Written by Josie Bisto
While normally one would word a “Top 10” list as such, music is such a subjective art form that to even try to create such a list can be a daunting task… Furthermore, choosing which song is most deserving when multiple choices by a duo are available can be equally as challenging. Do I choose my favorite? The one with the most plays? The one with the most awards?
I have attempted to present a variety of deserving artists but in following the “10” idea, others who are equally deserving are bound to be left out. In reversing the order of the words “Top 10” to “10 Top” my intention is to recognize 10 phenomenal husband & wife pairings with no desire to rank them as one better than the other but instead pay tribute to all of the following insanely talented duos.
The following list is in no particular order:
Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood
Grand Ole Opry members Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood met in 1987. They were friends and tour mates long before they married in 2005. Brooks co-wrote “In Another’s Eyes,” a duet released before the couple began dating. It reached #2 on Billboard’s US Hot Country Songs chart. This ballad filled with anguish and desire features incredible harmonies. It isn’t the only duet the power couple has released; although it didn’t chart as high, “Where Your Road Leads” also was a big hit coming in at #18. Recently the power couple announced the release of a new duet titled “Whiskey and Wine” although a release date has not yet been set. Currently you can find the pair selling out multiple days in a row at arenas across the world in the “Garth Brooks World Tour”.
George Jones & Tammy Wynette
George Jones and Tammy Wynette were married in 1969. Although the marriage ended in 1975 the couple released numerous albums while together, charting 14 times on Billboard’s US Country Singles Chart, hitting #1 three times. They are most notably remembered for their hit “Golden Ring”. Both George and Tammy remarried after their split. She died in 1998, he died in 2013.
Faith Hill & Tim McGraw
1996 was a big year for country superstars Faith Hill & Tim McGraw; not only did they get married, they began touring together and Faith became pregnant with their first of 3 daughters. The couple states one of the key components to the success of their marriage is not to be apart from each other for more than 3 days at a time. They frequently tour with each other and have even led their own headlining tour “Soul to Soul,” twice; following up with “Soul to Soul II” and also had a Vegas feature with the same title. They’ve released several passionate duets including “Let’s Make Love,” “Like We Never Loved At All,” “I Need You,” “Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me” and “It’s Your Love” which sat at #1 on Billboard’s US Hot Country Chart for 6 weeks. These songs have won the couple numerous awards including CMA, ACM, Billboard and Grammy.
Johnny Cash & June Carter
Johnny & June are considered to be one of country’s greatest love stories. They met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and married in 1968. The pair released an entire album of duets simply titled “June Carter and Johnny Cash: Duets” in 2006 compiled of duets Cash had released on previous albums. Their most popular title “Jackson,” released in 1967 charted #2 on Billboard’s US Country Singles Chart. June died in May 2003, Johnny would follow only 4 months later.
Joey & Rory Feek
Joey Martin first learned of Rory Feek when she saw him perform in a songwriter round at the famous Bluebird Cafe, however they didn’t officially meet until 2 years later. They only dated for 2 months before he proposed and 2 months later they were married in June of 2002. The country/bluegrass duo released a total of 7 albums before Joey succumbed to cancer in March of 2016. Their single “When I’m Gone” which eerily foretold their own story, charted #21 on Billboard’s US Country Singles Chart, while the album it was featured on, “Hymns That Are Important to US” hit #1.
Waylon Jennings & Jessi Colter
Country Music Hall of Fame member Waylon Jennings met and married singer Jessi Colter in 1969. The couple was known for their outlaw style of country music, a movement of which they are noted as being key contributors to. They recorded several duets including their 1981 single “Storms Never Last” which was written by Colter and peaked at #17 on Billboard’s US Country Singles chart. Waylon died in 2002.
Lisa & Clint Black
Opry member Clint Black married actress and singer Lisa Hartman in 1991. The couple released 3 duets over the years on Black’s albums, most notably their 1999 hit “When I Said I Do”. The song written by Black about a couples vows to remain faithful to each other for a lifetime, was released on his self-produced album “D’lectrified”. The track reached #1 on Billboard’s US Country Singles and also became a crossover hit hitting #31 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert
Blake and Miranda first met when they performed a duet together at the CMT 100 Greatest Duets Concert in 2005. Both admit they felt instant chemistry while performing “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma” onstage and married in 2011. Though they never truly released a duet together, they were oftentimes the inspiration for the other’s song choice and regularly joined one another on stage. Miranda sang the background vocals for Blake’s version of Michael Buble’s hit “Home”. The couple also co-wrote the track “Over You” off Miranda’s 2011 album “Four the Record” a personal story about the tragic death of Blake’s brother while he was a teenager. The couple recently shocked fans announcing their divorce which was finalized in 2015.
Connie Smith & Marty Stuart
Marty Stuart first met Connie Smith at one of her concerts in Mississippi when he was just 12 years old. After the concert Stuart recalls he told his mom “I was going to marry her”. Nearly 3 decades later, in 1997 his wish came true and he married Smith who is 17 years older than him. The couple are both Grand Ole Opry members and have written over 40 songs together but rarely perform duets together. “I Run to You” is one of these rare performances.
Keith Whitley & Lorrie Morgan
Keith Whitley met Lorrie Morgan during a tour promoting his album “L.A to Miami”. The couple married in 1986. After Keith’s unexpected death in 1989 at the young age of 34, Lorrie added her voice to a demo Keith has previously recorded and released it as a duet. The single “Til A Tear Becomes A Rose” reached #13 on Billboard’s US Country Singles chart, won the 1990s CMA Award for Best Vocal Collaboration and was nominated for a Grammy Award.