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Updated by DJ Rob on May 24, 2024
Headline for The 65 Best R&B Male/Female Romantic Duets Ever!
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The 65 Best R&B Male/Female Romantic Duets Ever!

Djrobblog has combed through dozens of romantic soul/R&B jams by male/female duos and ranked the cream of the love-filled crop from least to most, from good to best and from bottom to top!

To make the list, the songs had to be about love, had to be duets featuring a prominent male and female vocal, and had to be memorable soul music classics.

What better way to celebrate the month of love, as well as Black History Month 2018, than with a countdown like this. So lay back, scroll through the list below, and relive some of the most romantic moments in R&B music history. You won’t find a more comprehensive countdown of this type spanning six decades of classic soul hit duets.

Remember to scroll through the entire list of 65 songs!


65. “Give U My Heart” - Babyface & Toni Braxton (1992)

The countdown kicks off with Toni Braxton’s breakthrough single, a duet with longtime producer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. It was from the “Boomerang” soundtrack and it foreshadowed a very successful chart-topping career for Braxton in the coming years.

64. “Love Has Finally Come At Last” - Bobby Womack & Patti LaBelle (1984)

The late soul crooner Bobby Womack was enjoying a bit of a renaissance when he teamed up with Ms. Patti for this top-3 R&B chart hit. For that matter, Patti LaBelle was in the middle of a comeback herself as she had just weeks earlier enjoyed the biggest solo R&B chart single of her career at that point (“If Only You Knew”). Both songs overlapped in the R&B top ten in March 1984.

Honorable mention: Bobby Womack’s duet with Altrinna Grayson on the 1987 #2 R&B anthem “(No Matter How High I Get) I’ll Still Be Looking Up To You.” The song’s lead artist was jazz saxophonist Wilton Felder, with both Womack and Grayson being given featured credits.

63. “Lay Your Troubles Down” - Àngela Winbush & Ronald Isley (1990)

When Àngela Winbush recorded this mellow tune with Ron Isley, the two had formed a successful musical partnership that would lead to marriage a couple years later. This is the first of seven songs on the list by couples that were either already married or eventually would be.

62. “Reservations For Two” - Dionne Warwick & Kashif (1987)

Dionne Warwick has a few duets on this list, including this romantic mid-tempo ballad with the late singer/songwriter/producer Kashif, who died suddenly in 2016. The song was one of the last by either artist to reach the national charts.

61. “Candlelight And You” - Chanté Moore & Keith Washington (1991)

Keith Washington was best known for his No. 1 solo single, “Kissing You,” while Chanté Moore’s biggest hit was “Chanté’s Got A Man” several years later. The two made beautiful music together with this duet from the “House Party 2” soundtrack in 1991. Although it was never released as a proper single, it was heavily promoted as such, including the above Soul Train performance.

60. “My Mistake (Was To Love You)” - Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross (1974)

The King of R&B and the Queen of Pop (in 1973, at least) teamed up for an album that, by both accounts, was difficult to record. Each artist had their own solo albums out and it took almost two years to complete “Diana And Marvin.” Still, it yielded this top-20 single plus “You’re A Special Part Of Me.” They would be his last Top-40 chart duets with a female artist.

59. “It Takes Two” - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston (1967)

No song title is more fitting for this list than the one by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston. Gaye - who had a much more successful run of hits with Tammi Terrell - appears many more times on this list, while this top-10 single is Weston’s only entry.

58. “No Air” - Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown (2006)

This duet is one of only five recorded after 1999 to make this list...not a strong showing for the 2000s or 2010s. Still, the ever-plagued Chris Brown made musical magic with singer Jordin Sparks in this millennial ballad that reached the top five on both the Hot 100 and R&B charts in ‘06.

57. “Fire We Make” - Alicia Keys & Maxwell (2013)

Alicia Keys nearly made the list with her Tony! Toni! Tone! collaboration, “Diary.” I decided against it because it was essentially a solo song with only a few ad-libs by TTT in the song’s coda. As a consolation to Keys fans, this pairing with everyone’s favorite falsetto crooner Maxwell did make it.

56. “Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This” - Rachelle Ferrell & Will Downing (1994)

This is likely the most understated (and underrated) song on this list. It didn’t do gangbusters on the national Billboard charts, likely because its two singers were not soul or pop superstars like many of the other acts here. Still, the beauty of this duet remains undeniable even nearly a quarter-century later.

55. “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?” - James Ingram & Patti Austin (1983)

As cheesy song titles (and lyrics) go, this theme from the 1982 film “Best Friends” ranks near the top. Still, it was beautifully sung by Ingram and Austin on the heels of their huge No. 1 duet, “Baby, Come To Me,” which is coming up much later in this countdown. Unlike that song, “How Do You Keep” didn’t have the added bonus of a General Hospital plug to expose it to millions of mainstream households and thus wasn’t nearly as big a hit.

54. “Perfect Combination” - Stacy Lattisaw & Johnny Gill (1984)

Our introduction to Stacy Lattisaw came in 1980 with her crossover pop and soul debut single “Let Me Be Your Angel.” Our first time hearing Johnny Gill was on this duet with Stacy four years later. It reached the top ten on the R&B chart and became the first of many hits for Gill in the 1980s and ‘90s - including as a solo artist, in duets and in his future group New Edition.

