An Incomplete History of Duos Who Can't Keep Their Hands to Themselves

From Sonny & Cher to the White Stripes.

November 1962 Sixteen-year-old Cherilyn Sarkisian meets Salvatore Bono, and throughout the '60s, Sonny & Cher record five studio albums before their messy divorce in 1975. Cher goes on to win an Oscar and become a drag-queen icon. Bono becomes a congressman and dies in a tragic skiing accident.

"I only knew 'I Got You Babe' because of Beavis & Butt-head when I was a teenager," says Matt Johnson of the Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim. "But my take is, I hope Kim doesn't start a just-Kim career."

May 1969 The Beatles release "The Ballad of John and Yoko," which chronicles the adventures—bed-ins and bagism—of Lennon and his soon-to-be wife, Yoko Ono. The couple begins recording as the Plastic Ono Band later that year. And after Lennon's death in 1980, there's that Rolling Stone cover.

"That was a great couple," says Johnson. "There's that 'Oh Yoko!' song that I love. But Kim & I have never written a love song, or a song towards each other."

July 1976 "Proud Mary" diva Tina Turner famously runs away from Ike Turner carrying nothing but 36 cents and a gas-station credit card, following that with a river-deep, mountain-high pile of drug-abuse and violence accusations against her husband.

"Obviously that one had some problems," says Johnson. "[Kim and I] knew, even before we played music together, that we worked well on things together. We worked on other things. She did my homework. We did art installations, we did silk-screening projects, and we just knew we worked well together."

October 2002 "'03 Bonnie and Clyde" becomes Jay-Z and Beyoncé's first shared single; it's followed by several more white-hot and hugely successful tracks ("Crazy in Love," "Déjà Vu"), culminating in 2008 with the couple's ultimate collaboration—marriage.

"For Kim's birthday, we went and saw Beyoncé, and for my birthday we went and saw Jay-Z. We are for sure fans," says Johnson. "Jay-Z and Beyoncé, while they collaborate on some music, they still keep their personal life pretty personal. Kim and I still get asked if we are together, because we don't make it the forefront of what we do. We want to be a band more than a couple-band."

August 2006 In an interview with Rolling Stone, Jack White finally comes clean about the secret of his and bandmate Meg White's relationship—yes, they're exes, not siblings. In the end, nobody cares what they are, as long as they keep making such killer records.

September 28, 2010 Matt & Kim hit the Showbox in support of their third record, the exuberant Sidewalks. "It's incredible how much time Kim & I spend together, which is every waking second of every day, and we don't kill each other," says Johnson. "There's some sort of magic involved."

ethompson@seattleweekly.com

 
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