From Sonny and Cher to Bey and Jay, these are our favourite power couples in music history.
Beyoncé & Jay Z
Reigning king and queen of RnB and hip-hop, Beyoncé and Jay Z are arguably the most powerful couple in music right now. She took out first place, and he the second, in the respective Forbes' "Richest Females in Music" and "Richest in Hip-Hop" lists of 2017, and they earned the official accolade of the "billion-dollar couple" earlier this year.
As well as recording huge hits "Crazy In Love" (2003) and "Drunk In Love" (2013) together, the pair met collaborating on Jay-Z's "Bonnie & Clyde" (2002) and continue to influence each other’s output. Queen B’s sixth studio album, Lemonade (2016) was inspired by Jay-Z's alleged infidelity to their marriage and they recently revealed they've been working on a joint album, using their “art almost like a therapy session”, to quote Jay.
June Carter & Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash proposed to June Carter when they were both on stage performing in Ontario, Canada in 1968, a year after Cash’s divorce from his first wife, Vivian. Johnny met June in 1956 when she was performing as a backing vocalist for Elvis Presley, and they went on to tour and perform together before and once they were married. Their 1967 duet, "Jackson", won them the Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Performance Duet and they scooped another Grammy for "If I Were A Carpenter" (1970). A love letter Johnny wrote to June on her 65th birthday was voted the greatest love letter of all time in 2015.
Read more: A life in pictures: Johnny Cash
Tina & Ike Turner
One of the most notorious couplings in music has to be Ike and Tina Turner. The story goes that Tina (then Anna) saw Ike and his band Kings Of Rhythm perform at a club and she was so transfixed by their music that she just knew she had to sing with them. Live appearances turned into a record featuring "Little Ann" with the Kings before Anna renamed herself Tina Turner at Ike’s request, by all accounts. He even patented the name so that he could still have a "Tina Turner" to sing with should she leave the band.
Dubbed “one of the hottest, most durable, and potentially most explosive of all R&B ensembles,” the duo released chart hit after chart hit and warmed up for The Rolling Stones in 1969, something that brought them worldwide fame. The pair’s relationship was turbulent and Tina’s autobiography, I, Tina, alleges years of abuse at Ike’s hand. They divorced in 1978 and Tina went on to break out as a multi-platinum selling solo artist in her own right. Ike and Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1991.
Cher & Sonny Bono
If Ike and Tina’s relationship was the result of their music, Cher’s success began with her relationship. She burst into the British and American charts alongside her husband Sonny when they released "I Got You Babe" in 1965. Whilst Cher simultaneously launched a successful solo career, Sonny & Cher were described contemporaneously by Time magazine as rock’s “it” couple and their brand as a duo was strengthened by the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, a TV show that reached over 30 million peak viewers.
They divorced in 1976, citing “irreconcilable differences” but remained close friends and Cher gave a heartfelt eulogy at Sonny’s funeral in 1998 after he died in a skiing accident. The pair share a star with one another in Hollywood’s Walk Of Fame.
Yoko Ono & John Lennon
If any couple’s first meeting can be said to have changed the course of music history, it’s Yoko Ono’s and John Lennon’s. She may not have been the reason The Beatles broke up (although Paul McCartney contemporaneously said, "John's in love with Yoko and he's no longer in love with the other three of us”, and fans blame Ono to this day), but certainly her and John’s relationship was one of the changes afoot that would lead to the end of “the dream”.
The Beatles aside, Ono and Lennon’s musical legacy was significant: most of Lennon’s output was inspired by Ono after they met at an art gallery in London in 1966 and developed a relationship, and the two worked on numerous albums and artistic projects together. Speaking to The Telegraph in 2012, Ono admitted, “in a way both John and I ruined our careers by getting together although we weren’t aware of it at the time”: Lennon was pulled away from mainstream success with The Beatles whilst Ono slipped out of the serious avant-garde art world she had been a part of. They nevertheless remain one of the most iconic pairings in music of all time.
Sharon & Ozzy Osbourne
Black Sabbath frontman John Michael “Ozzy” Osbourne met Sharon for the first time when she was just 18. Sharon’s father, Don Arden, was managing Black Sabbath at the time and nine years later, when Arden sacked Ozzy from the band, Sharon picked up the pieces and offered to manage his solo career. The pair married in 1982 and had their first child, Aimie, a year later. They’re marriage endured Ozzy’s drug addiction, reality TV stardom (The Osbournes aired from 2002 to 2005) and violence (Ozzy was arrested for attempted murder in 1989 when accused of strangling Sharon under the influence of drugs and alcohol) before they split up in 2016 after 34 years of marriage.
Debbie Harry & Chris Stein
Girlfriend-boyfriend duo Debbie Harry and Chris Stein founded Blondie together after meeting as members of the band Stilettoes. Billed for a show under Angel and the Snake, they soon changed the name to Blondie on account of the catcalls Harry regularly received. They were together until the mid-Eighties absolutely killing it with Blondie and continued to work together even after separating as a couple. Blondie broke up 1982 but reformed in 1997, with Stein and Harry both committing to the band once again.
Read more: A life in pictures: Debbie Harry
Courtney Love & Kurt Cobain
Rebels of rock Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain met at a Portland nightclub in 1990. According to Charles Cross’s biography of Cobain, Heavier Than Heaven, the two were wrestling (slash flirting) on the floor within 30 seconds of meeting, after Love commented on Cobain’s appearance. She purportedly had a crush on him from that day forth, and a couple of years later confessed this to Nirvana’s Dave Grohl. He revealed Cobain’s newly status as single, and Cobain and Love met again. They married in 1992 on a beach in Hawaii and had a daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. Cobain sadly committed suicide two years later.
Marianne Faithfull & Mick Jagger
Okay, so (utterly unsubstantiated) legend has it that Mick Jagger was eating a Mars bar out of a private part of then-girlfriend Marianne Faithful’s body when Keith Richards’s house was stormed by a police drug raid in 1967. Turns out the Mars bar bit was definitely just a rumour and, whilst Faithful’s relationship with Jagger from 1966 to 1970 has been characterised as the ultimate example of the Swinging Sixties, the spread of that rumour in the press was probably what led to the demise the relationship.
Musically, Faithful and Jagger’s coupling purportedly inspired huge Rolling Stones hits like "Sympathy For The Devil" (after Faithfull introduced him to Mihail Bulgakov’s The Master And Margarita), "You Can’t Always Get What You Want" and "Sister Morphine", which Faithfull is credited to have co-written with Jagger and Richards.
Read more: A life in pictures: Mick Jagger