Gaga and Grande have released 'Rain on Me'. But how does it stack up to other iconic collaborations?
There’s nothing more iconic than the sound of powerhouse female voices together. Whether it’s on stage or in the studio, it’s undeniable these collaborations form a gravitational pull to audiences worldwide.
The latest of these is Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga with their new single 'Rain On Me'. It's the second song from Gaga's upcoming sixth studio album 'Chromatica' and "little monsters" across the world have never been more excited.
Maybe it’s the seemingly relentless Gaga promo of the last few months, or the fact everyone needs something to feel happy about right now, but there’s been an undeniable buzz about this collaboration. The stakes are high, but everyone is hoping that it's going to be a "cultural reset".
Gaga and Ariana's fans have already updated their iPhone lock screens with promotional images of the duo. And stans everywhere have drafted tweets with relevant hashtags. If one thing's for sure, it's that they're not about to let this song flop without a fight.
When female artists collaborate together, it always feels like a major moment in pop-culture: the high notes, the harmonies and, most importantly, the music videos. Over the years, there's been so many all-female collaborations that have become timeless cultural reference points.
So to celebrate the release of 'Rain on Me', we’ve put together a list of the most iconic female music artist collaborations of all time.
(BTW we haven't included Gaga and Ariana's latest offering, because we haven't *quite* got to know it well enough yet, even if it is a certified bop!)
21. Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj
This Max Martin-penned catchy bop features three instantly recognisable superstar voices. Much like Jessie J calling crowds of people over to dance with her on the street in the music video, this song does exactly that on club dance floors. Throw in playful lyrics, cute outfits and one very campy handheld megaphone with the word bang written on it and you’ve got yourself a certified banger.
20. Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX
Once you hear this song, you can’t ever get it out of your head. 'Fancy' also makes you feel like you've just got paid the second you hear it, even if that couldn't be further from the truth.
The Clueless-inspired music video combined with an easily lip-syncable song makes for an irresistible showertime tune on full blast while you use your shampoo bottle as a makeshift microphone.
19. Lady Gaga and RuPaul
No list of iconic collaborations is complete without Lady Gaga dressed as what can only be described as a platform heel-wearing giant brown sparkly condom, accompanied by none other than *the* supermodel of the world, RuPaul. Gaga performed the song – from her criminally underated 'ARTPOP' album – live as part of the Muppets' Holiday Spectacular in 2013, then was joined on stage by the world-famous drag queen. It was just as weird as it sounds, but, in classic Gaga style, it somehow works?
Singing the second verse, RuPaul shimmied, swayed and towered over the five foot one singer, while muppets aptly remarked at the end: “Now I’ve seen everything.”
18. Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand
'No More Tears (Enough is Enough)'
This 1981 classic has a four minute version and an equally show-stopping eight minute 28 second extended version. We stan versatility.
Starting off as a slow ballad, the song gradually turns into an upbeat disco frenzy. Each iconic singer reaches fever pitch towards the end as they sing about ending relationships with “no sunshine, no moonlight, no stardust, no sign of romance” and to move on. They truly don’t make duets like this anymore.
17. Girls Aloud and Sugababes
'Walk This Way'
Covering Aerosmith’s classic 1975 single 'Walk This Way', Girls Aloud and Sugababes teamed up for a face-off style music video and it truly gave the gays everything they wanted. Originally filmed for Comic Relief, the live performance had the girl band in team colours as they strutted their stuff on stage. A cult classic.
16. Mel C and Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes
'Never Be The Same Again'
'Never Be The Same Again' was one of only two singles that featured a Spice Girl and another female artist, the second being Mel B featuring Missy Elliot’s 'I Want You Back'. The song was the first of two UK number ones for Mel C, and was the late Left Eye’s only number one outside of best-selling girl band TLC. It also also topped the charts in countries including The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and New Zealand.
15. Taylor Swift
Alright, so bear with us on this one.
