yoko-ono-john-lennon-cover-image

Let’s Talk About Love: Our Top 15 Iconic Musician Couples

If you know how Hollywood works, you’re more than likely aware of how the romantic lives of the professionals working there are linked. That’s not always the case when it comes to the world of music, but the history of the industry is packed with stories of artists who clicked with each other professionally and romantically. In many cases, those relationships shaped the careers of both parties involved.

I’ve done my best to pick couples from different eras and across genres. But also, of course, you’ll be able to find a couple of Beatles down there.

Since I have left plenty out on purpose, feel free to share other iconic couples in the comments.

15 Iconic Couples in Music History

June Carter & Johnny Cash

Is there a more iconic couple in country music? Short answer: no. The biopic Walk The Line told part of their story as a couple, but of course, there was so much more! They met at The Grand Ole Opry stage in July 1956 and even though it’s believed to be one of those love-at-the-first-sight stories, the reality of it is that June Carter was married to someone else at the time, then she married another guy before Johnny Cash! But don’t be sad, Johnny Cash was married to another woman too during this time. They both divorced in 1966 and 1967 and got married in 1968, and remained married until the end of their days. (I’m not crying, you are crying.) That happened in 2003, when both died only four months apart from each other.

Was this relationship good for their careers?

100%! June Carter co-wrote the iconic song “Ring Of Fire” with Cash. Let’s not simplify it, their relationship wasn’t only fruitful from a creative standpoint, June Carter has been given full credit for helping her husband get sober. Ahhhhhhh love.

An iconic moment together

My heart is melting with this performance:

Paul & Linda McCartney

It makes me smile to think of Paul and Linda McCartney together. They were not just one of the most iconic couples in the history of music, they were also so kind and loving to each other.

Reading about the life of Linda McCartney (née Eastman), you realize how forward-thinking she was. She was a photographer, musician, animal rights activist, and entrepreneur. She just happened to be married to a man much more famous than she was, but it would be unfair to not recognize her as a great artist. The couple remained married until the day Linda sadly died of breast cancer in 1998. She was 56. Paul McCartney claimed in an interview that he couldn’t stop crying for a whole year. My heart breaks just by writing this.

Was this relationship good for their careers?

Paul And Linda McCartney - Ram album cover

Paul And Linda McCartney ‎– Ram

They recorded Ram, one of the best albums ever by the ex-Beatle, together in 1971. Besides any artistic consideration, they were just incredible together. So the answer is: yes.

An iconic moment together

Watch this video and believe in love again:

Lux Interior & Poison Ivy

The Cramps was one of the most influential bands of all-time. And when you look into their discography and how things were looking when they started, this is not as obvious as it might sound today. At the core of this band, you could find the couple formed by Lux Interior and Poison Ivy in Sacramento in 1972. They were together as a couple and as a band until the day Lux Interior died in 2009 at age 62. We sincerely thank them for a lot of the cool stuff that happened in the seventies and eighties.

Was this relationship good for their careers?

This relationship WAS their career. So obviously yes.

An iconic moment together

In this interview, Lux Interior speaks about the time they performed in a mental institution and appears next to their shared record collection in his underwear. It doesn’t get much better than this:

John Lennon & Yoko Ono

Alright, this is getting a bit spicier. I think it would be unbelievable for a woman in 2020 to get the amount of hatred Yoko Ono received when she started dating John Lennon. But it was a different point in time, The Beatles were the biggest band in the world and the fans weren’t exactly enthusiastic about the days of the band coming to an end. When that happened, everybody rushed to look for someone to blame and Yoko Ono definitely got most of the attention.

You don’t need to hear the full story from me because you’ve heard it a million times. This love story ended in a sudden and tragic way in 1980 when Lennon was 40.

Was this relationship good for their careers?

I’m not even going there. Sorry.

An iconic moment together

There are plenty, but this music video is a nice summary:

Kurt Cobain & Courtney Love

This is muddy territory. At the beginning of the nineties, they were the darlings of an American underground which started to meet mainstream success. And that destroyed them while simultaneously turning them into generational icons. Under many accounts, Courtney Love was the very strong, energetic woman who dragged Kurt Cobain into his drug habit, and then miraculously lived to tell. Kurt Cobain wasn’t so lucky, he killed himself in his Seattle home in April 1994. He was only 27.

