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My eldest son loves Metallica. I don’t. He knows very little about Lou Reed. I love Velvet Underground and have a passing interest in his solo stuff.
He hates Lulu, the collaboration project the thrash metallers and the veteran rocker have teamed up to do. I find it one of the most fascinating albums I’ve listened to in a long time.
Yet despite some critical acclaim and welcome airtime on TV programmes as diverse as Jools Holland and Andrew Marr, their release has not been commercially successful.
Indeed, across in the United States, it sold just 13,000 in its first week before dropping out of the Billboard top 200 just seven days later.
Collaborations are risk at the best of times. Some prove to be outstandingly successful, others flop badly.
Since Led Zeppelin split 31 years ago, the three surviving members have teamed up with a variety of recording artists, earning plaudits and brickbats along the way.
Jimmy Page’s partnership with Free and Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers in the 80s looked like a match made in heaven yet though all the ingredients appeared to be in place for The Firm to flourish, the whole turned out to be significantly less than the sum of the parts.
A few years later, Page released an album with David Coverdale, who had temporarily shut down Whitesnake. Despite the material being derided by Robert Plant, Coverdale/Page was pretty well received and without selling bucketloads, proved to be a commercial hit.
Perhaps the most successful collaborative of recent years has been Raising Sand, featuring Plant and bluegrass singer Alison Krauss on the mic.
Percy has, for many years been rock’s most versatile vocalist _ eclectic is his middle name _ and Raising Sand appealed to music lovers across the genres, proving to be one of the surprise best sellers of 2007
Alfie Boe’s recently released album included a duet with Plant on Tim Buckley’s Song To The Siren – a track also ifeatured on Percy’s Dreamland album incidentally – and a vast kaleidescope of reviews cite it as one of the highlights of the tenor’s collection.
When Queen decided to tour for the first time without Freddie Mercury, they turned to Rodgers _ a close friend of both Brian May and Roger Taylor and a singer, who they say was a major influence not only of them but of their sadly missed late vocalist.
I saw Queen And Paul Rodgers live twice and I think even the most devout Queen fan who experienced both tours would agree that a partnership that might have backfired, worked splendidly.
Even so, when the trio went into the studio to record a fresh album, the resulting Cosmos Rocks was less well received and the parties moved on to work on other projects.
John Paul Jones, the lowest profile member of Led Zeppelin, has kept himself busy over the years as a session musician and an acclaimed producer but three years ago, he briefly eclipsed Plant and Page as one bassist and co-songwriter of the excellent Them Crooked Vultures, a supergroup that has blazed a trail for a succession of supergroups including Black Country Communion and Chickenfoot.
The ever-industrious Joe Bonamassa, of course, forms one quarter of BCC and somehow found time in his hectic schedule to link up with Beth Hart to release Don’t Explain, an album of blues and soul covers which is one of my own personal highlights of the past 12 months.
Some collaborations are guaranteed to be hits – Eric Clapton’s project alongside BB King for example. Others are doomed to failure or are badly thought out, the result of indulgent jamming sessions rather than a pre-planned partnership.
Lou Reed and Metallica’s Lulu? Judging by the likes and dislikes on its Facebook page, opinion is split down the middle on its worth. You may like it, tolerate hit or even hate it but please take a listen. It’s too an unusual relationship just to let it pass by.