Even though Kendrick Lamar is the official featured vocal artist on this track with Taylor, the music video stars a whole host of women, including Selena Gomez, Lena Dunham, Hailee Steinfeld, Serayah, Gigi Hadid, Ellie Goulding, Martha Hunt, Cara Delevingne, Zendaya, Hayley Williams, Lily Aldridge, Karlie Kloss, Jessica Alba, Mariska Hargitay, Ellen Pompeo and Cindy Crawford.
This isn't our fave Taylor song, but it's one of the most iconic music videos ever *precisely because* of Taylor's female guests. So, because we're making our own rules, it COUNTS, OK?
Anyway, what more could you want in a collab than a star-studded cast?
14. Britney Spears and Tinashe
This underrated bop has an equally underrated music video featuring pyrotechnics, a bubble room, extravagant sets and some serious chemistry between Britney and Tinashe. In fact, Britney’s leading man in the music video, Sam Asghari – who she reportedly hand-picked for the role – became her boyfriend and they’re still dating today. With almost 90 million views on YouTube, it’s clearly a slumber party everyone wants to get an invitation to.
It's an iconic moment for Tinashe, who is very talented but seems to have the worst management in the music biz.
13. Beyonce and Shakira
We’re just going to come out and say it, this collab offers one of the best dance breaks you’ll see in this list. Wearing matching outfits and dancing perfectly in sync, the pair shake their hips like no other, all the while flipping their beautiful curly hair back and forth. Combine that with killer vocals, a guitar and some frantic clapping and you’ve got yourself a winning formula.
12. Kylie and Dannii Minogue
Kylie Minogue and her sister Dannii performed the song 'Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves' in 1986 on the Australian reality TV series, Young Talent Time. It would be almost 30 years until they performed on television together with their song, '100 Degress' Throwing it back with a disco-inspired track, the pair wore matching outfits in different colours as they shone on stage to their campy tune. For fans of the Minogue sisters, this is a moment like no other, proving once and for all sisters really aren’t just doing it for themselves, they’re doing it for all of our benefit too.
11. Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera
'Do What You Want'
While Christina was a judge on the The Voice 2013 finale, she joined Lady Gaga on stage to fill in for R Kelly’s part in the 'ARTPOP' song. It's certainly an upgrade, for obvious reasons...
Wearing matching outfits, Gaga started off the show and then a silver seashell opened up to reveal Christina ready to give the song the vocals it truly originally deserved. The pair end the performance clinking a glass of champagne in truly show-stopping form. It's a real moment too because the pair were quite shady about each other in the past, but united over this absolute banger.
10. Eve and Gwen Stefani
'Rich Girl' and 'Let Me Blow Ya Mind'
Eve and Gwen Stefani joined forces on two iconic collaborations, in the form of 'Let Me Blow Your Mind' (2001) and 'Rich Girl' (2004). The former scored them number ones in Switzerland, Norway, Ireland and Belgium, while the latter had less chart success but was certified gold in the US. 'Rich Girl' was the second single released from Gwen’s album 'Love. Angel. Music. Baby', which marked her new 'Harajuku' era – one that hasn’t aged too well.
9. Dua Lipa and BLACKPINK
'Kiss and Make Up'
Pegged as one of the most ambitious crossovers of 2018, there’s no denying the global impact this song had, which crossed K-pop and Western pop audiences alike. Now with more than 134 million views on YouTube, the song has been certified platinum in Australia and silver in the United Kingdom, taking home the collaboration of the year trophy at the BreakTudo Awards. Although there’s no music video for the song, Dua Lipa joined the four-piece girl group on stage at their 2019 concert in Newark.
8. Britney Spears and Madonna
'Me Against the Music'
Britney and Madonna’s 'Me Against the Music' song is probably the second most recognisable moment (after their famous 2003 MTV VMAs kiss live on stage while Justin Timberlake watched on sourly in the audience).
The song features the two women in power suits dancing high powered choreography as they throw themselves into the walls of narrow wooden halls. It’s a certified floor-filler and one of the most iconic music videos ever.
