Whether it’s their massive ego or yes men that make it possible, lots of actors believe they’re good musicians. While some manage to be decent, maybe even good, others are bland, boring, and just plain awful. The laughable musical efforts of Hilary Duff and Lindsey Lohan have been well documented. It’s time to take a look at the actors you forgot tested their singing chops.
15. Bruce Willis
So most people are aware of Willis’ short lived music career that started in the 80s, but it’s just too ridiculous not to include. It’s hard to picture action movie star, the man who would go one to play John McClane in the Die Hard series, wiggling his hips and singing the blues. Willis released his debut, The Return of Bruno, in 1987 and it did moderately well thanks to his cover of The Staple Sisters hit “Respect Yourself.” Honestly, the song isn’t that great. His sound and singing style is pretty generic. The best thing about it is June Pointer’s inclusion on the track. Maybe people found Willis’ singing a novelty and thought it was funny. Whatever it was, it inspired him to release two more albums before focusing on solely on movies. Let’s hope he’s not planning a musical comeback anytime soon.
14. Jasmine Guy
Jasmine Guy was known for her role as Whitney Gilbert in the show A Different World in the late 80s. Since the show was successful, she decided to release an album around the same time. Surprisingly, she’s not a terrible singer. She’s not what I would call good or talented, but she can actually hold a note. Her album did pretty well and she even had three singles chart on Billboard, including “Try Me,” which has a “Vogue” inspired video. A follow up album was in the works, but plans for that fell through when her three year contract with Warner Bros ended. At least her singing sounds better than Whitney’s grating voice.
13. Cree Summer
Though she’s best known as the voice behind Susie Carmichael and Elmyra Duff, Summer has dabbled in music a couple times throughout her career. In the early 90s, she provided vocals on Jasmine Guy’s solo album and in 1993 she released an album with her band Subject to Change. The record wasn’t officially released by Capitol Records making the few promo copies a rarity. In 1999, her debut solo LP Street Fareie came out and it’s pretty good. Summer obviously has singing talent, but if you’re familiar with her voice over work, you can’t help but think of characters like Susie while she’s singing. It seems her music career never took off and she’s focused on voice acting since then.
12. Joey Lawrence
Sometimes all you need to launch a singing career is a successful show, great hair, and toned abs. That’s the only way Lawrence’s dabble in music makes sense. His biggest hit, yes it actually charted on Billboard, was “Nothing My Love Can’t Fix” and it’s one of those songs that could only happen in the 90s. With lots of New Jack Swing and Lawrence sounding like a reject member of Color me Badd, it’s not terrible. Cheesy? Yes. Corny as fuck? Oh yes! But it kind of makes sense why it would be so popular at the time. In 2011, he released the single “Give it To Ya” and oddly enough he sounds like a Backstreet Boy. Guess that’s to say it sounds about as good as anything they play on the radio. Whoa! (Sorry, I had to).
11. Kevin Costner
As an actor, Kevin Costner has had his share of hit movies and box office bombs (Waterworld anyone?), but he’s seems to be pretty successful in his music career. In 2007, he started the country band Kevin Costner & Modern West. They’ve released two albums so far with their debut, Untold Truths, peaking at #61 on the Billboard Top Country Albums. Costner isn’t that bad at singing. He’s not anything special, but at least it seems like he knows what he’s doing. Then again is it really hard to sound bad when you’re a country singer?
10. Tina Yothers
Tina Yothers, who played in Family Ties, decided acting wasn’t for her and formed the band Jaded in the late 90s. And yeah, it’s as bad as that episode where she sings. She tries to come off as tough and hard while her singing sounds like a bad impression of Shirley Manson. What’s supposed to be dark and brooding comes off as a bad Korn or Evanescence song. It’s flat out painful to listen to. They only have one album to their name. Maybe we should be thankful for that.
9. Robert Downey Jr.
You wouldn’t expect Iron Man to sing sentimental songs. Downey has actually sang on several film soundtracks including, Charlie Chaplin, Too Much Sun, and Two Guys and a Girl. In 2004 he released his album The Futurist and as you would’ve guess it’s not that great. To be fair Downey doesn’t sound horrible while singing, but songs like “Man Like Me” are a little baffling, especially when he tries to pull off some weird country accent. What’s funny is sometimes he’s sounds like a cheesy crooner from the 80s. It’s not the worst, but maybe it’s best if he sticks with acting.
8. Steven Seagal
This is a man who isn’t content with having one job title. Actor, martial artist, and a deputy sheriff, Seagal decided he wasn’t doing enough and took up singing. In 2005, he released his debut album Songs from the Crystal Cave and released the follow up Mojo Priest in 2006. Since this is Steven Seagal we’re talking about, you expect his music to be unlistenable, but surprisingly he doesn’t sound horrible. But it also doesn’t seem like he’s actually singing either. His soft vocals are often drowned in instrumentation and strong background vocals to make you forget how dull the song is. Those energy drinks he sold years ago were still better than his albums though.
