Ed Sheeran may be one of the biggest music artists in the world, but he isn’t afraid to share his talent. Ed is constantly collaborating with other artists – small-time British rappers and global superstars alike. He’s just here for the music, guys.
To celebrate Ed’s upcoming 25th birthday on February 17th, we’ve collected thirteen of his best collaborative recordings and performances.
13. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart with Elton John
Last year Ed Sheeran reached the greatest milestone in his career so far, selling out three dates at London’s 90,000 capacity Wembley Stadium. In the documentary Jumpers for Goalposts Ed’s manager revealed that he is the first solo artist ever to play Wembley Stadium without a band. What an achievement.
For each of the three shows, Ed was joined on stage by a different artist; Rudimental, Example, OneRepublic, Foy Vance and Passenger all had support slots. But the most memorable appearance came from Elton John who performed his classic ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ with a very very happy Ed Sheeran.
12. The A Team with Elton John
Wembley wasn’t the first time Ed had the opportunity to perform with his idol. The 2013 Grammys saw Ed Sheeran and Elton John perform a piano and guitar version of The A Team. Over the past few years Elton John has become something of a mentor to Ed Sheeran, saying in Jumpers for Goalposts that “it’s just a wonderful thing to have someone to pass the torch to.”
11. Lay It All On Me with Rudimental
By the end of 2015 Ed had finished releasing his own music from X, but he still had time to release a couple of tracks where he was the feature for another artist. One of those was Rudimental’s amazing ‘Lay It All On Me’. This is one of those songs that you can listen to anywhere: on the bus, at the gym, at a party, whatever. It’s fab. Look out for Ed’s sneaky appearance in the video too.
10. Growing Up with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Another of last year’s well-loved Ed collabs was the heartfelt ‘Growing Up’ with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, a song dedicated to Macklemore’s new daughter, Sloane. ‘Growing Up’ combines Macklemore’s poetic rap with Ed’s vocals on the chorus, and it is the perfect mix.
9. Bloodstream with Rudimental
Possibly one of the most underrated singles from X, Rudimental spiced up Ed Sheeran’s originally solo ‘Bloodstream’ with an awesome remix. The music video doesn’t feature Ed or Rudimental but tells the story of a washed-up rockstar who rides a horse inside a mansion. Yeah.
8. Play It Loud with Giggs
Ed Sheeran doesn’t just collaborate with chart-topping artists. He’s also recorded songs with lesser known rappers such as Giggs, whom Ed sings the chorus for on track ‘Play It Loud’. Fans first heard bits of this song in one of Ed’s 2012/3 tour diaries which showed him and Giggs in the recording studio. This song was barely publicised or promoted by Ed. He’s not in it for the fame or the money. He’s just helping out a mate with a song.
7. Watchtower with Devlin
Devlin is another British rapper that Ed has provided an epic chorus for, this time for his re-vamp of the old classic ‘All Along The Watchtower’. This song has been covered soooo many times; it was first released by Bob Dylan and then Jimi Hendrix. And now it’s been done by Ed Sheeran, obviously. Ed even tries a spot of acting in this video, where he serves as Devlin’s getaway driver and may or may not have a nasty ending.
6. No.5 Collaborations Project
If you want to see Ed Sheeran collaborating with a bunch of other rappers, check out the No.5 Collaborations Project. The clue is in the title, guys. Way back in 2011 Ed released an EP of eight songs, including ‘Little Lady’ with Mikill Pane, the sombre extended story of The A Team that uses the same chorus. Other collaborators on the grime EP include Devlin, Jme and Wretch 32. And you thought Ed was just an acoustic singer-songwriter. We’ve linked a playlist of all eight tracks above, y’all.
5. Little Things with One Direction
Okay, so this isn’t an official collab but we couldn’t help ourselves. It’s a well-known fact that Ed Sheeran penned One Direction’s hit single ‘Little Things’ and here he is performing it with the boys. Skip to two minutes in and you’ll see Ed join 1D on stage to share Harry’s mic. It’s a match made in heaven.
4. Ed and Beyonce’s Stevie Wonder Tribute
Just when you thought Ed Sheeran had done it all, he only goes and performs with Beyonce. Ed, Queen B and Gary Clark Jr all got together to play a bunch of Stevie Wonder’s hits in a tribute show for the star. Beyonce introduced Ed, “I want y’all to scream loud and proud for Ed Sheeran,” before they performed a wonderful rendition of ‘Master Blaster (Jammin’)’ together. You’ll be hitting that replay button. This stuff is contagious.
3. Drunk in Love with Beyonce
Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran have become quite the iconic duo. Bet you didn’t see that one coming. The pair collaborated once again at the Global Citizen Festival in 2015 with an acoustic performance of Bey’s hugely successful ‘Drunk In Love’. Although their vocals match perfectly, their on-stage aesthetic kinda doesn’t. Maybe Ed didn’t get the sparkly leotard memo. We still LOVE this performance, though.
2. Everything Has Changed with Taylor Swift
As the two greatest singer-songwriters of their generation, it was only a matter of time before Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift recorded a song together. The beautiful duet ‘Everything Has Changed’ appears on Taylor’s fourth album Red. Ed even has a tattoo dedicated to the album. He subsequently supported Taylor on her Red tour of the US, where their friendship blossomed. And no, those romance rumours aren’t true. The music video is super cute though, and features fetus Ed and Taylor who then turn out to be real Ed and Taylor’s kids. Weird.
1. The Nando’s Skank
Of course, Ed Sheeran’s most famous collaboration is the one and only ‘Nando’s Skank’ with Example. A reaaallly young Ed was supporting Example on tour way back in 2011, they did a bit of improv in a backyard, and the result was pure comedy gold. Honestly, this song is iconic. It’s single-handedly responsible for Nando’s’ international success to this very day – probably. This video proves that you don’t need the arena stages and the fancy speakers; all you need is Ed Sheeran and an acoustic guitar.
What did you think of those vids then? Do you have a favourite of Ed’s collaborations? Be sure to tweet us at @CelebMix and wish Ed a happy birthday while you’re at it. (Even though he’s on a Twitter break but still.)