Was this relationship good for their careers?

Hole - Live Through This album cover

HoleLive Through This

Yes and no. Courtney Love released her best album ever with Hole little after Kurt Cobain died (the whole album was recorded by then). For Kurt Cobain, it’s a whole different story.

An iconic moment together

Laurie Anderson & Lou Reed

What a special couple. They need little introduction: Laurie Anderson is one of the most important artists to ever come out of the NYC avant-garde scene, she’s an artist, composer, musician and film director. And, to be more clear, a very active one. And Lou Reed was one of the founding members of The Velvet Underground and had a solo career spanning almost four decades. I would die to see how they met each other, but just by reading the beautiful words she dedicated to him in Rolling Stone, what’s clear is that they loved each other very much until the very last day.

Was this relationship good for their careers?

They were an unstoppable power couple.

An iconic moment together

I don’t know if this is iconic, but both of them performing “I’ll Be Your Mirror” together in Paris is <3

Genesis P-Orridge & Lady Jaye

The story behind Genesis P-Orridge and Lady Jaye was well worth a movie and, thankfully, that movie exists and it’s called “The Ballad Of Genesis and Lady Jaye.” A documentary centered around a process that Genesis P-Orridge names as Pandrogyne. To put it simply, both of them underwent several surgeries in order to try to become as identical as possible. I know it sounds twisted, but if you watch the documentary, you’re probably going to be moved by the unfiltered love both felt for each other. Moreover, Genesis P-Orridge was already called a “wrecker of civilisation” together with the rest of the COUM Transmissions back in the day, so you should never expect a traditional approach to anything coming from h/er.

Was this relationship good for their careers?

The career of Genesis P-Orridge has always been in motion and at a speed that’s hard to follow.

An iconic moment together

Most likely NSFW but here you go:

Beyoncé & Jay-Z

The most powerful couple in music is still together and thriving. The heights that both of their careers have reached as a couple are hard to believe, to the extent that by playing in Coachella, the festival was officially renamed as Beychella by basically all the press. Since they’ve been together (it’s hard to believe that Beyoncé released her first solo album in 2003), they haven’t stopped becoming more and more successful over the years, is there a ceiling to that success? This summer we learned that Jay-Z is now a billionaire and it doesn’t seem like Beyoncé’s side of the business is going anything but great.

Is their relationship good for their careers?

Beyoncé ‎– Lemonade album cover

BeyoncéLemonade

Besides the elevator crisis and, um, the whole Lemonade slamming Jay-Z, the couple seems to be in the best terms for the last couple of years. Good for Ivy Blue and the twins and for those of you waiting for “Drunk In Love” part 2.

An iconic moment together

Renting the whole m*********ing Louvre to film our videoclip ✅

Sonny & Cher

Isn’t it weird when you know Cher much before you do Sonny & Cher? My introduction to Sonny & Cher came with the movie Shrek which is quite something. Either way, Sonny and Cher began a romantic relationship and a musical career during the first half of the sixties. Cher was sixteen when they met in 1962, and the couple got married in 1964. Not exactly Cardi B and Offset, Sonny and Cher represented values that were becoming outfashioned by the end of the sixties and their approach to songwriting was sweet and naive. Much more naive than the singing career that Cher was going to have in the coming decades.

Was this relationship good for their careers?

Nothing indicates the contrary. Cher continued with her singing and acting career in the following decades, and Sonny Bono continued acting and later on focused on his political career by becoming mayor of Palm Springs and a Republican member of the U. S. House of Representatives.

An iconic moment together

This is the last time they ever performed together:

Whitney Houston & Bobby Brown

It sucks to have to speak about Whitney Houston here. If you have seen the documentary “Whitney” or the controversial artwork of Pusha T’s Daytona knows that speaking about this relationship is serious business. Before Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston was everyone’s favorite mainstream artist in America. She literally did everything, and cleared the way for many pop artists to follow. By the time Whitney Houston was all of that, Bobby Brown was an artist in clear decline. I won’t get into much detail, since all of you should know what ensued.