7. Corey Feldman
Somehow Corey Feldman got it in his head that if he couldn’t make it as an actor, he could be a singer. He started the rock band Truth Movement back in 1992 and believe it or not they’re still active. They’ve released four albums so far with a fifth on the way this year. Unlike some of the other actors on this list, this band has no redeeming qualities. Everything about it is just unbelievably bad. Feldman sounds like he’s doing his best rockstar impression by adding a gruffness to his voice that isn’t there. It’s so forced it’s hard to ignore. It’s like listening to your dad trying to sing a Pearl Jam song. Listen to the band for yourself if you dare, but it’s so bad it’s hard to make it through an entire song.
6. Don Johnson
Some actors get the idea that just because they’re really popular they can do anything. This was most likely the logic Don Johnson used when he launched his music career. The actor rose to the top in the 80s for his starring role in the hit series Miami Vice. In 1986, he released his debut album Heartbeat, which featured a title single that charted at #5 on the Billboard charts. It sounds like typical 80s pop music with lots of keys, dull lead vocals, and cheesy lyrics. Yet, for some reason people liked it so much it inspired Johnson to release a second LP, Let It Roll. His singing isn’t particularly bad, just really generic. When will actors learn successful roles don’t always make for talented singers?
5. Jackie Chan
We know Jackie Chan as Chris Tucker’s sidekick in the Rush Hour movies, but did you know overseas he has a prolific singing career? Chan actually started singing in the 80s and has released 20 albums since then. His songs are often sung in Cantonese, Japanese, English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese. He’s considered a successful singer in Hong Kong and Korea. He’s even sung the theme song to his own movies, such as Rush Hour, Drunken Master II, Mulan (Chinese release), and Dragons Forever. It’s kind of a shame that he’s almost considered a joke in the States thanks to some of the aforementioned movies. He’s obviously more talented than he’s credited for.
4. Joe Pesci
It’s hard to believe this tough guy or Wet Bandit depending on the type of movies you watch, would get behind the mic and sing. Turns out before he launched his acting career, he was a lounge singer. He released his second studio album Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just For You, in 1998. Listening to him sing, he’s not bad, but it kind of just sounds like the way Pesci talks. When you hear it there’s no mistaking whose voice it is. When Pesci retired from acting in 1999, he went on to further his singing career. When that didn’t work out, he returned to acting in 2006. I think it was the better choice.
3. Brian Austin Green
The last thing you would expect is one of the rich kids from 90210 to become a rapper. In 1996, that’s exactly what Brian Austin Green did. In the show his character, Brian Cunningham, became more interested in hip-hop music and dj-ing, which the actor apparently took to heart. One Stop Carnival is his only solo album produced by The Pharcyde’s Slimkid3. I guess it’s not that bad, but seeing Green trying to act hard in his baggy jeans and trying to look cool while rapping is just embarrassing. It was a half-way decent attempt, but at least he’s stuck with acting since then.
2. Crispin Glover
Whereas most of the music on this list is decent or flat out awful, Glover’s contribution is freaky as hell. During a period where he wasn’t acting, he released an album titled The Big Problem Does Not Equal the Solution, The Solution Equals Let It Be in 1989. It’s a bizarre collection of original songs, covers, and recordings of the actor reading poetry. The song “Clowny, Clown, Clown” was released as a single and it’s the weirdest shit you’ve ever heard. Glover goes for a Les Claypool vibe as he talks about a clown that he likes, yet creeps him out. He starts mentioning odd things that sound like they were included just because it rhymed. To make things even worse it got a music video, which features Glover making out with a woman wearing a creepy mask. Best not watch it if you’re afraid of clowns. If you want to hear Glover sound like a dying cat, check out his version of “These Boots were Made for Walkin’.” And you thought the Jessica Simpson version was atrocious.
1. Edward Furlong
Oh, Edward Furlong. You’ll always be remembered for your cool hair and offering up one of the most popular catchphrases of the 90s. Most remember him as John Conor in Terminator 2, but I bet you didn’t know he tried singing. Tried isn’t even fair to say because he’s not trying at all. If you’ve never knew this it’s because his album Hold on Tight was only released in Japan. Similar to celebs who do stupid commercials in Japan, Furlong shed his bad boy hard rock image to provide cheesy Disney Channel pop songs about love. It’s so bad; he’s not even trying to sound good. It’s like he knows the whole idea of him singing is stupid. If you thought the story of him freeing the lobsters in supermarket was sad, this album is even worse.
There are so many actors I missed, so make sure to look out for a part 2 for this list!