Martina McBride is a bona fide country music legend. Over the course of her decades-long career, the Kansas native has sold over 14 million records and charted five No. 1 singles. Today, her career-defining songs like "Independence Day" and "Wild Angels" are considered classics.
Throughout the years, McBride has consistently recored superb duets with fellow musicians across genres. Whether she's working with fellow country superstars Alan Jackson and George Strait or rock veterans like Don Henley and Bob Seger, McBride is always firmly in her element.
McBride has forged many close ties with fellow musicians, even since the earliest days of her career. During the late 1980s, her husband began working for Garth Brooks' tour crew. Brooks made the then-undiscovered McBride a promise that if she got a record deal, she could open for him. In 1991, she signed with RCA Nashville and Brooks kept his word.
Four years later, McBride had her first No. 1 hit with "Wild Angels." Some of her earliest collaborations were 90s ballads, featuring the talents of Clint Black and pianist Jim Brickman. Since then, McBride has earned 14 Grammy nominations, won 22 Academy of Country Music Awards and continued to release even more incredible duets.
Let's take a look at the country superstar's 10 most memorable collaborations yet.
This working-class rocker from John Mellencamp's 2017 album Sad Clowns & Hillbillies brings us to a gritty landscape where Mellencamp's snarl and former Guns N' Roses member Izzy Stradlin's guitars perfectly match the world the song depicts. When McBride enters the song to deliver the bridge, her soprano vocals drip with blues-rock swagger. Her feature may be short, but its inclusion is what really makes the song.
"That Old Flame"with Don Henley
In 2015, Don Henley enlisted a star-studded list of collaborators for his country album, Cass Country. Dolly Parton, Mick Jagger, Miranda Lambert and McBride were among the impressive list of guest artists featured on the celebrated project. The pair toy with the idea of reconnecting on the track "That Old Flame." Their richly-blended voices and powerful delivery are enough to make you believe that the singers really do have a history.
"Bring It on Home"with Gavin DeGraw
For her twelfth studio album Everlasting, McBride opted to only cover classic soul and R&B songs. One of the most memorable tracks on the Don Was-produced album is her cover of the Sam Cooke classic "Bring It on Home," which features the talents of singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw. "Bring It on Home" to me is one of those iconic songs that's been covered innumerable times, but McBride and DeGraw manage to bring something fresh and unique to their rendition.
"Feels Like Home"with Raul Malo
Written by Randy Newman, "Feels Like Home" has been recorded by some of the best female vocalists in history, including Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt and Judy Collins. In 2006, McBride claimed her spot on this list by releasing her own interpretation of the track with The Mavericks frontman Raul Malo for his 2006 solo album, You're Only Lonely.
"Still Holding On"with Clint Black
In 1997, McBride joined forces with Clint Black for the stellar power ballad, "Still Holding On." The lyrics themselves are deeply emotional, with lines like, "But I'll go on with my life / We can even say goodbye for now if / If that's what we have to do / But here in my heart / Even when my arms are empty darling / I'm still holding on to you." But it's the pair's superb individual vocal performances that make the words drip with heartache.
"Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man"with Alan Jackson
McBride is one of many artists who took part in the 2010 project Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn. She paired up with Alan Jackson to channel Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn for a jaunty rendition of their 1973 No. 1 hit "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man."
"Trip Around the Sun"with Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffett's 2004 album License to Chill was the first one of his albums to ever go to No. 1 on the country charts. McBride is featured on the record's second single, "Trip Around the Sun," which peaked at No. 20 on Billboard's Hot County Charts. The track is a poignant reflection on time and what we do with it. Buffett's laid-back charm and McBride's soft soprano leave listeners with a sense of calm and ease.
"Jackson"with George Strait
On his 2014 live album, The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium, George Strait sings some of his most beloved hits and country standards with the help of his famous friends. McBride teamed up with the so-called "King of Country" for the country classic "Jackson," assuming the role of June Carter Cash. The pair offer up a lively and fun take on the song that's sure to bring joy to any country music fan.
"Valentine"with Jim Brickman
McBride soars on the 1997 hit "Valentine," and Jim Brickman's piano accompaniment acts as the musical wind beneath her wings. Composed and co-written by Brickman, "Valentine" remains one of the songs that best displays the full extent of McBride's incredible vocal capabilities.
"Chances Are"with Bob Seger
One of the greatest movie soundtracks of all time is that of the 1998 film Hope Floats, which gave us Garth Brooks' rendition of the Bob Dylan classic "To Make You Feel My Love." It also featured the cult favorite "Chances Are," featuring McBride and Bob Seger.
While some may see it as an unlikely pairing, the duo's combined talents arguably resulted in one of the greatest power ballads of all time.