Top 25 Greatest Collaboration Albums Ever

As voted by UG community.

Ultimate Guitar

This week's traditional Wednesday Question saw the people of UG community debating the matter of the greatest collaboration album of all time.

We received plenty of votes and over 350 comments, all of which were summed up into a Top 25 rundown.

Note that we were looking for collaboration efforts between two or more artists, and NOT supergroups.

Before kicking things off, honorable mentions include Sunn O))) & Ulver with "Terrestrials" (2014), Scott Walker + Sunn O))) ‎and "Soused" (2014), Fripp & Eno ‎with "Evening Star" (1975), Tony Iommi & Glenn Hughes with "Fused" (2005), and Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon with The Toadliquors ‎and "Prairie Home Invasion" (1994).

With that out of the way, the list patiently awaits below.

25. Omar Rodriguez Lopez & John Frusciante - Omar Rodriguez Lopez & John Frusciante (2010)

Kicking things off, you folks voted for 2010's collaboration between The Mars Volta's Omar Rodriguez Lopez and Mr. John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It's a 7-track experimental effort featuring both of the esteemed gents delivering the goods on guitar, bass, and synthesizers.

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24. Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse - Dark Night of the Soul (2010)

Up next, a punch of indie rock from Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, as well as 13 other collaborators - one for each of the tracks. The man behind the visual art of this record is none-other than David Lynch, who also co-wrote and sang on two of the tracks.

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23. Jonas Hellborg, Shawn Lane & Jeff Sipe - Personae (2002)

Up next, you folks voted for the mighty trio of Jonas Hellborg, late guitar great Shawn Lane, and Jeff Sipe and the magic they brought with their 2002 collaboration "Personae." The effort sees the gang delving deep into the realm of jazz fusion, demonstrating nothing but sheer guitar prowess.

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22. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand (2007)

Described by you folks as "probably Plant's best work outside of Zeppelin," "Raising Sand" is up next at No. 22.

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21. St. Vincent & David Byrne - Love This Giant (2012)

Taking another strong genre switch, up next are St. Vincent and Talking Heads' David Byrne with their 2012 art pop collaboration "Love This Giant."

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20. Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim ‎- Getz/Gilberto (1964)

Going way back to 1964, it's the first jazz record ever to win the Album of the Year Grammy Award - the iconic collaboration effort between American saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist Joao Gilberto simply known as "Getz/Gilberto." It's the record that brought us "The Girl from Ipanema" and the album that fueled the bossa nova craze upon its release.

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19. Kaada/Patton ‎- "Romances" (2004)

If you ever feel like talking a walk on the wild side, check out any of Mike Patton's musical projects. For this week, you folks singled out the man's 2004 collaboration with Norwegian singer-songwriter Kaada called "Romances." It's an avant-garde effort heavily inspired by some of the all-time giants of classical music.

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18. Øystein Sevåg + Lakki Patey - Visual (1994)

Combining the power of Norwegian classical composer Øystein Sevåg and jazz-driven guitarist Lakki Patey, 1994's "Visual" is up next. In the words of our very own editor N-D, "it is a really underrated gem in music world. Guys, please, just listen to it - I wish more people knew about this album."

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17. Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd - Jazz Samba (1962)

You folks were apparently in some bossa nova mood this week! Marking the second appearance of Mr. Stan Getz, up next is the man's 1962 collaboration with Charlie Byrd called "Jazz Samba."

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16. Robert Rich & B. Lustmord - Stalker (1995)

When two of the biggest dark ambient artists join forces, you get one of the darkest albums of all time. Inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky's 1979 film "Stalker," 1995's "Stalker" by Robert Rich and B. Lustmord is up next.

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15. John Frusciante & Josh Klinghoffer - A Sphere in the Heart of Silence (2004)

As nicely described by Arfing Thumb, "That feels like the ex- and the now-girlfriend of a friend of me being very close friends now." It's the former and current RHCP guitarists, but way back in 2004 - John Frusciante, Josh Klinghoffer, electronic rock, "A Sphere in the Heart of Silence."

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14. Harold Budd & Brian Eno - Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror (1980)

At No. 14, one of the first ambient albums ever - avant-garde composer Harold Budd, the one and only Brian Eno and 1980's "Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror."

