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Singing Actors: A Top Ten List

19 April 2007 by Gnoll 4 Comments

The Top Ten “WTF”-worthy Singing Actors

Sometimes, being a star in one medium isn’t enough. Actors want to direct, or rappers want to act, or box office stars want to be governors. One of the most common crossovers, however, is the tendency for thespians to try their hand at music, and the results are often hilarious.

Now, we all know the stories of Bruce Willis, Eddie Murphy, Don Johnson, and Patrick Swayze. Yes, all of these 80’s stars tried their hand at music, and while the results weren’t exactly on par with Beethoven, they all scored hits. So yeah, we’re not going to talk about the ones that we already know about. David Soul and John Travolta and Jack Wagner and Michael Damian are all pretty funny in this day and age, but most people remember that they all had their time in the musical spotlight, so there’s no point in them making this list. While “The Transformed Man” and “Has Been” were hilarious, William Shatner is pretty well-known for his sonic ventures. Ditto his co-star and best friend, Leonard Nimoy. David “The Hoff” Hasselhoff is huge in Germany, and he also is in on the joke, so not him either. Kevin Bacon and his brother are pretty well-respected, so we’ll omit the Bacon Brothers Band. And Jared Leto seems to be enjoying a career full of mediocrity with his band 30 Seconds to Mars, so we’ll nix them as well.

We’ve also got to rule out the obvious. You know, people who grew up in both music and theater. Therefore, anyone who starred on the Mickey Mouse Club or Kids, Incorporated is disqualified. We’ve also got to rule out the ones whose musical contributions were for musical numbers in films, so out goes Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Kidman. And it goes without saying that those who do music for the intent of comedy should be ruled out, so that drops Adam Sandler, Bill Cosby, Joe Pesci, Joe Piscopo, and Ted Knight.

No, the ones we’re looking at are the most “Whatthefuck?!”-worthy entries we could find. You may or may not have been aware that these Hollywood hotshots had tried their hand in the musical realm, but you’re still probably scratching your head trying to figure out what they were thinking at the time. We’ll even give you a brief low-quality sample for you to decide for yourself.


10. Nichelle Nichols
Apparently not wanting to be outdone by her shipmates Kirk and Spock, Lt. Uhura decided that she too wanted to be a pop star in the late 1960’s, and so in 1968 she released “Out of This World”, a kitschy psychedelic album filled with everything from love ballads to ripping rockers. The highlight, by far, is the synthesizer-driven cover of the Star Trek theme, which apparently had lyrics all this time and we were just never aware of it. It’s albums like this that make me wish that George Takei got into the music thing as well. This was actually re-released on CD in 1995, so it’s not that hard to get a hold of, either.

Click here to download a sample from “Star Trek Theme”


9. Russell Crowe
Kiwi Russell Crowe has managed to muscle his way to three Oscar Nominations and one win, but that just didn’t seem like enough for the angsty actor. He went off and formed a band, gave it the most pretentious name he could think of at the time in 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, and proceeded to become a staple in the Australian pub scene. Of course, most people who hear them think they’re crap, and they’ve had exactly zero chart success, but that didn’t keep Crowe from keeping the gig up for well over a decade. Eventually, he decided “30 Odd Foot of Grunts” wasn’t pretentious enough a name, so he dumped them and formed a new band called “The Ordinary Fear of God”.

Click here to download a sample from “The Night That Davey Hit The Train”


8. Brent Spiner
What is it with Star Trek actors and their sad attempts at musical careers? As we mentioned earler, three members of the original Star Trek series recorded albums some four decades ago, but the man who played Data in The Next Generation series couldn’t resist getting in on the action either. And to play up the connection with his character on the show, he entitled his 1991 album “Ol’ Yellow Eyes Is Back”. The album features his own renditions of 1940’s pop songs, and sometimes he’s even backed by his Trek costars. Thankfully, he doesn’t do it in character.

Click here to download a sample from “It’s a Sin (To Tell a Lie)”


7. Steven Seagal
The strong-but-silent action star of the early 90’s is more than just the man, the myth, and the ponytail. Steven Seagal isn’t just an action movie star; he’s also an environmentalist, an energy-drink entrepreneur, and a personal pal of the Dalai Lama. Oh yeah, and he’s also dipped his foot into music as well, putting out an album in 2006 entitled “Mojo Priest” with his band, (get ready for this) Thunderbox. The album features a handful generic covers of blues standards that really didn’t need yet another cover, but also some original covers with awesome titles such as “Talk to My Ass” and “Alligator Ass”. Somehow, he managed to talk Bo Diddley and Ruth Brown to cameo on the album too, but I guess if you hang with the Dalai Lama, you can probably get some crazy old blues singers without much problem.

Click here to download a sample from “Hootchie Kootchie Man”


6. Tony Danza
Yes, there’s a metal band called The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, and Elton John once sang lyrics that sounded an awful lot like “Hold me closer, Tony Danza”, but the real mccoy couldn’t let them have all the fun. In 2002, the actor and former professional boxer released an album entitled “House I Live In”, chock full of 1940’s standards. Tony’s flat voice and dull delivery went over about as well as his ill-fated talk show, which provided one of the greatest moments in the history of televison when he flipped his go-kart over and landed on his unhelmeted noggin. The truth of the matter, though, is that Danza recorded the same album Brent Spiner did, but without the ironic self-awareness.