7. Salt N Pepa and En Vogue
'Whatta Man' is what happens when queens of 90s rap collaborate with queens of 90s R&B. En Vogue had scored a string of hits including 'Hold On', 'My Lovin (You’re Never Gonna Get It)' and 'Free Your Mind', while Salt N Pepa had success with 'Push It', 'Shoop' and 'Let’s Talk About Sex'. While the collaboration failed to score number one in the US, or any other big charts across the globe, it secured itself as a classic and still sounds as fresh as it did when it came out.
6. Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey
'When You Believe'
Originally featured on the 1998 DreamWorks animated film, The Prince of Egypt, the song showcases two powerhouse voices at their best. Starting off slow, the ballad grows into an empowering song about believing in yourself, ending with a riff-off between the two beautifully unique voices. The high notes are truly life-changing. As Mariah would say: “That was a classic!”
5. Shakira and Jennifer Lopez
Super Bowl halftime show
It’s probably slightly unfair to compare single music videos and one-song live performances with the production value of a Super Bowl halftime show, complete with mixes of Shakira and J-Lo’s greatest hits… but we’re going to do it anyway!
Last year, the world was treated to Shakira shaking her hips and going viral with her tongue (performing an Arabic ululation called a zaghrouta, that is) and J-Lo flicking her hair while pole dancing. They then teamed up to sing some of their best back catalogue songs, all while not missing a beat and staying in key while no doubt breathless beyond belief.
4. Lady Gaga and Beyonce
'Telephone' and 'Video Phone'
Is there anything more iconic than two songs that are basically about the exact same thing and by the exact same people but on different albums? Well, yes – because this collab only made it to number five in the list.
BUT that doesn’t mean the artistry, concept for the music videos, choreography, costumes and catchy lyrics don’t hold their own. After all, once you kill a cow, you gotta make a burger, right? Which is ironic, because the pair branded 'Telephone' as part one (“To be continued…”) but never actually made a follow-up collaboration. Maybe one day.
Until then, there’s plenty to feast your eyes on in both Beyonce and Gaga’s separate offerings about telecommunications devices.
3. Céline Dion, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain, Carole King and Mariah Carey
'(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman'
In 1998, Aretha Franklin brought a star-studded cast of female music artists on stage with her to sing her hit 1967 song. It was originally written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King – the latter recording her own version in 1971. Céline Dion also released a cover version of the song in 1995 as part of the 'Tapestry Revisited: A Tribute to Carole King' album.
All three performers joined forces with Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain and Mariah Carey to perform the show stopping tune as the closing song of VH1 Divas Live and harmony of their combined powerhouse voices didn’t disappoint. The broadcast featured black and white flashbacks to Aretha singing the song, as the Divas showed off their vocal ranges.
2. Brandy and Monica
'The Boy is Mine'
This song brought two of America’s best-loved R&B singers together and scored them their first US number one. It must have given them some luck, as it led Monica to secure further US number ones with her two follow-up singles, 'The First Night' and 'Angel Of Mine'. It went on to be remixed, sampled and even used in an episode of Glee (Santana and Mercedes, eat your heart out).
Despite rumours of a falling out, Brandy and Monica reunited years later for the – slightly less successful – and unofficial sequel to 'The Boy Is Mine', 'It All Belongs To Me'. The song would no doubt have enjoyed meme and TikTok fame had it been released in 2020.
1. Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and P!nk
Could it have been anything else?
Originally made famous by American girl group, Labelle, in 1974, it went on to be covered by All Saints in 1998 and reached the top spot on the UK Singles Chart.
But in 2001, Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and P!nk teamed up to release their now iconic version for the Moulin Rouge movie released that same year.
It was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks, as well as a number-one hit in the UK. The group performed it live at the 2001 MTV Movie Awards, featuring show-stopping vocals and scantily-clad outfits, as well as released a music video still played at house parties across the world today. The song is also why so many people know how to ask “Will you go to bed with me tonight?” in French.
So there we have it: decades of all-female music moments. We have quite literally no choice but to stan because men have officially been found obsolete!