These Bands Had The Opportunity to Play With Their Musical Heroes

Jackson Sawa | January 22, 2018 6:30 pm

For most musicians, it’s only a dream to be able to play alongside the artists who inspired them. Yet, for some, that dream has become a reality. Whether it’s a quick song on stage together or joining the band’s lineup, these are some musicians that had the opportunity to share the stage with their lifelong inspirations.

Turns out, Arcade Fire’s biggest inspiration became one of their biggest fans.

Modest Mouse Recruits A Long-Time Idol To Join The Band


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Indie rock outfit Modest Mouse has always had a soft spot for The Smiths guitarist Jeremy Marr. But instead of just being privileged to play one song with him onstage, Marr joined the band. That’s right, he became part of Modest Mouse. When Modest Mouse’s guitarist quit the band at the height of their fame, frontman Isaac Brock took a shot in the dark and cold-called Marr asking if he was up for it. In 2007, Brock told The Guardian that “I knew it was a demented notion” but it all worked out. Marr agreed to give it a shot and stayed with the band for a whole three years.

Eddie Vedder Become Buds With A Lifelong Inspiration


Photo Credit: Neil Young

Eddie Vedder is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter known mostly for being the frontman of the rock and roll band Pearl Jam. In 1993, Vedder met his lifelong musical inspiration Neil Young at a Bob Dylan concert where the two became fast friends. Months later at the MTV Video Music Awards, Young joined Vedder and the rest of Pearl Jam onstage and they performed a rocked-out version of Young’s “Rocking in the Free World.” But their relationship didn’t stop there. In 1995, Vedder inducted Young into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have played together onstage a few times ever since.

Usman Riaz Impresses Preston Reed


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Growing up in Pakistan, 21-year-old guitarist Usman Riaz always looked up to Preston Reed, one of the biggest pioneers of fingerstyle guitar. He recalls being entranced by his videos online and based his own sound off of Reed’s rhythms and sounds. Little did he know that he would be sharing a stage with his idol at the TED Global 2012. He said that being onstage with Reed was a surreal experience and that the way he stood, the way he played, and his body language was identical to the videos he had watched of him throughout his own guitar playing career.

Taylor Swift Duets With Stevie Nicks


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At the 2010 Grammy Awards, Taylor Swift had the opportunity to do the unthinkable and sing along with Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, one of her all-time music idols.The two performed a duet of “Rhiannon” which received some relatively harsh criticism from viewers, claiming that Swift’s voice was too shaky. MTV News even went so far as to say that their singing “was a tad less than harmonious than one would have hoped.” But can you blame Taylor? There has to be a lot of pressure performing next to one of the greats that she’s looked up to for so many years.

Hahn-Bin and Itzhak Perlman Collaborated For Years


Not only rock and pop stars get the opportunity to jam out with their idols. Avante-Garde violinist Hahn-Bin proved his skills when he made his Grammy debut at the young age of 12. He was so impressive that violin legend Itzhak Perlman went so far as to take the young violinist under his wing. Although aesthetically the two couldn’t be more opposite, with Hahn-Bin looking unrecognizable at times and Perlman taking a more reserved look, the two worked together for over a decade. In a 2010 interview, Bin noted that: “That relationship has taught me so much about being a musician, finding the joy in everything I play.”

Arcade Fire Played and Recorded With All-Time Favorite Artist


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Indie rock band Arcade Fire has been greatly influenced by David Bowie in more ways than we can count. So, when David Bowie joined Arcade Fire for a rendition of the band’s track “Wake Up” at New York’s Fashion Rocks in 2005, it was a magical moment for Arcade Fire and fans of both bands alike. Bowie was one of the band’s earliest supporters and even came back to collaborate with them on their 2013 record Reflektor. After Bowie’s death, Arcade Fire came out with a statement saying that “We will take to the grave the moments we shared; talking, playing music, and collaborating as some of the most profound and memorable moments of our lives.”

