When you think of famous duets, you probably think of romantic pop songs or musical theater ballads performed by a male singer and a female singer. It can be challenging to come up with duets for a male duo to perform. However, there is a refreshingly large selection of duet material for men.
Broadway Musical Duets
Broadway is teaming with duets for men that range from tear-jerking to comical. "Agony" from "Into the Woods" is a funny song performed by the princes. "Rent" has two duet numbers for men: "What You Own," a power-packing rock song between Mark and Roger, and "I'll Cover You," a romantic song between Angel and Collins. "Pretty Women" from "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" is a dark duet between Sweeney Todd and Judge Turpin. "You're Nothing Without Me" is performed by Stine and Stone in "City of Angels." "The Producers" has three lighthearted duets for men: "We Can Do It," "'Til Him" and "Where Did We Go Right?"
Popular Music Duets
Musical artists from many genres perform in duos and collaborate on duets. "Miss Sarajevo" is a poignant and surprising collaboration between U2's Bono and opera great Luciano Pavarotti. "Under Pressure" by David Bowie and Freddie Mercury is a 1980s male duet. "Debra Kadabra" by Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart from the "Bongo Fury" album is quirky rock duet. There are plenty of duets from these male duos: Hall and Oates, The Everly Brothers, Simon and Garfunkel, The Righteous Brothers, Pet Shop Boys, Kris Kross, Air Supply and Savage Garden.
Opera has rich duets for men. Bizet's "Au fond du temple saint," is a well-known piece from "The Pearl Fishers" for a tenor and a baritone. Donizetti's "Qui del padre ancor respira" from "Lucia di Lammermoor" is a passionate, angry piece for a tenor and a baritone. Mozart's "Vivat Bacchus!" is a comedic song from "Abduction From the Seraglio" that celebrates hedonism. Verdi's "Solenne in quest’ora" is a duet between two male leads who are plotting to kill each other in "La Forza del Destino."
Gender Bending Duets
You can bend the rules of gender to make a duet work. When singing a part written for a woman, most men find they need to bring the notes down an octave or more. Because there are few romantic duets for two men, male artists who want to perform a romantic duet can change the gender pronouns in a song originally written for a man and a woman. Male-female duets that are not romantic can simply be reworked for two men. Even all-female duets can be changed to work for two men.
Kayla Richard has been writing from Rochester, N.Y., since 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English writing arts from SUNY Oswego and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from SUNY Brockport.