Karaoke evenings can be great fun, but sometimes you get those people who are a little shy about getting up. If that is the case, then singing a duet can help. So, I’ve decided to take an in-depth look at the best duet karaoke songs to help you find the perfect option to sing with your duet buddy.
It isn’t hard to find a great duet in whatever genre you prefer. And they are not all boy/girl songs either. There are so many great karaoke songs to choose from that getting up there in the first place will be the easy part. So find yourself a partner because here we go.
- Leather And Lace – Stevie Nicks & Don Henley
- Endless Love – Diana Ross and Lionel Richie
- Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Elton John and Kiki Dee
- Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie
- Up Where We Belong – Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
- Islands in the Stream – Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
- Crying Time – George Jones & Tammy Wynette
- Cathy’s Clown – The Everly Brothers
- It Takes Two – Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston
- Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
- You’re All I Need To Get By – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
- Melting Pot – Blue Mink
- I Got You Babe – Sonny & Cher
- You’re The One That I Want – John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
- Looking for Great Songs to Sing?
- Best Duet Karaoke Songs – Final Thoughts
Stevie Nicks was still a member of Fleetwood Mac and only recently split up with her then-husband, Lindsey Buckingham. She moved on by dating Mick Fleetwood.
Don Henley had just seen the Eagles rip themselves apart. Stevie and Don had then become an item. It was a highly charged atmosphere when this was recorded.
She wrote the song originally for husband and wife duo Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter for their album. She even named it “Leather and Lace,” as that was the title of the album. It never made the album in any shape or form. I don’t think she was very impressed.
They Do The Song Proud
She has an inimitable style of singing a song. He could sing “Three Blind Mice” and make it sound great. Put them together in a romantic relationship, and you get a great track. And so it was.
Stevie put it on her Bella Donna album, which was her first solo album and which was already very good. But this was the icing on the cake. The relationship was one of those off/on affairs and might not have lasted too long. But the song is still a great duet song for karaoke.
If you are going to try and make a duet an instant success, then why not put together two of the best and most recognized singers from that time? That is what happened with this song.
Lionel Richie wrote the song for inclusion in the 1981 movie of the same name. He got together with Diana Ross to record and produce this track which became a worldwide hit. It was derided in some quarters as being “too cheesy.” I can understand that judgment because, in many ways, it was. It uses every cliche and expression that Mr. Richie could drag out.
Nevertheless, when you get singers of this stature, they can get away with it. Whatever your opinion of the song and the performance, it makes a great karaoke track for couples. It was and still is very popular.
Take one of the great songwriters, singers, and performers of his time and put him with someone of Kiki Dee’s talent. What do you get? A great track but possibly not what they were hoping for. That is another story.
Who was Kiki Dee?
Well, just one of the best female singers of the mid to late 70s, and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. She worked with Elton John’s record company Rocket Records during that time. That collusion brought forth her album I’ve Got The Music In Me in 1974/5.
Rocket Records was linked with Island Studios, but the band and Kiki recorded this at the Marquee Studios. That was a studio at the back of the Marquee Club in London. Elton John recorded his bit in Canada and sent it over.
Working with Elton John was an inevitability, and this duet was recorded and released in 1976. The songwriting credits were assigned to “Carte Blanche” and “Ann Orson.” But that’s just Elton and Bernie Taupin having a bit of fun at Motown’s expense.
It was a number 1 hit for them on both sides of the Atlantic. They didn’t produce anything else until 1993. Possibly because of a bit of internal friction. But as I said, that is another story.
Once again, let’s take two of the biggest acts of the time, put them together, and see what happens. This was recorded in Switzerland “by accident.” They were both recording there on different projects, and Bowie did some backup vocals for Queen’s album, Hot Space. They were eventually not included, but after the session, they were all jamming away for fun.