Click here to download a sample from “Pennies From Heaven”


5. Scott Baio
The new boy in the neighborhood/ made a record and it wasn’t good. Yes, Scott Baio, star of Joanie Loves Chachi, Charles in Charge, and the teen sex classic Zapped!, adorned many a teenaged girl’s bedroom walls in the early 1980’s, but he also managed to bring a song into their hearts as well. In 1982, he released his eponymous debut album, and actually came close to having a hit with “What Was in That Kiss”. However, no chart success was to be had, and his second album, “The Boys Are Out Tonight”, also flopped miserably. Shortly thereafter, his acting career fizzled as well, until his triumphant return as Bob Loblaw on Arrested Development. At least he and good friend Willie “Bibleman” Aames always have those Swedish stewardesses to fall back on.

Click here to download a sample from “What Was in That Kiss”


4. Corey Feldman
Perennial MCFTR punching bag Corey Feldman deserves a special spot on this list, because this writer actually got a chance to see him perform live and in person roughly five years ago. He also deserves a mention for actually releasing multiple albums, an accomplishment nobody else on this list can claim other than Baio. His first album, “Still Searching for Soul”, was released along with his band Truth Movement in 1999, and features such uplifiting song titles as “Hopeless”, “De-Pressed”, and “Spiraling Downward Part 1”, as well as the meta-question “Is This Cool?”. In 2002, Corey proved he had no mercy and continued the hurting when his follow-up “Former Child Actor” (and the accompanying Former Child Ac-tour) dropped. At least he popped in an uplifting Christmas number on this one in “Jingle Bell Rock”.

Click here to download a sample from “Hopeless”


3. Chris Burke
Because of the name of our web site, we are legally obligated to rank this album fairly high on this list. But even if we hadn’t chosen that name, we’d still probably have it that high merely for the fact that there’s a song entitled “Eating is Fun, Eating is Serious” on it. Teamed with two Christoper Lowell-lookalike brothers named Joe and John Demasi, Burke moved from Life Goes On to covering that show’s theme (The Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”) as well as performing several original joints. When I first discovered this album several years ago, I was attracted to it assuming it would be similar to the Kids of Widney High, but it turns out it’s not nearly that cool. It’s actually supposed to be a children’s album, but I think it’s actually communist propaganda. I can’t imagine that any child would really ever want to listen to this crap to begin with anyway.

Click here to download a sample from “Eating is Fun, Eating is Serious”


2. Crispin Glover
You know that anything Crispin Hellion Glover touches is going to turn to weird. The guy who tried to kick David Letterman in the head and who Robert Zemeckis refused to ever work with again put out an album in 1989 with quite possibly the most pretentious titles of all time: “Big Problem Does Not Equal the Solution. The Solution = Let It Be”. I’m dead serious. On that same album, not only does he sing his original masterpieces with titles as awesome as “Clowny Clown Clown” and “Auto-Manipulator” (I think it’s the hyphen that does it) , but he also creepily reads selections from his books “Rat Catching” and “Oak Mot”. But the album’s highlight, much like his cover of Michael Jackson’s “Ben” for the film Willard, is his mindblowing romp through Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking”. Highly recommended for accompaniment with hallucinogenic drugs.

Click here to download a sample from “These Boots Are Made For Walking”


1. David Faustino
Ah, David Faustino. Not only he stop growing at age 11, he also managed to make Cosby sweaters and mullets look cool together for about five minutes in 1990. You may remember that the character of Budrick “Bud” Bundy from Married With Children had a hip-hoppin’ alter ego named Grandmaster B, but what you may not have known was that it wasn’t just part of the act. That’s right — David Faustino was the shortest rapper outside of Bushwick Bill to ever drop an album, and he did so under his actual rap name, “D L’il”. In 1992, he released a track on an album entitled “Balistyx”, named after a night club that he owns. The track, called “I Told Ya”, tries hard to establish some sort of street cred for Bud, but all it really does is become yet another punchline in an already hilarious excuse for a career. With lines like “I got more flavor than the bar candy Kit Kat, and when it comes to Kitty Kats I gotta wear a jimmy hat”, he truly cements himself at the top of this list.

Click here to download a sample from “I Told Ya”

4 Comments »

  • Baldy said:

    Time to add John C. Reilly to the list. I got a copy of a double CD called Rogue’s Gallery for my birthday, and Reilly does covers of a couple of old sea chantys on there (including one really cool version of My Son John). Along with his brilliant performance of “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago, I think he ought to get an honorable mention.

    And then there was Marky Mark. And Mick Jagger. And Joss Stone. And David Bowie. And let’s not forget David Hasselhoff (DU!).

  • Clay said:

    I feel I should say something in Brent Spiner’s defense. The genre of music he sings probably doesn’t appeal to a wide range of people, but he does execute it very well. I feel like some of the other people made it onto the list because their album is terrible, even by the standards of the people who like that particular type of music.

  • Patrick said:

    Is it just me, or does the Scott Baio album cover look a little like the cover of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (the pose and all). What’s scary is that it was released a year before Thriller was…

  • Dan said:

    “Baldy”, are you serious? You want David Bowie, an amazing and accomplished musician, to be on a list of musical hacks? David Bowie is a genius, and if anything, he should be on a top ten of lists of musicians of the past 50 years.

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