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13. Jimmy Page & Robert Plant ‎- No Quarter (1994)

This week's Lucky 13 goes to post-Zeppelin Page and Plant. The year was 1994, the album is "No Quarter."

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12. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators - Apocalyptic Love (2012)

Released in 2012, "Apocalyptic Love" marked Slash second solo effort. It's labeled as a collaboration effort, hence it's eligible for the rundown.

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11. Duke Ellington & John Coltrane - Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (1963)

Taking a sharp turn into the jazz realm, the might Duke Ellington and John Coltrane bring us a step closer to the Big 10 with their 1963 collaboration "Duke Ellington & John Coltrane." It's the album that features the best-known version of "In a Sentimental Mood."

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10. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong ‎- Ella and Louis (1956)

Still in the jazz realm, you folks gave plenty of love to the 1956 vocals-driven collaboration between Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong simply titled "Ella and Louis."

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9. Sunn O))) & Boris - Altar (2006)

After jazz comes pure doom - US drone masters Sunn O))), Japanese doom champs Boris, and 2006's "Altar." The album also features Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, Joe Preston (Earth, Thrones, Melvins, High on Fire), Phil Wandscher, and Jesse Sykes.

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8. Neurosis & Jarboe - Neurosis & Jarboe (2003)

Up next, the experimental sludge brought by the mixture of post-metal champs Neurosis and former Swans vocalist/keyboardist Jarboe. Eight tracks, about an hour of music, and highly versatile vocals ranging from whispers to full-on growls.

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7. David Coverdale & Jimmy Page - Coverdale/Page (1993)

In the early '90s, when grunge was in full swing, Jimmy Page and David Coverdale joined forces to deliver a heavy blues tour de force simply known as "Coverdale/Page." This is the album that features "Whisper a Prayer for the Dying," the tune that sounds surprisingly close to SOAD's 2001 classic "Aerials."

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6. The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico (1966)

A complete flop upon its release, "The Velvet Underground & Nico" grew into one of the most influential albums of all time. It's not for everyone, but the impact cannot be denied. In 1982, Brian Eno said that while the album only sold 30,000 copies, "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band."

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5. Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane - Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane (1961)

The jazz is strong on this list! At No. 5, it's the second appearance of John Coltrane and the debut of pianist extraordinaire Thelonious Monk - 1961's "Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane."

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4. The Dillinger Escape Plan with Mike Patton - Irony Is a Dead Scene (2002)

After original Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist Dimitri Minakakis left the band and before Greg Puciato joined the fold, the boys briefly collaborated with Mike Patton. The result - "Irony Is a Dead Scene."

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3. Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin & Paco De Lucia - Friday Night in San Francisco (1981)

Massively praised by the members of UG community, the highly influential 1981 acoustic collaboration of all-time guitar greats Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucia known as "Friday Night in San Francisco" fetches the bronze this week!

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2. Metallica with Michael Kamen conducting The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra - S&M (1999)

The silver medal goes to Metallica and their 1999 endeavor with Michael Kamen and The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra known as "S&M."

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1. B.B. King & Eric Clapton ‎- Riding With the King (2000)

At the throne of UG this week, it's Mr. BB and Mr. Slowhand delivering the magic. Give it up for the boys!

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0. Lou Reed & Metallica - Lulu (2011)

Technically, the gold went to this controversial little thing - Metallica, Lou Reed and "Lulu." We figured it's a prank vote, hence it's discarded. But give it a spin, maybe it's not as bad as the internet tells ya...

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73 comments sorted by best / new / date