This was the outcome. It was assigned to Queen and Bowie as writers, but it isn’t difficult to appreciate where most of it comes from. John Deacon regularly came up with bass lines like that. And that is the basis of the music on this track. I hazard a guess and say it is a “Freddie lyric.” Nevertheless, a huge success came from some “after recording” fun.
Another song with a big backstory. This one seldom made the light of day. Jennifer Warnes, an excellent singer, is noted for her work on film soundtracks. Joe Cocker hadn’t got a clue about them but was a big solo singer.
She loved the demo; he hated it. She did her bit on her own, so did he. But only after some persuasion and a quick walk around the block from the studio. Finally, he was persuaded that it would only work singing together. They did it in LA, and the outcome was very impressive.
His gravelly voice mixed with her more traditional sound. The song was from the film “An Officer and a Gentleman” from 1982. A great song and quite rightly a big hit and a great karaoke duet song.
Okay, let’s change the style a little bit. American country music has seen its fair share of collaborations for duets. So, let’s take a look at a couple…
If we are talking about “internationally-known” country music artists, then they don’t come much bigger than these two. This is a song that was written by the Bee Gees. It was originally written for Marvin Gaye and had a definite R&B feel to it.
Of course, it was a huge success in the US in both contemporary and Country music charts. It peaked at number 7 in the UK. A nice comfortable tempo with man and woman alternating the lead vocal. As a result, it’s one of the best duet karaoke songs.
Sometimes fiction meets reality, and it certainly did with this song from another two country music legends. This 1976 song was an interesting situation for both singers. They had been married, but by the time this song from the album, Golden Ring, was released, they had been divorced.
Written by Buck Owens, it tells the story of a rather sad break-up of two people. The album was a huge success, as their previous collaborations had been. It encouraged them to get through their personal differences and continue working together. And this despite a rather contentious situation.
As we move away from Country music, we take in a couple of brothers who, in a way, bridged three gaps. The gap between Country and Pop, and then on to Rock n Roll. Some contend that they were always just a Country duo.
They started that way, singing traditional folk songs like “Put My Little Shoes Away” as well as Country standards. But it is the Rock n Roll releases that many will remember them for.
Bird Dog, Claudette, Lucille, Good Golly Miss Molly, Wake Up Little Susie, and the country-rock, Bye Bye Love. And, of course, there was Cathy’s Clown. The list just goes on.
Sometimes many people forget the enormous contribution they made to everything from Folk to Rock n Roll. And, of course, how they influenced others, including The Beatles.
Cathy’s Clown was a monster hit just about everywhere, and the vocals were recorded on just one take. Just how good were they to be able to do that?
The song tells the story of a man who was made a fool of by his girlfriend and is of note because of its unusual structure. It has no verses as such and starts with a chorus.
Everything For The Party
This has got everything you need to get any karaoke party rocking. A duet that is loved and remembered even by those who weren’t around at the time, like me. However, I was at the Reunion Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1983.
The atmosphere was electric. They were Rock n Roll with a bit of Folk and Country thrown in. How good were they? Probably the best vocal duo there has been.
OK, let nostalgia take a back seat for a while. When we are talking about vocal duets, there was a period where even Elton John got inspired to have a go with Kiki Dee. The man in the middle of this was Marvin Gaye. Three from him with his vocal partners.
Marvin Gaye had been involved with duets before this, but it was his collaboration with Kim Weston that opened the door. It was recorded in 1965 but not released until 1966 at a time when Tamla Motown could do no wrong.
A song full of enthusiasm and good feeling about two people agreeing that two is better than one. It was also covered by Tina Turner and Rod Stewart. When it comes to the best duet karaoke songs, this one is near the top of the list.
We move on to 1967, and Marvin Gaye has paired up with Tammi Terrell, who, despite working with James Brown, was a relative unknown. However, Tamla recognized the quality in the voice, and so did Marvin Gaye.
She was rather nervous at the recording and did it on her own. However, she spent a few years with Marvin Gaye and did some great duets. She collapsed in his arms on stage during a performance and died of a brain tumor aged 24.
