Top 10 Best Rock Collaborations of All Time

From QOSTA and Dave Grohl to Anthrax and Public Enemy, we've got an incredible playlist for you to enjoy this weekend.

Ultimate Guitar

What are the best rock collaborations of all time?

That's what we asked UG readers to vote on for this week's poll. We asked you to search far and wide for the most impressive guitar collaborations, and as usual, you didn't disappoint.

Let us know what you think of the final results in the comments below, and if you think a top collaboration from the rock world has been missed, share a link in the comments.

10. BB King feat Eric Clapton "Riding with the King"

Two guitar legends who first performed together in 1967 at Cafe Au Go Go in New York when Clapton was still in Cream aged just 22. They often discussed recording together, but it took three decades to finally hit the study together to make this blues rock masterpiece.

9. Ronnie James Dio feat. Yngwie Malmsteen "Dream On" [Aerosmith Cover]

Metal's greatest voice teams up with heroic shredder Yngwie Malmsteen for an Aerosmith cover with puts the original version to shame.

8. Queens of the Stone Age feat. Dave Grohl

Queens of the Stone Age smashed into the mainstream rock consciousness with their stunning album "Rated R," and it could have been a hard one to top. That's when they drafted in Dave Grohl to play drums on its successor "Songs for the Deaf," which was packed with so many driving riffs upon Grohl's hard rock drumming style that "Rated R" looked positively tame in comparison. Here they are rocking Glastonbury Festival.

7. Roger Waters feat. Eddie Vedder "Comfortably Numb"

Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast of America. To raise funds for the recovery, some of the worlds greatest stars collaborated for a night of unforgettable music, which even brought the surviving Nirvana line-up together with Paul McCartney. Here's Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder performing a Pink Floyd classic with Roger Waters himself.

6. Deftones feat. Maynard James Keenan "Passenger"

"White Pony" remains the centrepiece of Deftones' album discography, and while it's packed to the brim with perfect progressive metal, "Passenger" stands out for having two of the most electric vocal performances of its era in just one song. Listen out for late bassist Chi Cheng towards the end of the song - his sweeping slow bass will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.

5. Run DMC feat. Aerosmith "Walk This Way"

This was the moment when rock and rap collided for the first time. It might have sparked off an awful era of tacky nu metal, but it was a revolution when it launched in the 80s as a Run DMC cover of the song that broke Aerosmith into the mainstream in the 1970s.

4. The Big Four "Am I Evil"

The Big Four is a tour of the four greatest thrash metal acts of all time - Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. This was the moment when members of all the bands stepped on stage together to cover the Diamond Head song "Am I Evil?" Watch history being made.

3. Michael Jackson feat. Eddie Van Halen "Beat It"

Even the most hardened metal fans who hate pop will bop their head to the best Michael Jackson tracks. Eddie Van Halen was asked to play the guitar solo for this song by producer Quincey Jones, and didn't expect Jackson to go on to be such a huge star in his own right. Maybe he regrets offering to play the part for free.

2. Anthrax feat. Public Enemy "Bring The Noise"

Public Enemy are the most punk rap act in history. Their early work sparked off protests and wide cultural discussions, which are still debated in universities decades later. This track argues that rap should be considered a proper genre, just like rock. Chuck D apparently set up the collaboration because he was impressed by Anthrax's Scott Ian wearing Public Enemy t-shirts at gigs.

1. David Bowie feat. Queen "Under Pressure"

Two of Britain's greatest pop exports of all time met in Switzerland for a jam session - and it's a good thing they did. They battled past their egos to produce one of the most greatest songs in Queen's catalogue, and some might argue it's one of Bowie's best too. If one thing is for sure, it's the best rock collaboration of all time. Enjoy!

What do you think of the results today? Share your opinion and links to your personal favorite collaborations in the comments.

