80s.


Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.