The world is fascinated with power couples.
Just pick up the tabloids at the supermarket checkout line for proof. You'll likely see blaring headlines about the latest adventures of Brad and Angelina and/or Ben and Jennifer.
Yet this fascination with "supercouples" is hardly new. It stretches all the way back from Jay-Z and BeyoncÃ© to George and Gracie Burns.
Bay Area fans will get a chance next month to see both halves of the world's pre-eminent power couple -- as BeyoncÃ© performs July 2 at HP Pavilion in San Jose and Jay-Z co-headlines at Candlestick Park in San Francisco with Justin Timberlake on July 26.
In honor of their arrival, we decided to rank the most potent pairings in entertainment history.
Beyonce and Jay-Z
Back story: For a couple that wields so much clout, the courtship has been surprisingly low-key. Speculation is that the two began dating around 2002, although they were discreet about it. They married secretly in 2008 and seem to have been on a honeymoon basically ever since. They gave birth to their first child in 2012.
Why they rank No. 1: He's the long-reigning king of hip-hop, and she just might be the most popular entertainer on the planet. Their combined bank account is the stuff of legend. Their many hit singles and albums, as well as endorsement deals, tours, clothing lines and other endeavors -- not to mention Jay-Z's long list of proteges -- have reportedly made them the music industry's first billionaire couple.
Memorable moment: Their marriage of dance-pop and hip-hop on 2003's "Crazy in Love," the smash single from Beyonce's "Dangerously in Love" album, stands as a career highlight for both husband and wife.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Back story: They fell in love on the set of 2005's "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," a dreadful film that still earned a ton of money. Neither was a stranger to high-profile relationships. Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston, while Jolie was wed to Jonny Lee Miller and then Billy Bob Thornton. Pitt and Jolie have never married, but they have six children -- three biological and three adopted, and wedding rumors seem to surface every other day.
Why they rank No. 2: He's arguably the top hunk of his generation, an increasingly well-regarded actor and box-office gold, having done big business in such films as "Moneyball," "Oceans 11-13" (his latest, "World War Z," opened last week to a critical drubbing). Besides being routinely referred to as one of the world's most beautiful women, Jolie is equally known for her blockbusters ("Lara Croft: Tomb Raider") and critically acclaimed
Magic moment: "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" certainly doesn't qualify, so we'll pick the establishment of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, a charitable organization that aids humanitarian efforts.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
Back story: The woman then known as "The Queen of Bs" for her appearances in many B-movies met the suave bandleader while filming the 1940 musical "Too Many Girls." They soon eloped, spending the next 20 years together before divorcing in 1960.
Why they rank No. 3: They were pure comedic gold on "I Love Lucy," one of the most popular TV shows of all time. The show originally aired from 1951 to 1957, but it managed to grow even more famous through reruns. "Lucy and Ricky," as the couple was known on the program, are still making people laugh to this day -- as "I Love Lucy" reruns annually draw an estimated 40 million viewers in the U.S. alone. The pair also jointly owned and ran the successful Desilu studio.
Magic moment: Their real-life marriage ended in divorce, but on TV, they generated one hilarious and romantic moment after another. We'll always remember the episode where Ricky is supposed to present a loving cup at an award ceremony. Unfortunately, it's really hard to present a cup when it's stuck on Lucy's head. How did it get stuck on Lucy's head? Those kind of things just happened on "I Love Lucy."
Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton
Back story: They met in 2005 at an industry event and began dating soon after. In 2010, Shelton asked for Lambert's hand in marriage -- reportedly after first gaining permission from her father -- and they were wed the following year.
Why they rank No. 4: They are two of the hottest stars in contemporary country music. All eight of Shelton's studio albums have charted in the Top 10, while each of Lambert's four discs have hit No. 1. And both have managed to attract fans outside the genre. Shelton has become a major TV star by appearing on "The Voice." Lambert has found crossover success on the pop charts with such songs as "The House That Built Me."
Magic moment: The couple touched hearts with 2012's "Over You," a powerful song drawn from Shelton's teenage experience of losing his brother in a car accident. They co-wrote the tune, but Lambert was the one to record it -- for her fourth studio album, "Four the Record." "Over You" was a smash hit with fans and won both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music trophies for song of the year.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
Back story: They hit it off while on tour in 1996 and were married just a few months later. The couple now has three children.