Was this relationship good for their careers?

This was exactly the opposite of good for Whitney, she struggled to keep it together until the day she died.

An iconic moment together

Since you’ll be able to find plenty of awful videos of these two on Youtube, I think it’s fair to pick a music video they did together:

M.I.A. & Diplo

This couple basically summarized everything that was great about the 2000s. The couple began collaborating artistically via Internet and together, they birthed the amazing mixtape (pre copyright clearance) Piracy Funds Terrorism in 2004, which would be the template for the universally acclaimed first album of M.I.A.: Arular. What were the odds that a Sri Lankan refugee living on the outskirsts of London and a DJ from Florida would take the world by storm?

Was this relationship good for their careers?

Both are modern music icons nowadays, so it’s hard to question that this union didn’t help that.

An iconic moment together

And here’s how the most iconic song of that decade was born:

Kim Gordon & Thurston Moore

The royal couple of alternative rock. For almost 30 years, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore co-fronted Sonic Youth, one of the most important rock bands in history and one that defined a whole era. Their split shocked all the fans, who understood immediately that Sonic Youth came to an end due to the divorce. While some other couples decided to keep the details of their separations private, Kim Gordon wasn’t short of rough details about it in her memoir: “Girl In A Band.” After all, love is almost never a fairytale.

Was this relationship good for their careers?

Listen to all of the albums they released together and tell me that’s not a hell of a legacy they left behind.

An iconic moment together

Ahhh good times. (I was 3 back then but you get what I mean.)

Mick Jagger & Marianne Faithfull

This is a good one. The union between a saint looking young singer called Marianne Faithfull and the frontman of Their Satanic Majesties was one that caught a lot of attention back in the day. She was the fresh face of the new British pop with its roots in the folk tradition – “As Tears Go By” was one of the biggest classics of that era. He was one of the most popular artists on Earth. Together, they were a dangerous combination, one that ended…wait! You’ll need to read the next paragraph.

Was this relationship good for their careers?

Yes and no. Mick Jagger never seemed to be affected by whatever personal circumstances he was going through at that time and remains one of the most popular musicians ever.

Broken English album cover

Marianne Faithful – Broken English

Unfortunately, Marianne became a heroin addict and was even homeless at the time. Luckily, she overcame those issues and released her most acclaimed album in 1979.

An iconic moment together

You can see some images of the couple together here:

Ad-Rock & Kathleen Hannah

#relationshipgoals. I’m serious about this one. Adam Horovitz (bka Ad-Rock from The Beastie Boys) and Kathleen Hannah (from Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and The Julie Ruin) met in 1997 and they’ve been together since. Imagine how cool it must be to have dinner with them, imagine!

Has this relationship been good for their careers?

Both of them kick ass even harder together and separately.

An iconic moment together

My heart…

Georgia Hubley & Ira Kaplan

Not a coincidence to wrap up this piece with one of the most solid personal and artistic alliances ever. Married before the band started, they’ve been the two permanent members of Yo La Tengo since the beginning (even though it’s worth mentioning that James McNew has been the only bassist in the band since 1992.) If Yo La Tengo has always embodied what made indie bands so endearing for critics and the audience, that’s because Georgia and Ira embody is as well. Creative, humble, charming, passionate about music… Every single time I get to see them live, I can only think of how lucky we’re all that they met in the first place.

Has this relationship been good for their careers?

I don’t even want to think of a world without Yo La Tengo.

An iconic moment together

Here’s a clip of Yo La Tengo slaying at Benicássim in 1998. If only I wouldn’t have been 10 years-old by then 😢

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Javi Gómez Martínez
Javi is a Spanish immigrant currently living in Amsterdam and our social media and blog guy. When he's not working 9 to 5 (what a way to make a living), he spends his days obsessing about music, spending his Discogs salary on attending gigs and festivals, and going to the movies more than any doctor would recommend.
31 Comments
  • Feb 4,2020 at 22:54

    Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus
    Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad
    Both as duets and as a group.