    first time I've seen 0. ranking. Another reason why I love UG and its community, thank you guys for the laughs!
    Hello, guys - I'm sorry, I was on vacation - but now I'm back) So, traditionally, here's the rest of the list - a lot of great suggestions here! Jay-Z & Linkin Park - "Collision Course" (2004) Erik Truffaz & Murcof - "Mexico" (2008) Jello Biafra with the Melvins - "Never Breathe What You Can't See" (2004) netra feat. We'rewolves - "Dreading Consciousness" Buddy Guy & Junior Wells - "Play the Blues" (1972) Chet Atkins & Les Paul - "Chester & Lester" (1976) Death In June & Boyd Rice - "Alarm Agents" (2004) Charles Mingus & Eric Dolphy featuring Bud Powell - "Mingus at Antibes" (1976) Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest - "Sylva" (2015) Nadja & Black Boned Angel - "Nadja / Black Boned Angel" (2009) Brian Eno & David Byrne - "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" (1981) Erkan Oğur & Djivan Gasparyan - "Fuad" (2001) Richie Kotzen & Greg Howe - "Tilt" (1995) Fripp & Eno - "The Equatorial Stars" (2004) Full of Hell & Merzbow - "Full of Hell & Merzbow" (2014) Charlie Parker with Miles Davis - "Bird & Miles" (1975) Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan - "In Session" (1999) Jan Garbarek & The Hilliard Ensemble - "Officium" (1994) Tribes of Neurot & Walking Time Bombs - "Static Migration" (1998) Wavves & Cloud Nothings - "No Life for Me" (2015) The Body & Thou - "You, Whom I Have Always Hated" (2015) The Orb featuring David Gilmour - "Metallic Spheres" (2010) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - "The Social Network" OST (2010) Eraldo Bernocchi & Blackfilm - "Along the Corridors" (2010) Bob Dylan & The Band - "The Basement Tapes" (1975) Troum & raison d'être - "De Aeris In Sublunaria Influxu" (2015) A Place Of Owls & Blake Tanberk - "The Oceanic Tomes" (2012) Brett Garsed & T.J. Helmerich - "Quid Pro Quo" (1992) Bob Dylan & The Grateful Dead - "Dylan & The Dead" (1989) Sigur Rós & Steindór Andersen - "Rímur" (2001) Dhafer Youssef & Wolfgang Muthspiel - "Glow" (2007) Jay-Z & Kanye West - "Watch the Throne" (2011) Chet Atkins with Tommy Emmanuel - "The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World" (1997) Jonas Hellborg with Buckethead and Michael Shrieve - "Octave of the Holy Innocents" (1993) Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds - "Live at Luther College" (1999) Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton - "Once Upon a Christmas" OST (1984) Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe - "Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe" (1989) Jon Anderson & Roine Stolt - "Invention of Knowledge" (2016) David Sylvian & Robert Fripp - "The First Day" (1993) Romane & Stochelo Rosenberg ‎- "Double Jeu" (2004) Tommy Shaw & Jack Blades ‎- "Halucination" (1995) Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson - "Highwayman" (1985) Jon Anderson & Vangelis - "The Friends of Mr. Cairo" (1981) Chet Atkins & Mark Knopfler - "Neck and Neck" (1990) George Benson & Earl Klugh – "Collaboration" (1987) Melvins + Lustmord - "Pigs of the Roman Empire" (2004) Richard Galliano & Sylvain Luc - "La Vie en Rose" (2015) ISIS + Aereogramme - "In the Fishtank 14" (2006) Lou Reed & John Cale - "Songs for Drella" (1990) Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson - "Waylon & Willie" (1978) Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite - "Get Up!" (2013) Lil Wyte & Jelly Roll - "No Filter" (2013) Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes - "Live at the Greek" (2000)
    Unless I'm mistaken "Brett Garsed & T.J. Helmerich - "Quid Pro Quo" (1992)" shouldn't be on that list, as it is not a collaboration : it was their band. It's not like they had their own career and made an album together for the sake of it. THAT was their career, that's how they started getting a discography.
    I think of Brett Garsed mostly as being John Farnham's guitarist on Farnham's first three albums. He was pretty well established in Australia before he moved to the US and made Quid Pro Quo. A quick look at Wikipedia suggests Helmerich was an established producer / engineer before QPQ was formed. It might be their 'flagship' project in that it's the only one prominently featuring their names, but with Garsed's connection to Farnham and Helmerich's connection to Planet X and Dweezil Zappa, it's neither guitarist's most famous contribution to the music industry.
    All about Irony Is A Dead Scene. Still the Dillinger Escape Plan album I listen to most.
    Patton's vocal on "When Good Dogs Do Bad Things" might be my favorite of his career. The man is almost inhuman
    Very interesting list, and if the rest of this list is as good as the first ten minutes of Omar and Frusciante this is going to be a good weekend.
    You can't believe everything on the internet, but you can believe Lulu sucks
    That's... a pretty damn fine list. Usually there's a lot of shit lists here, but I have no problem at all with this one. Also, props to the community for the inclusion of a lot of jazz and bossa nova here. Refreshing to see something outside the rock realm.