128 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Not too shabby, in my anonymous opinion. Surprised the joke votes didn't get their own spots at the bottom though.
    yeah, I was thinking limp bizkit was going to end up at 10 by accident... can't fool em all.
    I sooooo thought MEtallica and Swiss Beats were going to make the list...
    They missed "We stars" song where almost all metal stars were collab by DIO.
    Yeah, 'We are Stars' was a really cool collaboration by all those guys.. I don't think even the top artists today would even do something like that..
    I was waiting to see Metallica & Lou Reed at number 1! Turned out a pretty decent list!
    I LOVE QOTSA but they should not be on this list with Grohl. Dave Grohl was considered a member of the band at the time (albeit a short time), and not a collaborator.
    Liquid Snake
    Exactly. QOTSA w/ Grohl is like considering APC w/ Twiggy and James Iha a 'collaboration'. They're group members.
    Actually, my understanding was that although he contributed drums to that record, it was meant to be a one-off all along. He didn't even play many shows with them. Just like with Like Clockwork; he's the primary drummer, but he's not a "member".
    But he's listed as an official member of QOTSA on "..Deaf". Yes, he didn't play many shows on the Deaf tour, but that was to be the case all along. He's still an official member and listed so in the liner notes. On "...Like Clockwork" he's simply a contributor and only plays on half of the tracks.
    You may be right. Anyway, if they're not here with Grohl, they should be here with Elton John for Fairweather Friends.
    Its very debatable im not 100% sure but wasnt there talk about him coming back when they were recording lullabies to paralyze but he was too busy with the foos.
    Yeah my thoughts also.I love queens and gorhl but like you said he was actually a member and shouldnt have been on this list.I would have liked to have seen Mad Season make it on here.
    It's probably pretty pointless to mention this but: "They battled past their egos to produce one of the MOST GREATEST songs in Queen's catalogue..." Seriously UG, just try when writing these articles. Even just a little. Please
    great list I thought Foo Fighters and Bob Mould were great with Dear Rosemary on Wasting Light, but still every combination on this list is good.
    I'm surprised nothing from a G3 concert made it, Satriani, Petrucci and Vai do an awesome cover of "La Grange".
    "for an Aerosmith cover with puts the original version to shame." Nevermind the expected grammar errors, this statement is pure blasphemy. The original "Dream On" is nothing short of legendary. Even if you prefer Dio and Yngwie's cover, saying it "puts the original version to shame" is a gross overstatement. The Dio cover is awesome, but come on. He doesn't even scream at the end.
    I've never heard that cover before and to be honest I kinda hope I never hear it again... Dio does an admirable job, but one again I think Yngwie overdoes it. He, in my opinion, is one of the most unemotional guitarist I've ever heard. He rarely plays anything slower than a sextuplet and rarely fits the song. Case in point on this cover. Once again, in my opinion, he completely overplays it. I understand I'll probably get some hate for that, but that's just how I feel. He's an amazing technical guitarist, but I don't listen to him much because he doesn't make me "feel" anything. To me this is a pointless attempt at a cover song, and Aerosmith's puts this one to shame. Hell I like Eminem's version better than this shit...
    You took the words right out of my mouth. I also have a problem with the "Puts the original to shame" statement, a BIG problem with it. Dream On is Aerosmith at their best. Dio does a GREAT job. In fact I think he is the only person to have ever lived who has any business covering that song. But, the guitar is overplayed big time. I agree with Cultofsg and sklaiss24. The entire feeling of the guitar is wasted by Malmsteen, and though DIO is a better vocalist, this is Tyler's masterpiece IMHO
    Yepp. I have no problem with Dio at all or the rest of the band. To me it just sounds like Malmsteen is mindlessly shredding all over the place and in the worst spots and singlehandedly ruins one of the best classic rock songs ever. If he'd have actually listened to the words in Dream On and know what it's about, he'd realize that shredding like that is the worst possible thing he could do on top of it. After awhile all of his licks sound exactly the same and do absolutely nothing to help the song. I get it, you can play fast!! Now do something musically worthwhile. Sorry for the rant, but I hate guitarist that ruin songs by basically jacking off all over the place...
    interestingly enough, if you play Malmsteen's version, and Michael Angelo Batio's version (you need to pitch shift his down one semitone) at the same time, the two ridiculous overplaying idiots solo at the exact opposite times, making a stupid and emotionless guitar battle. Don't ask why I tried it
    Not bad. #1 is spot on. Happy to see QOTSA and Deftones there. Only other one I would add would be Primus/Tom Waits - Tommy the Cat.
    Or 'Coattails of a deadman' with Primus and Tom Waits.
    Nice list. Didn't see all the votes, but this is one of my favorites :
    "Know your Enemy" with RATM + Maynard deserved a place here. I actually thought the list was for collaborations on Original songs, not covers...