  • Feb 4,2020 at 00:27

    Yo, finnmiller66
    June Carter wrote RING OF FIRE with Merle Kilgore. A great country writer – in addition to RING OF FIRE he also wrote MORE AND MORE, FIVE CARD STUD and many more. He also managed Hank Williams Jr. for many, many years.

    Kilgore Trout was a fictional character in Kurt Vonnegut’s SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE and made appearances in other Vonnegut’s work.

    Just Sayin’….

  • Feb 2,2020 at 18:20

    Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth from Gong

  • Jan 31,2020 at 08:09

    Delaney and Bonnie doing their Soul Shake, underground was in,their music defined an eara.

  • Jan 31,2020 at 01:28

    Polly Samson and David Gilmour

  • Jan 30,2020 at 22:57

    Common & Erykah Badu <3 <3 <3

  • Jan 30,2020 at 21:00

    ABBA = two iconic couples in one band

  • Jan 30,2020 at 14:46

    Ashford & Simpson

  • Jan 30,2020 at 13:24

    Strange article for Discogs to post, it reads like something from a celebrity gossip website.

  • Jan 30,2020 at 12:05

    This is a great list, but I wasn’t expecting Low to be left out. They’re the band that I immediately think of when I think of couples doing music together.

  • Jan 30,2020 at 08:54

    Lisa Gerrard & Brendan Perry – a.k.a. Dead Can Dance
    Jack & Meg White, if siblings count as a couple.

  • Jan 30,2020 at 07:15

    Windy & Carl

  • Jan 30,2020 at 06:32

    Fred Sonic Smith and Patti Smith are sinfully overlooked

  • Jan 29,2020 at 22:10

    I’m missing Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Their love and hate relationship led to the biggest Fleetwood Mac-albums and probably the longest soap opera any band ever had to deal with….

  • Jan 29,2020 at 19:56

    How about Marc Bolan and Gloria Jones. Her music career pre-dated HIS by almost a decade, and he was a rock star of gargantuan proportions the world over (albeit not so much here in The States).

  • Jan 29,2020 at 12:18

    Mark E Smith and Brix Smith and Elena…….

  • Jan 29,2020 at 03:04

    George Jones and Tammy Wynette
    Keith Whitley and Lorrie Morgan
    Les Paul and Mary Ford
    Louis Prima and Keely Smith

  • Jan 29,2020 at 00:24

    Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter, a couple of great inspiration to me!

  • Jan 28,2020 at 21:31

    June Carter wrote Ring of Fire with Kilgore Trout. The song is about her relationship with Cash but was written while they were both married to other people.

  • Jan 28,2020 at 17:55

    Like most lists that rank music artists, it makes me realize how much of the music world I don’t know about.

  • Jan 28,2020 at 17:34

    John and Alice Coltrane
    Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln
    Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Brown
    Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks
    Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn

  • Jan 28,2020 at 11:49

    Amy Farina and Ian Mackaye – The Evens

  • Jan 28,2020 at 11:35

    Paul Simon and Edie Brickell

  • Jan 28,2020 at 08:47

    How about Win Butler and Régine Chassagne?

  • Jan 28,2020 at 01:17

    John Doe and Exene, while it lasted.
    Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña
    Robert and Clara Schumann

  • Jan 28,2020 at 00:51

    Richard and Linda Thompson, Shoot Out The Lights, god, what a great record.

  • Jan 28,2020 at 00:35

    Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz. nuff said

  • Jan 28,2020 at 00:05

    Kate McGarrigle & Loudon Wainwright III certainly made an impact on the American and Canadian folk scenes.Not to mention their procreation created one of the msot famous gay baroque pop singers of all time (which, if one know the family, is no surprise at all)…

    George Jones and Tammy Wynette would fit this list too!

  • Jan 27,2020 at 22:21

    Ike & Tina Turner?

  • Jan 27,2020 at 21:03

    Buddy and Julie Miller?

  • Jan 27,2020 at 20:18

    …Couples always in love…
    Jon Spencer and Cristina Martinez, Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker…

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