Musical couples sing in perfect harmony

October 4, 2017 GMT

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are both a rarity and a touchstone in popular music - a married couple that has stayed together.

The pair of country singers wed in 1996 and has, forgive the cliché, made beautiful music together on and offstage. They’ve remained relatively scandal-free (at least as a duo) and recorded together some of their strongest material, while still having viable solo careers.

McGraw’s and Hill’s third joint Soul2Soul tour stops Friday at Toyota Center, a venue they played together in 2000 and 2006.

A trio of early singles - “It’s Your Love,” “Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me,” “Let’s Make Love” - established their music chemistry. And assured us, over and over again, how they felt about each other. But McGraw and Hill are most interesting together when they channel conflict and heartbreak.

The 2005 single “Like We Never Loved at All” is among their best, a soap opera of regret and remorse that recalls George Jones and Tammy Wynette. This year’s “Speak to a Girl,” a credo about respecting women, previews an upcoming duets album.

While their shared love has set a standard for how to balance music and romance in contemporary country music, McGraw and Hill are hardly the first, or last, country music power couple. It’s a tradition that goes back almost to the start of the genre - and doesn’t appear to ending any time soon.

With that, here’s a look at country music’s most prominent couples not named Faith and Tim:

George Jones and Tammy Wynette

The gold standard. Jones and Wynette were married from 1969-75. Their relationship was often tumultuous. But their music showcased a chemistry that few have since replicated. It was sweet and tart all at once. Classic songs like “We’re Gonna Hold On,” ”(We’re Not) The Jet Set” and “Golden Ring” still resonate today. But the pair’s final album together, 1995′s “One,” was perhaps their sweetest and showcased a love story that, despite so much strife, lasted a lifetime.

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash

There will likely never be a love story that rings as true as this one. They brought out the good in each other. They wrote each other love letters. And they exemplified unconditional love. The Cash couple recorded several songs together, including “Jackson” and “If I Were a Carpenter.” But the song that best exemplified their relationship, “Ring of Fire,” wasn’t even a duet. Carter Cash is said to have wrote the song to describe her growing relationship with her future husband.

Their love story was further immortalized in the earlier 2000s, when they died months apart in 2003 and then were the subjects of the film “Walk the Line” in 2005.

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood

The power couple has recorded together a few times, including duets “In Another’s Eyes,” “Where Your Road Leads” and a 2016 Christmas album. They were married in 2005 and became a talking point when each performer stepped back from touring and recording to raise their children. They’ve since returned to the road, and studio, and Yearwood frequently joins her husband onstage - they performed together during an eight-show stint in 2015 at Toyota Center. So, don’t be surprised if Yearwood joins Brooks during his 2018 RodeoHouston dates.

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert

Shelton and Lambert initially seemed like a good match when they were married in 2011. But they divorced in 2015 and have rarely discussed why in detail. (A look at their post-divorce albums, however, provide lots of insight.) While they were together, the pair often shared a stage, appeared on “The Voice” and recorded a few duets, most notably a version of Michael Bublé’s “Home.”

Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black

Black and Hartman Black are both from Houston, so it seems inevitable they would cross paths. They were married in 1991 in Katy and have worked together on various occasions. Their 1999 duet “When I Said I Do” topped the country charts and became a wedding anthem. It was followed by 2001′s “Easy for Me to Say” and last year’s “You Still Get to Me.” The couple also starred together in the 1998 TV movie “Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack.”

Joey and Rory Feek

Joey and Rory Feek were finalists on the CMT reality competition “Can You Duet.” They never scored a top 20 country hit. But their love story eventually went far beyond TV talent shows and charts. Joey Feek was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014 and died in 2016. The couple chronicled their journey, often quite candidly, via blogs, videos and interviews.

Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook of Little Big Town

The Little Big Town couple was married in 2006 and has a 7-year-old son. But they’ve mostly keep things quiet and drama-free, instead focusing on the quartet’s career. The band scored a monster crossover hit with 2014′s “Girl Crush” and has since moved in a more pop direction.

Amy Grant and Vince Gill

Previously squeaky clean Christian pop singer Grant and country music star Gill caused a scandal when it was revealed they divorced other people and eventually were together. They were married in 2000 and have regularly crossed over into each other’s careers. The pair’s first collaboration, “House of Love,” in 1994, happened well before they became romantically involved.