Why they rank No. 5: Unlike so many of country music's legends, they remain relevant and extremely popular today. McGraw's stats are unreal; he has sold more than 40 million records and notched nearly 50 Top 40 country singles. He's also made an impact on Hollywood, thanks to such films as "The Blind Side." Hill has released six studio albums, all of which have charted in the Top 10, and crafted such timeless country gems as "This Kiss."
Magic moment: In 2000, McGraw and Hill co-headlined the Soul2Soul Tour, which played to nearly 1 million fans and grossed some $50 million. The vocalists would each perform full-length solo sets during the show, then -- best of all -- join onstage during the encore. The trek was such a smash that the husband-and-wife team would return with Soul2Soul II in 2006.
Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio
Back story: It seemed like something straight out of the movies when the New York Yankees slugger married the Hollywood star in 1954. Yet the marriage wouldn't even last a year.
Why they rank No. 6: It was a star-studded marriage of America's two greatest pastimes -- the movies and baseball -- and a prototype of the modern celebrity romance. Dashing and talented, DiMaggio, a Martinez native, had been arguably the game's biggest star, thanks to such feats as a 56-game hitting streak -- a record that still stands today. She was the ultimate Hollywood icon, who lit up the screen like no other before or since.
Magic moment: Theirs was a troubled relationship. Yet we love that these two celebrities -- who probably could've gotten married anywhere in the world -- chose to wed at San Francisco City Hall.
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner
Back story: Affleck had been in previous glitzy relationships, having made headlines for his time with Gwyneth Paltrow and then Jennifer Lopez ("Bennifer"). Yet it was Bennifer 2.0 -- this time with Jennifer Garner -- that would lead to nuptials in 2005.
Why they rank No. 7: He was one of Hollywood's most popular leading men for years; now he's probably better known as one of the industry's top directors. He directed and starred in 2012's "Argo," which won this year's best picture Oscar. She once ranked as an A-list actress and sex symbol, especially for her fiery work on TV's superb "Alias" series, and has starred in such acclaimed films as 2007's "Juno."
Magic moment: Affleck wound up giving a bunch of acceptance speeches during the past awards season, but none was more touching than the one at the Directors Guild Awards, in which he said, "I have to just thank my wife for being the best person in the world. ... I don't need to look at the teleprompter to know why I want to thank you. I want to thank you because I love you." Other than that, we have high hopes for the next "Daredevil" movie. (Wink wink.)
Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
Back story: The sparks flew once The Man in Black met the pretty young vocalist from the Carter Family, and the pair married in the late '60s. It was the second go-round for Johnny and the third for June.
Why they rank No. 8: Cash is simply one of the most important artists in all of music history. He's been inducted into the Country Music, Rock and Roll and Gospel Music halls of fame, and he influenced countless musicians in numerous genres. His wife hails from one of country music's most fabled clans, the Carter Family, and is considered one of the genre's greatest female vocalists.
Magic moment: The pair had quite a few memorable duets, but the best came early on -- before Johnny and June were even married -- with 1967's "Jackson."
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy
The back story: Their undeniable chemistry wasn't just movie magic. Their off-screen relationship bloomed in the early 1940s and lasted until Tracy died in 1967. They never married, however, since Tracy was estranged, but not legally divorced, from his wife.
Why they rank No. 9: They dominated the film world for decades, both in their own movies and as film co-stars. They first partnered in 1942 for "Woman of the Year" and went on to make eight more films together over the next quarter-century. Any respectable list of the greatest Hollywood stars of all time would include both Hepburn and Tracy.
Magic moment: Hepburn and Tracy square off in the courtroom, as two married lawyers, in the 1949 George Cukor film "Adam's Rib."
George Burns and Gracie Allen
Back story: Burns met Allen, a San Francisco native, in the early 1900s, and the two soon developed a vaudeville act. They wed in 1926 and stayed together until Allen's death in 1964.
Why they rank No. 10: They were the original multimedia stars, taking their comedic husband-and-wife act from vaudeville to film to radio to TV.
Magic moment: "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" charmed households from 1950 to 1958.
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday and Dec. 2 at HP Pavilion, San Jose. Tuesday sold out; Dec. 2 on sale Monday, $45-$250, www.ticketmaster.com
Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake
When: 7:30 p.m. July 26 at Candlestick Park, San Francisco. Tickets, $39.50-$250, at www.ticketmaster.com