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As Diana Ross makes music with Tame Impala, here are six other unexpected pop collaborations

Diana Ross is releasing her first album in 15 years and it features psychedelic rock group Tame Impala
Diana Ross is releasing her first album in 15 years and it features psychedelic rock group Tame Impala   -   Copyright  Reuters
By Shannon McDonagh
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Diana Ross is collaborating with Tame Impala on a track for her 25th album, Thank You.

The 77-year-old singer is reportedly working on a new song with the group as she loves "reinvention" and being able to "melt" musical genres together.

Her first album in 15 years is expected to be her biggest ever boundary pusher, with a total reinvention encouraged by work with Impala's Kevin Parker, pop maestro Jack Antonoff, and Grammy-nominated songwriter for Ariana Grande, Tayla Parx.

Ross is set to release her first album of original music in over two decades, later this year.

"This collection of songs is my gift to you with appreciation and love. I am eternally grateful that I had the opportunity to record this glorious music at this time," says Ross.

In 2019, Ross teased that her next album will be upbeat because she doesn't want to "sing the blues".

Over time, we've been blessed - and cursed - with some beautiful and bizarre match-ups in the music world.

Here are some of our the quirkiest collaborations to make the charts:

Beyoncé and Dixie Chicks - Daddy Issues (2016)

The uproar when Beyoncé appeared at the 2016 Country Music Awards was quite a sight to behold. Factions of America were perplexed by her appearance at their awards ceremony - on its 50th birthday, no less.

For those not blinded by genre, this is one of Bey's most joyous live performances to date. Not only did it symbolise her most creative era to date, but it thrust the Dixie Chicks (now known as The Chicks) back into the public eye after an almighty career halt 13 years prior, when they criticised the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Some collaborations work well because they burst open the doors of a song's original idea. Those harmonies? That banjo? The horns? An unexpected, bombastic blend of talents that simply wouldn't have happened without some boundary-pushing.

Did it work? Absolutely.

Aerosmith and Run DMC - Walk This Way (1986)

The mid-eighties had been a rough time for glam rock's finest. Synthpop and New Wave had a firm grip on the eyes and ears of young music fans, and Aerosmith had failed to capture the attention of their old audience.

Until this stick of dynamite. Run DMC's entered 1986 with gold and platinum albums under their belt. delightful rework of Walk This Way arguably put the band back on the map, giving them their first Billboard charting hit of the 80s after a seven-year drought.

Even better, the accompanying music video is self aware about just how absurd it is for the two groups to be working together.

The idea put Rick Rubin, hailed now as one of the best music producers in the world, at a level of undeniable respect as he went on to produce some of the most vital albums of modern music.

Adele's 21, Jay-Z's 99 Problems, and Linkin' Park's Minutes to Midnight potentially wouldn't have carried the same spark without this.

Did it work? Decades of karaoke history say yes.

Will.i.am, Jennifer Lopez, and Mick Jagger - T.H.E. (2011)

There's not a lot that can be said about the Black Eyed Peas frontman's output post-2009.

Love it or despise it, his and Fergie's musical chemistry was responsible for the an gigantic amount of chart-toppers that brought something a little bit different to the table every time. Pump It sampling Pulp Fiction's famous slide guitar is an excellent feat of creativity, and The E.N.D was nominated for six Grammy's with good reason.

Will.i.am soon became the world's certified collaboration king off the back of this innovative production style. T.H.E (short for The Hardest Ever) on the other hand, is a pastiche of every musical trend of the early 2010s, with a Rolling Stone thrown in for good measure. Jennifer Lopez is given very little to do given her inherent pop coolness.

It's remarkably difficult to get over Mick Jagger announcing that this beat is "hard like geometry, or trigonometry" as he floats throughout Will's technicolour space universe.

What was the reason, exactly? We'll never know.

Did it work? Not quite.

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett - Cheek To Cheek (2014)

Show tune titan Tony Bennett and avant-pop dab hand Lady Gaga's friendship has taken heart-warming, often upsetting turn in recent years as a result of his devastating Alzheimer's diagnosis.

But how it began is forever enshrined in music history as a beautiful merging of two completely different, equally special, artists that are dedicated to their craft.

The pair first came together in 2014 to record a jazz record that seemed completely out of the blue. Fans of Gaga saw it as a total U-turn from the electrifying hit-and-miss material that came from ARTPOP just a year prior, but the singer was able to reap the rewards.

Without shining the spotlight on her soulfulness, her award-winning performance in the fourth incarnation of A Star Is Born might have been a little harder to come by.

Besides that, the two of them look like they're having a lot of fun. Four years later another joint album followed, and Gaga will go down in history as one of the last ever artists to perform with Tony on stage as he celebrated his 95th birthday this summer.

Did it work? Completely.

The Weeknd and Daft Punk - Starboy and I Feel It Coming (2016)

On the evening of September 22nd 2016, fans of Abel Tesfaye's brand of moody, seductive RnB were propelled into a state of shock. Their once faceless idol unveiled his latest era to the soundtrack of bouncy, industrial beats.

Tesfaye's keen eye for unique production embellishments has been a mainstay of his career. This time, he had the help of two equally elusive Frenchmen - Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, otherwise known as Daft Punk.

“Working with Daft Punk was like, ‘Whatever you guys want!,’” the Weeknd recalled earlier this year.

“I just wanted to get into the studio with them — I didn’t even care if we made music, I just wanted to be friends. I met Guy-Man first, out partying in L.A., and I actually partied with him more than I worked with him. He’d would tell me, with loud music playing over drinks, how much he liked my work.”

The things they made together have evidently informed much of Tesfaye's future output. It was the first sign of something bigger from the artist critics had started accusing of being one-note, miserable. Tell that to last year's Superbowl headliner.

Did it work? A total reinvention. Yes.

Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey - Don't Call Me Angel (2019)

What in theory should have been an absolute stonker of a 21st-century pop collaboration ended in misery when this trio featured on the soundtrack to Elizabeth Banks' Charlie's Angels reboot.

Miley, Lana, and Ariana have all sat at the throne of America pop music in swift rotation. In theory, their combined fanbases could have made it a smash.

But their mismatched, overly complicated attempt at a girl-power banger was no Destiny's Child. Budget was prioritised well over the oomph expected from such a union, and the result ultimately fell flat.

Did it work? We wish.