Two Titans That Teamed Up

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 12: Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl perform onstage at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Almost anyone that plays music can say that they were influenced or at least have some level of respect for any member of the Beatles. For Dave Grohl, it was Paul McCartney who he calls “a truly groundbreaking visionary.” It turns out, that McCartney has shared respect for Grohl as well as the other surviving members of the influential ’90s grunge band Nirvana. They all have a song together titled “Cut Me Some Slack” which won Best Rock Song at the Grammys in 2014. Grohl and McCartney are still pretty close as Grohl came out to surprise McCartney at one of his performances in London in 2015. Two titans of different genres and eras coming together as one.

Beyonce and Tina Turner were meant to perform together.

Beyonce and Tina Turner Deliver A Jaw-Dropping Performance


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In 2008, the two powerhouse singers took the stage at the 50th Annual Grammys at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Beyonce warmed the crowd up with a solo performance of her hit track “Crazy in Love” before bringing out Turner for an absolutely electric duet of “Proud Mary.” The two did not disappoint even with Tina Turner being almost 70 years old. It was a performance for the Grammy books and a dream come true for Beyonce. Following their performance, Beyonce referred to Turner as the “ultimate icon” clearly still dazed from what just happened.

Eric Clapton Admires John Mayer Too


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John Mayer has made it very clear that Eric Clapton has always been one of his greatest influences whether it be for his guitar playing or the way he approaches music in general. Eric Clapton had some kind words about Mayer as well referring to him as a master at guitar. A real compliment from Eric Clapton. So, on Clapton’s 70th birthday, he invited Mayer up to come perform with him onstage. Mayer told Rolling Stone in 2005 that he was terribly afraid to meet Clapton because the most crushing thing for him was having one of his biggest idols not like him.

Eric Clapton Has Idols Too


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Vice versa, Eric Clapton had the opportunity to play with one his biggest idols as well. B.B. King has been referred to by many as one of the most influential blues artists of all time and helped pave the way for rock and roll as we know it. In Clapton’s autobiography, he wrote that “B.B. King is without a doubt one of the most important artists that the blues has ever produced” and that his record B.B. King Live at the Regal started it all for him as a young player. Clapton didn’t just get to play a few song with him either, the two have recorded as a duo many times throughout their careers and shared a stage multiple times as well.

Sara Bareilles Learned From The Best And Played With Her Too


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At the 2014 Grammy Awards, Sara Bareilles and Carol King came together to perform a mashup of Carole King’s song “Beautiful” and Bareilles own “Brave.” To many, it almost seemed like a blast from the past with the younger Sara Bareilles sharing much of the same style and energy as the legendary Carole King. Just from their performance, it was clear that Bareilles learned from the best. She even commented saying: “What a thrill to perform with the woman who has been such an inspiration to me.” We’re sure Bareilles won’t be forgetting that performance anytime soon.

Usher Takes The Stage With A Legend


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At Barack Obama’s We Are One Inauguration in 2009, Usher performed alongside Shakira and one of his long-time idols Stevie Wonder. Although that was satisfying enough for Usher, at the 2015 Grammys, he was playing a cover of Wonder’s “If It’s Magic,” when Stevie Wonder came out with his harmonica to play with him. It’s clear from the video that Usher was living out one of his ultimate dreams for the second time onstage in his life. We’ll have to wait and see if we are going to be treated to another Usher and Wonder performance in the upcoming years.

We’re used to John Lennon being the inspiration. But who influenced him?

John Lennon and Chuck Berry Rock The Mike Douglas Show


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In February 1972, John Lennon and Yoko Ono had the opportunity to take over The Mike Douglas Show for a week. During their time, they featured different guests from the Surgeon General Dr. Jesse Steinfeld to Ralph Nader. One of the highlights of the week was when one of John Lennon’s biggest heroes and inspirations, Chuck Berry, appeared as a guest. Lennon and Berry performed Berry’s “Johnny B. Good” and “Memphis Tennessee.” During the show, Lennon said that it was “People like Berry that influenced his generation to try and make sense out of songs rather than just sing ‘do wah diddy.'” Mike Douglas even went so far as to say that it was the most memorable weeks of his 20 years on the air.

