Top Classic Country Music Duets

10/02/2013
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(Radio.com) It's hard to argue with a good duet. When two talented singers wrap their voices around one another, the result can produce a magical experience that goes beyond the abilities of each individual artist, no matter how skilled they are on their own.

Duets have been an integral part of country music since well before the dawn of the genre's commercial era in the 1920s. And of course they're still popular today–check out the songs on our list of New School Male-Female Country Duets that we published last week, which includes two songs released just this year from some of the contemporary music world's biggest and best-known singers.

Last week's list ran from the present day back to the 1997, when Tim McGraw and Faith Hill released their massively popular duet "It's Your Love." This week we go back even further, exploring the most classic duets in country music history, performed by some of the genre's most legendary artists (many of whom are members of the Country Music Hall of Fame).
2. "Golden Ring" – George Jones & Tammy Wynette: There are so many awesome duets between these two country giants, the King and Queen of Country Music, that picking a single favorite is tough. The sweet, fragile honesty of "Take Me"? The big dreams that covered up the dearth of love in "Two Story House"? Both great candidates, but when you slip on "Golden Ring," it's impossible to deny the latter song's power. Especially with that ending to the song: the lyrics circle back to the beginning, with yet another young couple venturing into the same "pawn shop in Chicago" looking at the same set of "wedding rings there on display"…and the tale of woe begins all over again.

1. "Return of the Grievous Angel" – Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris: Emmylou Harris has recorded some tremendous duets in her time (see "If I Needed You," above), but her recordings with country-rock godfather Gram Parsons come out on top, as they're simply some of the most powerful creations in country music. It's tough work choosing between songs of theirs such as "Sleepless Nights," "In My Hour of Darkness," "Love Hurts" and the gut-wrenching "$1000 Wedding," but this song (penned by Parsons and Thomas Brown) nabs us every time with its its peppy rhythm and simple but solid melodic hooks. See the other eight on the list and stream each song online.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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