    Thought i'd just make a joke. Never thought i'd be a gold medal. UG i love you guys. You really get me
    Haven't heard quite a few of these, definitely have some listening to do! Thanks UG for the suggestions! Also, Clapton and King at #1?? One of my favorite albums. Glad to see it get so much love.
    Have not heard about most of these, I guess I can say thats a good thing, I'll have plenty to discover then!
    Gray Lensman
    HOLY CRAP!!! It looks like a bunch of us old guys got involved for a change. In both the nominations and the voting. Now, all of you young guys... listen to some of those performances from prior to say 2000. I'm not saying you've gotta love this stuff. But listen to it. Hear the music. Hear what those who came before created, without all the technology we have today. And you just might hear a few things which you can use to take your own music to higher and better places. Or just maybe, you'll find a whole new world of music to love and learn from. No, I'm not bashing on any of you. I'm just hoping that you can find a world that's much broader than your own preferred genre. I'm hoping that you can grow into great musicians, by expanding your exposure to other great things and applying it to your own music. And maybe, you can use these broadened horizons, to create music which can live on through future generations. Apologies for getting long winded and maybe sounding a bit pompous.
    pompous as fuck. Dude, just because I'm not 89 doesn't mean I don't listen to music from before 2000s.
    Gray Lensman
    It's not about the age of the music. It's not about the genre of music. It's about the quality of the artistry in the creation of music. And artist will have a very broad palette to create with. In any creative media, you broaden your palette by exposing yourself to the best of many genre's. If your palette has only black and white, your work will never be anything broader than monochrome. It may sometimes be amazingly beautiful. But it will always be limited to monochrome.
    Gray Lensman
    1) If your taste in music is broad, then this doesn't apply to you. So, why so defensive? 2) If someone offers you a general map to a place you want to go to and you just piss on them, you're doomed to failure. 3) If you're just a pathetic little web troll, insulting strangers online just to get any kind of attention... well, you're pathetic and already fucked. So, why would I bother to insult you. And, a little background on the person you chose to insult anonymously. I'm about to turn 58, not 89. I finally started to learn guitar a couple of years ago. Not because I have the "Rock Star" dream, but because I love the music and have always wanted to make music myself. Now I have the time to learn, so I am. I've been to hundreds of live events in my life, from stadium shows such as Zeppelin, Floyd and The Who, to club shows by B.B. King , John Lee Hooker, etc. I love music and want to experience all that I can. And I like to encourage others who feel the same way, to grow into the best they can be.
    Velcro Man
    young kids with a shallow taste in music listen to rap; older people with a shallow taste in music listen to pop country, disco, radio rock and so on. People of all ages have always listened to jazz, but most people of all ages have put it down.
    Because no one with a refined taste in music would ever listen to rap, smh...
    Velcro Man
    i guess you think country, disco and such are unrefined?
    Not really, I just picked one. Country, while I despise the attitude (that whole patriotic bullshit) that often comes with it, is beauty through simplicity, much like folk. Can't say anything about disco, it's just too far from my personal taste. However, I find it hard to call someone's taste in music unrefined for listening to, say, Hank Williams Sr. His songs and singing are as brilliant, as they are simple. A refined taste in music is necessarily a broad one, as well.
    Velcro Man
    I'm generalizing. Far more often than not genres such as rap, pop country and radio rock are very generic, quick grabs for cash. Overused chord progressions with cheesy, easy melodies. The vast majority of rap is just crap, more so than other genres because it's so popular. So when you generalize a lot of people see rap as a bad choice of music for musicians to follow because there's not much content for them to utilize.
    I just don't think that generalizing is ever a good strategy, especially not in music. It's not even the "vast majority" because said majority is indie music. I could name at least 20 german-only rappers that have intelligent, anarchist and left-wing radical lyrics, use absolutely unique samples like pitched Roma folk songs etc pp. Ofc there's more crap in a popular music genre (except for country, which somehow managed to become continuously worse since its heydays)but it's really all about looking in the right places. And when you think of it, it's been the same since always. Just think of all the crappy Rock n Roll no one remembers. Even Elvis Presley wasn't much more than an untalented cash cow that just so happened to have good ghost writers
