Cool or creepy? 10 duets with dead people

Barry Manilow, pictured in March 2014. Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

TORONTO — On his forthcoming album My Dream Duets, Barry Manilow collaborates with singers who have at least one thing in common: they’re dead.

The 71-year-old star announced this week his Oct. 27 release pairs him with artists like Whitney Houston, Judy Garland, John Denver, Mama Cass, Andy Williams and Dusty Springfield.

“Having the opportunity to record these legendary standards with artists whom I admire so much was really a dream come true,” Manilow said of the album.

Canadian producer David Foster gets much of the credit (or blame) for getting dead people to sing with live ones. Foster, whose record label is behind Manilow’s My Dream Duets, produced singles pairing Celine Dion with Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley; Natalie Cole with Nat King Cole; and Rod Stewart with Ella Fitzgerald.

Posthumous performances with living artists are nothing new, of course. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s just plain creepy. Check out these 10 duets with the dearly departed and decide for yourself.

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Barbra Streisand & Elvis Presley – “Love Me Tender”

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, who died in 1977, sings with the queen of schmaltz on Streisand’s new album Partners.

Justin Timberlake & Michael Jackson – “Love Never Felt So Good”

Jackson died in 2009 but managed to release a duet with Justin Timberlake in early 2014. The song, written by Jackson and Canada’s Paul Anka, was originally recorded in 1983 — when Timberlake was only two.

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Tony Bennett & Billie Holiday – “God Bless the Child”

Holiday recorded this song in 1941 but her vocals were used on Bennett’s 1997 version for the album Tony Bennett on Holiday.

Celine Dion & Elvis Presley – “If I Can Dream”

The Canadian chanteuse sang “If I Can Dream” with a holographic Presley on a special episode of American Idol in 2007. Presley first performed the song on TV in 1968 — the year Dion was born.

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Snoop Dogg & Tupac Shakur – “Hail Mary”

At the 2012 Coachella music festival, Shakur made a ghostly appearance on stage to rap with Snoop Dogg. The artist, who was killed in 1996, showed up as a mind-blowing hologram. Warning: Video contains language that some may find offensive.

Natalie Cole & Nat King Cole – “Unforgettable”

Natalie Cole was a teen when her father, crooner Nat King Cole, died in 1965. To honour him, Natalie recorded a duet version of his classic “Unforgettable” in 1992 that was a big hit.

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Rod Stewart & Ella Fitzgerald – “Merry Christmas, Baby”

For his 2012 holiday album, Stewart sang with Ella Fitzgerald on the title track. Fitzgerald died in 1996.

Robbie Williams & Frank Sinatra – “It Was a Very Good Year”

The British singer’s 2001 album Swing When You’re Winning included a cover of “It Was a Very Good Year” that featured Sinatra’s vocals. Ol’ Blue Eyes died three years earlier.

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Lauryn Hill & Bob Marley – “Turn Your Lights Down Low”

Hill has five children with Marley’s son Rohan, so it wasn’t surprising when she recorded a version of the late reggae star’s 1977 song in 1999.

Kenny G & Louis Armstrong – “What a Wonderful World”

Armstrong took his last breath in 1971 but the jazz legend can be heard singing along to Kenny G’s sax in 1999.


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