There is an undeniable art to mash-ups, and it’s a dark art at that. Those that dabble with them are Doctor Frankensteins, and just like that poor soul, they often make monsters rather than works of exquisite beauty. There’s some joke here about the monster mash, but I can’t make it work.
As you will see from the list below, connecting two seemingly uncomplimentary items can lead to eternal fame, or eternal derision. Here are the best and worst mash-ups of all time.
CLIFF RICHARD – THE MILLENNIUM PRAYER
If you’re not familiar with this…I envy you. In December 1999 the world was a fairly optimistic place, excited by the possibilities of a new millennium. Cliff Richard, normally reliable when it comes to a feel good Christmas cheese-ball song, decided to serenade us into the future with one of the worst mash-ups ever recorded in history. It’s entirely possible that Cliff got all too caught up in the whole millennium thing and having watched too much Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey thought he could sing a song bring peace to the entire earth and mark a new harmonious epoch on our planet.
If this was what he was aiming for he should’ve visited me, on New Years Eve 1999, where I was working in a record shop, where the manager insisted we play Cliff’s song on repeat.
That was a tough day to get through.
The Millennium Prayer is truly woeful mash-up devoid of character, charm, appeal or originality. The two elements don’t work together, they sit one on top of the other, like water and oil. It was a vomit-fest, so clichéd and cheesy, it is the nadir of all mash-ups.
This is possibly the GREATEST mash up of all time. Bread-filling-bread. Job done. The mash-up (attributed to, though no doubt pre-dating 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu) is so popular it transformed the western world, and is still so widely enjoyed today that it supports a £2.8billion industry in the UK alone. As such it could be considered the most successful mash-up of all time.
Queen’s complex operatic rock number is a head-banging classic the world over. Disagree? That video above has just short of 100million views. Not bad for a song that was poorly received by critics and even their own record label.
BARCELONA (Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé)
Yes, okay, it’s another Freddie Mercury pick, but you might forget that at the time of release (1988) this song was a very big deal in the music world. Pairing a ‘rock star’ with a trained and respected opera singer caused many to sneer, and both of them put their reputations on the line. (Imagine if this had gone the way of Cliff’s Millennium Prayer?).
Classical and rock were never meant to mix (and even to this day, despite so many similarities, the two worlds rarely come together as well as listeners hope), but in Barcelona, the world was given a perfect mash-up of rock vocal and soaring soprano.
THE FLY / SETH BRUNDLE
Yeah, this mash-up didn’t work out well for all involved did it? A superb, though gory film, but Seth Brundle learned the hard way about mash-ups going bad. As bad as this mash-up went, I’m sure Seth Brundle was glad he hadn’t recorded The Millennium Prayer.
ICE HOCKEY / GOLF
When it comes to mash-ups, the world of sport does it best. The sporting world is unafraid to pair even the most farcical pursuits together. You’ve heard about chess boxing, right? Go on, click the link, it’s real. There’s also mixing DIY with martial arts (The Karate Kid) and Baseketball plus countless others. However, the one that made the biggest impression on me was Happy Gilmore (above). Every time I’ve held a golf club since, I’ve felt an overwhelming urge to take a run up, knowing that it stands to reason that I’d drive the ball further. And it does.