53. “We Can’t Be Friends” - Deborah Cox & R.L. from Next (1999)

Deborah Cox struck gold in the late 1990s with her anthemic classic “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here” and this worthy follow-up - a duet with R.L. from the group Next. The result of their pairing was another No. 1 R&B chart single for both artists. An uncredited Montell Jordan provided backing vocals on the track.

52. “Spend My Life With You” - Eric Benet & Tamia (1999)

Speaking of late-‘90s pairings, here’s another one. This one couples the love-starved Eric Benet with singer Tamia on a tune that topped the R&B charts at the end of the decade. It would become the biggest chart hit for both artists.

51. “Baby I’m Scared Of You” - Womack & Womack (1984)

The late Cecil Womack married his sister-in-law’s daughter Linda Cooke - the daughter of Sam Cooke, whose widow married Cecil’s brother Bobby Womack a year after Cooke’s death. Got all that? Cecil and wife Linda recorded as Womack and Womack and made a hit with this gem in 1984.

50. “Something in Common” - Bobby Brown & Whitney Houston (1992)

Bobby and Whitney were not quite married when they recorded this duet in spring 1992, but they would be later that year. Over the years, it became apparent that they indeed had things in common. The song was released as a single more than a year after the album that contained it, Bobby Brown’s “Bobby.”

49. “Ain’t Understanding Mellow” - Jerry Butler & Brenda Lee Eager (1972)

Without an accompanying question mark, it wasn’t immediately clear whether Jerry Butler was asking a question or making a statement in the ambiguously titled “Ain’t Understanding Mellow.” Towards the song’s end, it became clear he was asking a question, I think. Ain’t understating mellow?

48. “How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye” - Dionne Warwick & Luther Vandross (1983)

Dionne Warwick had been a major star for decades when she teamed up with rising star Luther Vandross for this song. Of course, Luther wasn’t the only male artist to benefit from Warwick’s singing generosity, as she also paired with the likes of Howard Hewett, Kashif, Jeffrey Osborne, Glenn Jones, Johnny Mathis, Isaac Hayes and the Spinners (twice). She may be the woman with the most male duets in R&B chart history.

47. “My First Love” - René & Àngela; Avant & Keke Wyatt (1983; 2000)

René & Àngela reached #12 on the R&B chart with their original version of this gem in 1983. But Avant and Keke Wyatt’s near dead-on remake charted even higher, reaching #4 R&B and #26 pop, making it the songwriting duo’s biggest crossover hit. The video link above is for the Avant remake.

46. “Two Hearts” - Stephanie Mills & Teddy Pendergrass (1981)

Stephanie Mills was a vocal powerhouse in the 1980s as she enjoyed chart success throughout the entire decade with hits like this No. 2-charting duet with the late TP. They recorded this just months before Pendergrass’ paralyzing car accident in early 1982.

45. “Where Do We Go From Here?” - Stacy Lattisaw & Johnny Gill (1990)

Stacy Lattisaw and Johnny Gill were still teenagers when they recorded “Perfect Combination” in 1984. But they really proved to be the perfect combo when they joined forces for this more adult-oriented No. 1 single six years later, while Gill was already a member of New Edition.

44. “That’s What Love Is” - Miki Howard & Gerald Levert (1988)

There are seven songs by married couples on this list - and countless more by others who were dating at some point, including this top-five tune by R&B songstress Miki Howard and the late Gerald LeVert.

43. “Is It Still Good To Ya?” - Ashford & Simpson (1979)

The husband and wife duo of Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson is well represented on this list - with eight songs they wrote, four of which they also sang. This is one of those they recorded during their late-1970s/ early-‘80s heyday with Warner Brothers Records. Lyrically it tackled a bedroom subject that many couples find difficult to discuss at a time when few others had gone there. “Is It” peaked at No. 12 R&B in early 1979.

42. “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love” - Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack (1983)

Roberta Flack found a worthy duet partner in singer Peabo Bryson after regular partner Donnie Hathaway passed away in 1979. Her 1983 collabo with Bryson was a top-20 pop/top-5 soul hit for the duo. Hathaway fans needn’t worry though...there are still four Flack/Hathaway duets coming up later in this countdown.

41. “Love Changes” - Kashif & Meli’sa Morgan (1987)

Mother’s Finest included the husband-and-wife duo of Glenn Murdoch and Joyce Kennedy (who appears on this list separately in another duet with Jeffrey Osborne). They were the first to record this soul classic in 1978. But it was Kashif and Meli’sa Morgan who had the most successful version. Their remake topped out at No. 2 R&B In 1988.

You’ve got 40 more songs to go, so keep scrolling by clicking the right arrow below to see songs 40 - 1.

  • DJ Rob


    Hi, I'm DJ Rob, owner and author of the music blogsite I live in Chicago, IL and have been doing the blogsite since January 2015. It features articles about music news, history and trivia - both old and new. The features I enjoy doing the most are my djroblists. I've done dozens of lists ranking everything from blue-eyed soul singers to Prince's greatest songs. I only recently started converting them to listly to increase interaction with my readers. Take some time to enjoy them and let me know what you think! And check out when you can!

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