    This is the issue. Young people do listen to old music, sometimes to the point of absolute worship. "New music isn't good because it doesn't sound like old music and new ("new" - rap or electronic music which get most of the hate aren't exactly new) music is shit" If you want to hear a billionth copy of *insert a classic rock band name* then start such band. Music is moving forward and just because it doesn't sound like the old stuff doesn't mean it's not good. So yeah, many young folks definitely need to broaden their horizons, but not listening to old music isn't the issue here.
    Disappointed not to see Dave Gilmour and The Orb up there.It truly is criminally underrated. Still, solid list!
    Not a single Fripp collaboration? Fucking bogus list. (in all seriousness though, there's some good shit on this list)
    Been plugging Jason Lytle/Grandaddy for a lot of these lists and he finally got somewhat of an indirect mention on the Sparklehorse collab, pretty awesome!
    Fun fact: The most common print of Irony is a Dead Scene says 'The Dillinger Escaple Plan'.
    Glad my Omar/John nomination made the cut, even if just barely. Always been a huge fan of Omar. Side note: the album is only 29 minutes long, the YouTube version above plays most of the album twice.
    I've probably only listened to a handful of these before. Might as well give a few of em a listen when I have time.
    Pleasantly surprised to see Sparklehorse on this list. My absolute favorite band, as if my profile pic didn't give it away.
    Pretty cool list. MF Doom and Madlibs album Madvilliany should have gotten a spot but I can't expect for UG users to vote for a hip hop album.
    For some reason I'd never heard that Coverdale/Page album much. It's killer, have a Spotify of it!
    Metallica´s S&M ??!! Jesus H. Christ, are you really that deaf, folks?? That album sucks dynosaur sized balls, it´s absolutely tragically overdone and over-arranged, the orchestral parts and the band parts are colliding and struggling to be heard, yet none of them wins. The original metal songs are so full in terms of arrangement, that only a very slightly added orchestra could do the trick. Adding more strong melodies and rhythms on top of the original strong melodies and rhytmhs just created an uncontrolled quantity, there´s simply too much of everything. Don´t get me wrong, I really respect Metallica for what they have done before Lars went bald, and I also respect Mr. Kamen, but this album is the best example of receiving a bad result because of ignoring the "less is more" golden rule. Amen.
    Idk what album you listened to, man. Metallica's S&M is my favorite live album of all time. Changed my life.
    "[...] I really respect Metallica for what they have done before Lars went bald" This is gold, thank you.
    Where's my suggestion of the Muddy Waters/Johnny Winter album? It got more votes than 60% of these 25 and it's far superior than that awful King/Clapton one.
    Hi SWIFTERS! Yes, "Hard Again" is a REALLY great album, absolutely agree - but technically it was released as an album by only Muddy Waters on the cover, while the rules were: "The albums should be released under the name of "Artist 1 &/with Artist 2" on the cover - so two or more separate artists."
    Loving all the Jazz featured on this week's list. And the love for Getz and 'Trane
    Isn't every album a collaboration, unless you play every instrument and record and mix/master it on your own?
    I was reminded by this when it was already too late, but in my opinion it should've been in the top 3 at least. Fellas, we forgot about Simon and Garfunkel. Technically any of their albums would count as a collaboration album.
    Smokey McPot
    what? no love for One Day as a Lion?
    One Day As A Lion are great, but the rules were: "- The albums should be released under the name of "Artist 1 &/with Artist 2" on the cover - so two or more separate artists; - The albums should NOT be a collaborative project with the new unique name, such as a new supergroup." By the way, One day As A Lion were included into the UG "Top 29 Greatest Bands Who Only Released One Album" (#17): Also, honorable mention in the "Top 25 Greatest EPs of All Time":
    Smokey McPot
    oh, oh, no problem didn't bother me, just wanted to make a shout out still, cool list.
    Not a problem, mate Also it's great that you have great taste in music!
    Glad to see Lulu here, even as a little joke, I loved the album, start to finish it is a fantastic record.
    Was hoping Riding With The King would be on the list, was surprised to see it #1 what with most of this site into the heavier styles of music...
    I thought that Storm Corrosion was getting a good amount of votes to begin with. Was it discarded as being onsidered a supergroup?
    Yes, it would have had to be branded as Wilson and Åkerfeldt instead to have counted.