Acting Like Musicians
Celebs love to rock, but they shouldn’t give up their day jobs.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: July 20th, 2012
eing in a rock and roll band has got to be the greatest thing in the world, and not because of the money or the drugs or the fame or the groupies. Why do we think this? Because what else would explain why so many celebrities—who presumably already have more than their share of money, drugs, fame, and groupies—try to have music careers.
For most celebrities, their forays into the world of pop music are obscure failures at best, and embarrassing atrocities at worst.
Sometimes it’s a simple case of a celeb—or their management—trying to cash in on their fame by creating as many disparate products as possible: it’s doubtful that Cassius Clay fancied himself a serious singer, but that didn’t stop the boxer from releasing a single for CBS Records in 1964 (“Stand By Me” b/w “I Am the Greatest”). But often it comes down to vanity, and the desire of people who work in front of the camera to do something in front of an audience. And not even being a movie star can compare with the coolness factor of being on the rock and roll stage.
For most celebrities, their forays into the world of pop music are obscure failures at best, and embarrassing atrocities at worst. There’s a good chance you didn’t know that model/actress Milla Jovovich has released records, and that’s probably for the best. But the damage done to Eddie Murphy’s career trajectory by the release of “Party All The Time” will never be undone.
There are exceptions, however. The Blues Brothers may have seemed like a novelty band, but John Belushi took it quite seriously, and their album was a huge success even before the Blues Brothers movie was made. Jamie Foxx has a Grammy and several chart-topping albums to his name. House star Hugh Laurie released an album of blues music last year that not only made it to #16 on the Billboard charts and went to #1 in many European countries, but it inexplicably received some positive reviews.
Strangest of all, however, is the fact that Knight Rider star David Hasselhoff has sold millions of records, mostly in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. No one is quite sure why his music is so popular in parts of Europe, but over there he’s no novelty act; he’s released more than a dozen albums, many of which have climbed to the upper reaches of the charts.
But Hasselhoff’s career has been a joke; it’s one he seems to be in on. Some stars, on the other hand, take their forays into the rock world a bit too seriously. Actor/director Billy Bob Thornton had a famous hissy fit on CBC radio when an interviewer dared to mention his acting work when he only wanted to talk about his music.
But the one thing that all celebrity music shares in common, more often than no, is that it stinks. Hipsters may love the cute-beyond-words Zooey Deschanel’s records with indie-folkster M. Ward, but Zooey’s singing leaves a lot to be desired, and there’s little doubt that were she not famous for her acting and her looks, no one would ever listen to her sing. And such is the case with almost all celeb music. Celebrities are able to get further with their music than ordinary musicians because of their fame, their wealth, and their influence, whereas legitimate musicians have to get by on their talent.
That’s not to say that it’s impossible for celebrities to make good music. It’s just that, with the possible exceptions of people like Steve Martin and Woody Allen who avoid rock and don’t sing, they probably haven’t been born yet.
See below for a far-from-complete list of celebrities who have attempted music careers.
Kevin Bacon (with his band the Bacon Brothers)
Toni Collette (with her band Toni Collette & the Finish)
Russell Crowe (with his band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts)
Paul Dano (with his band Mook)
Johnny Depp (with his band P)
Robert Downey Jr.
Corey Feldman (with his band Corey Feldman's Truth Movement)
Doug Flutie (with his band the Flutie Brothers Band)
Ryan Gosling (with his band Dead Man's Bones)
Adrien Grenier (with his band Honey Brothers)
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Chris Jericho (with his band Fozzy)
Jared Leto (with his band 30 Seconds To Mars)
Juliette Lewis (with her band Juliette & The Licks)
Dennis Quaid (with his band The Sharks)
Keanu Reeves (with his band Dogstar)
Jason Schwartzman (with his band Phantom Planet, and soon, as a solo artist)
Steven Segal (with his band Thunderbox)
Gary Sinese (with his band the Lt. Dan Band)
Michael Cera (with his band Mister Heavenly)
Tina Yothers (with her band Jaded)