This past week, actor Jeff Bridges decided to take the ill-advised plunge that far too many of his thespian brothers and sisters have before him: He released a record. Produced by his Crazy Heart buddy T-Bone Burnett, Bridges' self-titled album sold about 13,000 copies its first week, coming in at No. 25 on the Billboard 200. Luckily for him, it was at least met with good reviews but many more before him have not been so fortunate.
Actors. When will they learn?
Here at Rocks Off, we decided to grade these actor turned musicians on a sliding scale from good to tolerable to skin-crawlingly awful. And we had to leave a few out, so feel free to let us know about it.
Zooey Deschanel: Many of us are familiar with Zooey for her unforgiving deadpan to men who want her in films like (500) Days of Summer and Elf, but Zooey is one of the few who both act and sing fairly well. With her warm vocal stylings, she has been crooning for years in jazz cabarets and with M. Ward in indie-pop duo She & Him. Also, she's got an uncanny resemblance to Katy Perry.
Drake: Life has treated Drizzy well for the past couple of years, and he's adopted Houston as his "second home" numerous times. You don't just sample "June 27" and not get loved here. But once upon a time, Aubrey brought the teen drama as wheelchair bound Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi. We're glad he stuck with rhyming, but he is appearing in the next Ice Age film along with Young Money labelmate Nicki Minaj. Hey, at least he could say he took one, on TV anyway.
Ryan Gosling: Is there anything R-Gos can't do? Academy Award nominated-actor. Fight interloper. Dog lover. Ab enthusiast. Musician? Yes, he does that too. He appears with friend Zach Shields and children' choir (awww) with his folksy band Dead Man's Bones. And, much like everything else works at, he's dedicated to the music and it shows. But still, you can tell it's not his first love, which apparently is making dudes jealous.
Jared Leto: Ever brooding, ever eye-makeup, ever Jared Leto. Angsty since '71, Leto won most girls over in the '90s on My So-Called Life, and then sincerely freaked all of us out in Requiem For a Dream and Fight Club, but he also formed his alt-rock project 30 Seconds to Mars in the 90s. His band is very similar to his acting method: very dramatic, very flashy, very eyeliner, but not wholly inoffensive. Congratulations!
Eddie Murphy: Full disclosure: Rocks Off actually likes "Party All the Time." We think it's perfect cheesy, dancey '80s pop and if it were sung by anyone else, it would be remembered in far less infamy. However, Eddie just couldn't let it go. He couldn't leave well enough alone. Eddie was a superstar in the '80s and '90s, there was no reason to think he couldn't conquer music like film, TV and the stage. But whoops, he didn't, at all. Just watch "Whatzupwitu," and you'll cringe. He even sang in Dreamgirls. Just let it go, man.
David Hasselhoff: Now we're getting into really specious territory with the term "actor" here, but we can't take Knight Rider away from the Hoff. But on the musical side of things, he truly is a nightmare. The odd thing is that he went from being bad, to cheekily ironically bad, and then recognizing it and becoming worse. It's as if the emperor realized he had no clothes and then decided to do cartwheels. Leave "Hooked On a Feeling" be, Hoff.
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Joe Pesci: Why is Joe Pesci rapping? Why is this a thing that's happening? To the tune of "Rapture"? The chorus of "It's the bitches/ That'll get cha's" is just too much to bear. Even tongue-in-cheek, it's still mind-boggling. At least this was a one-off album, hopefully never to be repeated.
Paris Hilton: Not quite a singer, not quite an actress, but she certainly elicits a reaction. Whether it's a revolting nausea from audiences or other reactions from her night vision co-stars. The only positive to come out of her abomination of a music career was the Banksy prank CDs that slipped through to stores, which toted songs like "Why Am I Famous?" and "What Have I Done?"
What are some of the actors turned musicians we missed that you love or love to hate?