“The Playlist” Salutes Those Actors Who Can Sing?!?!
Hollywood is in the midst of their award season as they countdown to the Academy Awards. The world is waiting to see who will bring home the gold, and who might be next to try and moonlight as a singer. We see this a great deal in “La La Land” – become successful, then indulge a passion and see if you can use this success to become a “Pop Star”. Many have failed, but you may be surprised to see who did score with this side gig. Welcome to this week’s version of “The Playlist“.
There seems to be a trend that actors want to be singing stars, and singing stars want to score in Hollywood. The crossover has been more successful for those on the singing side becoming successful actors (Will Smith leads this bunch with 2 Oscar nomination under his belt). Many actors have crashed and burned in their attempts to create good music – William Shatner has made his attempts into one of the longest running jokes in Hollywood. His disaster of a 1968 release The Transformed Man is now considered a Cult Classic – he even recorded with Ben Folds within the last few years Has Been (to decent reviews).
The other “joke” could be David Hasselhoff. From Knight Rider to Baywatch, then try to attempt to have a singing career has seen him release 15 albums without a single hit in the USA, yet the joke here may be on us. “The Hoff” has had two #1 hits in Germany, Sweden and Austria (along with three #1 charting albums in these countries), and was on top of the Berlin wall the night they took it down – he sang his immensly popular “Looking For Freedom”.
We can try to forget Rodney Dangerfield doing his “Rappin’ Rodney” in the 80s, but MTV made that a video hit (so who was laughing here?). Then there is the story of Leif Garrett – from 70s teen idol actor to One-Hit Wonder status in ’79 (“I Was Made For Dancing”) to Celebrity Rehab. Do I need to mention that Steve Martin had a Top-20 hit in ’78 and a million selling song with “King Tut” (well I just did – laughing or embarrassed that you bought it?)
“The Playlist” brings you 20 good examples of talented performers who are actors first, then becoming successful singers. Some of these songs were probably guilty pleasures you care not to admit liking, to the Disney machine that has had an impact in pop music in recent years, to movie performances that became hits in their own right:
Eddie Murphy – Party All The Time (The then King of Comedy worked with Rick James in 1985 and scored his only hit which reached #2. Murphy gets the last laugh by singing in the movie “Dreamgirls” and getting an Oscar nomination for his effort)
Don Johnson – Heartbeat (Yes you watched Miami Vice, you drooled over Crocket so much you made this song a Top-5 hit in 1986. AOL rates this song one of the 100 worst songs in Pop history – Sorry Nash Bridges!)
Huey Lewis / Gwyneth Paltrow – Crusin’ (The movie Duets brought these two together and they did the karaoke to cover this song to #1 in 2000. Paltrow’s recurring role on Glee has led her to the movie Country Strong and a pair of Top-30 country hits, and now she has a Pop album coming out this year – stop this insanity and keep the singing in the family to your Coldplay hubbie!)
Bruce Willis – Respect Yourself (With help from The Pointer Sisters as back-up singers, Bruce was “Moonlighting” his way to a Top-5 hit in 1987, but does he respect himself for this chapter of his career?)
Jennifer Lopez – On The Floor (Acting came first with Money Train and Jack, then her performance in Selena showed some singing talent. By 1999, her debut album On The 6 sold over 7 million copies. The American Idol judge’s comeback happened with this Pitbull produced song that is her 1st Top-10 hit in over 6 years!)
Nia Peeples – Street of Dreams (She was in Fame, she became a cop in Walker Texas Ranger, now a soap star on The Young and The Restless, Nia has her one hit in 1991 – peaking at #12.)
John Travolta / Olivia Newton-John – You’re The One That I Want (Grease is the word even 30+ years later — enough said!)
Patrick Swayze – She’s Like The Wind (Never an Oscar nominee despite Dirty Dancing, Ghost and To Wong Foo on his resume, but he did have a Top-10 hit in 1987. We lost a good man too soon!)
Joaquin Phoenix – I Walk The Line (not technically a hit, but the movie soundtrack which Phoenix sang all the tracks on sold over 2 million copies, and his performance of Johnny Cash was haunting, his singing was dead on, and helped Reese Witherspoon win an Oscar in 2006)
Tracy Ullman – They Don’t Know (Remember The Tracy Ullman Show on FOX? How about Tracy Takes On … thanks to HBO? Well how about her one hit in 1983? A Top-10 smash that had Paul McCartney in the video? Hello? Anyone?)
Vanessa Williams – Dreamin’ (Former Miss America who had photos leaked that Penthouse printed, started with acting with The Pick-Up Artist and Under The Gun, then came her first Top-10 hit around 1989. More known now for her acting – she’s one of the Desperate Housewives!)
Jack Wagner – All I Need (A true Soap Star in a world without many Soap Operas left on TV. His One Hit went to #2 in 1984. Dominick Marone on The Bold and The Beautiful, Wagner is also a competitve golfer and was suppose to marry Heather Locklear, who is sadly falling apart. Save her Jack!)
Miley Cyrus – See You Again (First she was Hanna Montana, then she was her first of 5 Top-10 hits in 2007, and now she’s 19 and over the hill for Disney)
Selena Gomez – Love You Like A Love Song (The Wizards of Waverly Place star now has a hit song you can hear everywhere, and a love life that cannot be ignored. If she truly loves Justin Bieber like a love song, what song would that be?)
Zooey Deschanel – Baby It’s Cold Outside (Don’t sleep on The New Girl. The strength of this song has helped sales of the Elf soundtrack approach 1 million. Successful films, a hit TV show, and she sang the National Anthem in Game 4 of this past World Series)
Milla Jovovich – Gentleman Who Fall (Known mostly for her role in the Resident Evil films, Jovovich was a part of that Lillith Fair wave of Modern Rock in 1994. Her song was a video hit, a hit at Modern Rock, and her one album received 4 stars from Rolling Stone)
Miranda Cosgrove – Kissing You (iCarly rocks! Helped maked this song a Top-20 hit in 2010)
Next week, “The Playlist” will flip this to those singers who act (and only the 20 best will make the cut!)