‘What is love?’ asked Haddaway on his 1993 dance hit. It’s a question that’s as old as time itself. But seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d celebrate those couples who’ve literally made sweet, sweet music together…
SCOTT IAN & PEARL ADAY – MOTOR SISTER
Anthrax rhythm king Scott met Meat Loaf’s daughter Pearl (named after the Janis Joplin LP) when she was singing back-up with Mötley Crüe in 2000. Scott played guitar on Pearl’s Joplin-esque solo debut Little Immaculate White Fox, which also featured ex-members of cult LA rock trio Mother Superior. In tribute to this latter group, the couple recently formed their first full band collaboration: Motor Sister, recording a debut of Mother Superior covers in two days.
JOHNNY CASH & JUNE CARTER CASH
Johnny had been singing with June for several years before popping the question during a live concert in 1968. They remained happily married until June’s death in 2003 (Johnny himself died four months later), recording a string of duets, including an album in 1973 with the spectacular title, Johnny Cash And His Woman. Johnny’s romantic 1994 birthday missive to June has just been voted ‘Greatest Love Letter of All Time’ in an online poll. ‘I realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me…’ wrote Cash. No, you’re crying.
THURSTON MOORE & KIM GORDON – SONIC YOUTH
The original golden couple of grunge met in New York City in 1981, starting a relationship and Sonic Youth in quick succession; both band and marriage came to an end in 2013. “I loved playing music,” Kim writes in her autobiography Girl In A Band, due out later this month. “What could be better than sharing that feeling of transcendence with a man I was so close to in all other areas of my life?”
SONNY & CHER
Cherilyn Sarkisian and Salvatore Bono supposedly tied the knot in 1964, although the ceremony wasn’t technically official; they tried again five years later. Their easy-listening harmony duets began soon after, followed by Vegas residencies and TV variety spectaculars capitalising on their lighthearted odd-couple interplay. They even scored a guest appearance on Scooby Doo before divorcing in 1975 – bad timing for Mego Toys, who released a range of Sonny & Cher dolls a year later.
JACK & MEG WHITE – THE WHITE STRIPES
Like Sonny and Cher, Jack met Meg in the restaurant where she worked. They married in 1996 (Jack took Meg’s surname), forming The White Stripes after Meg started experimentally drumming along to Jack’s riffs. “It felt liberating and refreshing,” said Jack of the revelatory jam. “There was something in it that opened me up.” They divorced in 2000, before their band’s global breakthrough, whereafter the two-piece peculiarly preferred to present themselves as brother and sister.
JOHN LENNON & YOKO ONO
Poor old Yoko was reviled for decades as ‘the woman who broke up the Beatles’. However chequered her relationship with John from 1968 until he was murdered by her side in 1980, there’s no doubting the strength of their mutual love. ”There’s nothing more important than our relationship,” he declared in 1970. There’s some doubting the strength of their uneven musical output, mind, especially their tossed-off debut collaboration, the loopy tackle-out snoozefest Two Virgins.
JOHN & CHRISTINE MCVIE – FLEETWOOD MAC
Christine admits she was more interested in Peter Green when she met John at a Fleetwood Mac concert in 1968, but she married the bassist after a two-week whirlwind romance. After Green left the band John invited her to join, but after a few years, the strain was evident: “I was seeing more Hyde than Jekyll,” Christine later commented of her husband’s substance abuse. They divorced in 1976, recording 1977’s stratospheric Rumours on non-speaking terms.
PAUL & LINDA MCCARTNEY – WINGS
Our Macca broke millions of hearts worldwide – almost certainly including your mum’s – when he plumped for American photographer Linda in 1969. Like Yoko, Linda weathered a lot of sexist stick over the years, although she later conceded that her backing vocals on early Wings material weren’t completely in tune.
LUX INTERIOR & POISON IVY – THE CRAMPS
Erick Purkhiser and Kristy Wallis were both art students at Sacramento in 1972 when he picked her up hitch-hiking. “I felt like I’d known him all my life,” she told The Guardian in 1998; “I had a hard-on about three seconds after I saw her,” was his romantic recollection of the meeting. Together they formed pioneering schlock-horror psychobilly troupe The Cramps, relocated to New York City and remained soulmates until Lux’s unexpected death in 2009.
PAT BENATAR & NEIL GIRALDO
Putting together her solo band in 1979, Pat was auditioning guitarists – not future husbands – when Neil Giraldo arrived and plugged in more than just his six-string. “I thought, ‘Girl, you have just seen the father of your children’,” she recalled in her brilliantly-titled 2010 autobiography Between A Heart And A Rock Place. The couple married in 1982, had two daughters, and Neil has been Pat’s guitarist, composer, producer and inseparable soulmate ever since.
JUS OBORN & LIZ BUCKINGHAM – ELECTRIC WIZARD
Many fans of Electric Wizard’s three-piece ‘Mark 1’ line-up – all shambolic onstage fights and abrasive caveman chemistry – were confused and perturbed when frontman Jus reshaped the band around a new second guitarist: his wife Liz. But twelve years on, Liz is an indispensable element of the band’s sound and aesthetic, and fears that inter-band marriage would soften the Wizard’s drug-sodden misanthropy proved unfounded – if anything they sound more pissed off. That’s love.
ANDREW FALKOUS & JULIA RUZICKA – FUTURE OF THE LEFT
Julia, bassist and founder of fearsome punks Million Dead, joined Wales-based Geordie curmudgeon Falkous in Future Of The Left in 2010. They married three years later, around the time of FOTL’s wryly-titled EP Love Songs For Our Husbands. “Marriage doesn’t have to be a trap,” Falkous told Outline Online, explaining the marital perspective of the lyrics to French Lessons. “It’s a coupling of the people that you were, with a new link to each other.”
TAIRRIE B & MICK MURPHY – MY RUIN
When rapper-turned-screamer Tairrie B formed My Ruin, she resolved that it was 100% her solo project “It’s all down to me now,” she said in 1999. A year later, however, she met axeman Mick Murphy at a Hollywood party; he joined the band, they fell in love and wrote the next seven albums together (“It was a crazy, exciting, lifechanging kinda time,” he told metalunderground.com). They married in 2008, so she’s technically Tairrie M.
MICHAEL TRENT & CARY ANN HEARTS – SHOVELS & ROPE
This winsome country-punk Americana duo crossed paths for years on the South Carolina bar circuit in various bands and solo endeavours before releasing a collaboration, Shovels & Rope, in 2008. “I’d bring over a case of Bud Light and we’d make little rudimentary recordings in the living room,” Trent told Huffington Post. “That’s how we flirted with each other,” added Hearst. It worked; they married in 2009, forming their first fully-fledged band a year later.