    Very happy to see Deftones' "Passenger" on here. Some of the best voices in today's rock scene on one track.
    Why does everyone think so highly of EVH's solo on Beat it? I never really thought it fit the song. It's just a combo of Michael Jackson and EVH so everyone thinks it's amazing. I think Steve Lukather does a great job in the rest of the song, and he never gets any credit for playing on it! They even forget about him on this site!!
    I am not trolling and I actually agree with you, but I will mention one big factor. This song was written at a time when MTV was just starting out. MTV--if you can believe it--didn't want to play Michael Jackson's thriller album at first. They thought the album Thriller (one of the all time best sellers) was too black! Michael Jackson was cutting edge because he had EVH on his "Black" album. It might not be the solo, maybe just what it did on a social/political scale. Just guessing. I am right about the too black thing though. I remember the controversy.
    Thanks for the benevolent answer. It's nice when people answer stuff on here without being an a-hole to each other and actually give a thoughtful opinion on something for a change.
    maybe not the best here but still have some magic
    This song is so simple... I love everything about Frusciante. He can blow your head off or play a solo like this. He serves the music, and plays from his heart. He is one of the truest musicians out there.
    Eddie Vedder is a downgrade over David Gilmour's vocals to be honest. better would be included him doing hunger strike with Chris Cornell in Temple of the Dog.
    one of my all time favourites is the Gary Moore - BB King collaboration for "Since I Met You Baby", one of my favourite blues rock songs ever
    Can't complain with this list. Passenger is on here and that's all I needed to see. I did, however, think of one tonight at work:
    Holy shit! Completely forgot about David Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans" with Trent Reznor... Shoulda been on this list.
    Ever seen the David Bowie/NiN show of the .Outside tour? It's even better than I'm Afraid Of Americans and surely a whole lot better than that boring song that's on top of this list
    Really sad Monsters And Robots didn't make it on the list, we need more Buckethead!
    Listening to The Big Four together like that really makes me appreciate how well James Hetfield's voice has stood the test of time. 30 years later and he still sounds great.
    Way Cool JR.
    Kick out either the QOTSA or the Deftones for the Ozzy & Lita Ford "Close My Eyes Forever" collab and this would be a fairly decent list.
    IMO Roger Waters is a legend, I can only listen to Pink Floyd full albums at a time because it's not fair but.. His performance on that track was weak, even if Eddie nailed it. So maybe that one but NEVER threaten the deftones.
    After I saw it getting votes and then saw it placed on the list I thought maybe it was just me. But I remember watching it on YouTube as it was happening and being excited and then being drastically letdown by Waters performance. Vedder did a great job but then again he's half Roger's age.
    Way Cool JR.
    Neither of the 2 collabs I mentioned have Roger Waters in them. LOL. I love Roger Waters. I can't help it I don't like the Deftones or QOTSA, not even the collabs they did.
    For real?
    Way Cool JR.
    Yes For real. The Ozzy & Lita collab is far,far better IMO.
    no. IMO, your opinion is lacking in general intelligence and creativity recognition. Ozzy is perhaps (and here comes my unpopular opinion) one of the most ridiculous singers ever. His lyrics are awful, when he can remember them, his tone is garbage, and he's just a general vegetable, as well as the worst member in Sabbath history, including Tony Martin. Lite Ford really only got famous because she was a woman willing to degrade herself instead of becoming famous for her music. I love the music of both, but compared to Maynard James Keenan, or Josh Homme, I'd literally shit on Ozzy Osbourne.
    Way Cool JR.'re certainly not the brightest crayon in the box. lol
    Which post sounds more intelligent? His well-stated/reasoned argument, or your insult?
    Way Cool JR.
    What the hell are you talking about dude!? His whole post is an insult to more than one person including myself and is definitely not intelligent in any way period. Anyways I never insulted anyone till he insulted me personally. And I certainly never insulted QOTSA or the Deftones, all I said is I didn't like them. I honestly don't know what the hell is wrong with some of you people around here on this forum but it's very juvenile and sickening.
    That song is terrible, and certainly can't even TOUCH Songs for the Deaf OR Passenger.
    Except the QOTSA and Deftones entrys were good and the Ozzy and Lita Ford collab was awful...
    I liked The john mayer gig where he jammed with keith urban. I know, not very rock but it was still pretty badass.
    +infinity for "Passenger" -1/2 Infinity for no Avantasia, "Inside", Alice in Chains "Brother", or Temple of tbe Dog "Hunger Strike"
    The daming well - Awakening Wes Borland, Richard Patrick,Danny Lohner, and Josh Freese. boom
    Queens of the Stone Age and Dave Grohl should have been #1. But being a QOTSA fan for eleven years I'm used to them being looked over.