Double The Panther


Photo Credit: Daily Mirror

In 2015, metal tribute band Surreal Panther was invited to play onstage with their idols and inspiration, the original Steel Panther band. After they were personally invited to a Steel Panther show with meet and greet access, they received a text mid-way through the show saying, “Be ready to rock with us tonight.” Before they knew it, they were being ushered onto the stage where they played one of the band’s hit songs alongside them. After the show, the members of Surreal Panther described it as being an “unbeatable career high.” Not every tribute band gets the opportunity to play with their heroes like Surreal Panther did.

Members Of U2 Surprises The Unforgettable Fire


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In 2006, U2 tribute band The Unforgettable Fire was invited to play at the 20th-anniversary show for, a highly regarded U2 fan site. The show was at the Cutting Room in New York coincidentally at the same time U2 was in New York playing at Madison Square Garden. To the band’s surprise, it was announced that U2’s guitar tech Dallas Schoo was going to perform with them. Yet, after Schoo tuned a guitar and walked away, they were shocked when The Edge and Adam Clayton walked onstage. The Unforgettable Fire and their two guests played “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “Outta Control” before Edge and Clayton left the stage, making it the most unforgettable performance of the tribute band’s career.

Up next: See which one of this artist’s favorite band ended up opening for them.

One Of Ben Gibbard’s Favorites Opens For Him


Ben Gibbard, best known as the frontman for indie rock group Death Cab For Cutie has no lack of music idols. One band, however, called Low has had a life-altering effect on his outlook on music. Seeing them as a teenager by chance, he says that he became a lifelong fan since he first stumbled upon their music. Since then, he has had the opportunity to play with them when they opened up for Death Cab For Cutie for about a week’s worth of shows where they developed a relationship. He noted that opening for him didn’t feel right but he was just happy to be around them. He also went out and played bass during one of their songs which he described as a career highlight.

Thundercat Jams With Michael McDonald


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Steven Bruner of Thundercat is no stranger to collaboration. He’s played with metal bands, jazz artists, and rappers such as Kendrick Lamar. During a radio interview, he discussed how much he admired and wanted to work with either Michael McDonald or Kenny Loggins stating that “I have just always felt like they were some of the greatest.” When McDonald heard of his compliment, they got in touch and eventually went on to play a show together at the Hollywood Bowl in 2016. After sharing that experience, McDonald called up Kenny Loggins and the three collaborated on the song “Show You the Way” which was released on Thundercat’s album Drunk.

Amy Winehouse Duets With Tony Bennet


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Before her untimely death, Amy Winehouse had the opportunity of a lifetime to record with the one and only Tony Bennett. The two did a collaboration on the song “Body & Soul” which was featured on Bennett’s Duets II album. On Amy Winehouse singing, Bennett stated that “It’s a gift of learning how to syncopate but it’s a spirit that you’re either born with or not. And Amy was born with that spirit.” However, while recording, Winehouse was a bit nervous performing with one of her all-time idols and covering one of her dad’s favorite songs. However, Bennett eventually put her at ease and the two went on to record a beautiful song together.

Stevie Ray Vaughn Shows Off To Albert King


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According to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s brother Jimmie, Stevie got his musical start after he played some Albert King songs to no other than Albert himself. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Jimmie said that when Stevie was 19, they were at a club where King was playing when the owner of the club told King that he had to hear Stevie play. Stevie proceeded to play a series of King’s own songs. King ended up loving it and put his arm around Stevie after. The two went on to play a concert together in 1983 and later recorded a joint album together in 1999 titled In Session.

Miranda Lambert Gets To Do An Unforgettable Collaboration


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Singer Miranda Lambert is a lifelong fan of Steve Earle, so it was a big deal when she was offered to be featured on Earle’s new project So You Wanna Be an Outlaw. Lambert and Earle share the song “This Is How It Ends” which is about a couple looking back on their failed relationship. Lambert is known to frequently cover Earle’s songs during her live performances, so Earle figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add her as one of the many collaborators for his new album which was released in June of 2017.