This is one of those duets that everyone knows. Not easy to sing, but one of the most enjoyable karaoke duet songs that everyone will join in on the chorus.
The last of the Marvin Gaye trilogy and still with Tammi Terrell. This, for me, was the best of a series of duets they made. Great song, well sung by both. Released in 1968, it remains a classic. A move away from the Tamla feel, it was recorded elsewhere and has a different sound to what had gone before.
She sat in a wheelchair in the audience recovering from brain surgery while he performed it in 1970, while she tried to sing along. He took the mic to her and got her to sing a bit of it with him. It was the last time she sang in public. This song was played at her funeral.
Despite the tragic backstory, it is a great song about two people and their feelings for each other. And, of course, a great song for two people to duet at karaoke. Okay, handkerchiefs away, let’s move to a different style but from the same period.
It was quite common in the 60s and 70s to get a bunch of session musicians together. They would sometimes turn out songs without anyone knowing who they are. This was the situation with Blue Mink, except they actually got together as a formal unit.
Madeleine Bell took the lead and sang with songwriter and singer Roger Cook. Cook wrote the song with long-time collaborator Roger Greenaway. They had a series of successful records over the five or six years after the release of this song in 1969, but this was probably the best known.
A nice karaoke duet to sing, although it has serious subject matter buried in the words. Now, how about we finish with what could be the greatest two duets ever?
When this hit the airwaves in 1965 in the UK, it was at a time when “anything goes.” But only so far. And looking at these two, it proved the point. We were used to the “suited and booted” Beatles and weren’t ready for a couple of what looked like “down and out” hippies. But, oh how they took us all by storm.
Sonny Bono had been a producer and songwriter for Phil Spector. His then-wife, Cher, was just a very good singer. She didn’t actually like the song, but they recorded it, and the rest was history.
It became a very real symbol of a prominent counter-culture that was growing fast. Fighting against the authority of parents and just about anybody.
The Opposite of Dylan
Dylan had written “It Ain’t Me Babe,” full of bitterness and disillusionment. This was its antidote. It became their sound and signature song. You heard it everywhere, and whenever you did, you thought of them.
It was predominantly a hippy song, which was its appeal. Easy to sing, it is one of the most popular karaoke duet songs that will raise the roof at any karaoke party.
And just when you have got the roof back on after the last one, off it goes again. What can you say about this that hasn’t already been said? Great film, great music, Olivia Newton-John in tight black leather, John Travolta, and this song. You could say it had it all.
It was written and produced by Australian John Farrar, who once played with The Shadows. As a single, it is estimated it sold over 15 million copies worldwide. This makes it one of the biggest selling singles ever.
The film came out in 1978 and was based on the 1971 musical of the same name. Both have been huge successes, although it is the film that most will remember. When you think of a duet, this will always be one of the ones that you think of first.
Are You Brave Enough?
Maybe you might be. Some will be, after a couple of glasses of the old vino. It isn’t that hard a song to sing, and it is one of the greats for karaoke; if you are brave enough, that is. Okay, where are those leather trousers?
Looking for Great Songs to Sing?
We can help with that. Check out our detailed articles on Best Songs About Friendship, the Best Songs about Friday, the Best Songs About Change, the Best Songs About the Sun and Sunshine, the Best Songs about Fighting, the Best Sing-Along Songs, and the Top Karaoke Songs That Anyone Can Sing for great musical selections.
Also, take a look at our in-depth reviews of the Best Karaoke Speakers, the Best Karaoke Microphones, the Best Karaoke Machines, the Best Tailgate Speakers, the Best Party Speakers, the Best Bluetooth Speakers With Radio, and the Best Boomboxes you can buy in 2023.
Best Duet Karaoke Songs – Final Thoughts
Fire up the karaoke machine and crank up the volume. This is a list full of great songs; all of them are going to be great additions to the party. Some you will have thought of. But I have tried to include some you have missed.
Until next time, happy listening.