Whether it’s simply an opportunity to cash in, or they just want to make music like anyone else might, when a celebrity releases an album, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s really not good, and sometimes it’s just weird.
1. William Shatner’s dramatic spoken word covers of popular songs have struck many fans and critics as odd because they are odd as hell, but he’s also written or co-written some of his own tunes, and he’s worked with the likes of Ben Folds, Peter Frampton, and Brian May.
2. Shatner’s late, great co-star Leonard Nimoy also put out a number of releases with serious camp appeal, including a bunch of songs where he sang as Spock. (I’ll mention here so that it doesn’t become an all-Star Trek actors list that Nichelle Nichols and Brent Spiner also have albums out.)
3. Real life space explorer Chris Hadfield hasn’t released an album to my knowledge, but he’s on this list because he’s released a few songs (including ones written with his brother and one written with Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson, the latter being the first song written in space). And come on, the man sang David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” live from 250 miles above the Earth while travelling at 17,500 mph.
4. David Hasselhoff has not only acted in critical darlings such as “Baywatch,” Piranha 3DD, and the forthcoming sitcom “Hoff the Record,” he also started releasing music in the late eighties. “Looking for Freedom” sent him to the top of the German pop charts in ’89, and just this year, he released a new music video called “True Survivor.” The latter’s from a crowdfunded movie called Kung Fury, which will probably be quite good.
5. Mr. T released two albums in 1984. I haven’t bought them yet—I think it makes more sense at this point to just wait for the inevitable deluxe reissues—but I think it’s safe to say that many a fool got musically pitied.
6. In addition to composing the scores for a number of movies and singing in a few of them, Clint Eastwood put out an album called Cowboy Favorites in 1963 when he was on “Rawhide.”
7. Renaissance woman Paris Hilton floored everyone with the release of her debut album, Paris, in 2006, proving that she can do music as well as all that other stuff she does. The worldwide musical community is currently in hiding as she staggers the release of singles from the follow-up.
8. In addition to appearing in a bunch of music videos, Naomi Campbell released a full length album, 1994’s babywoman. Gavin Friday and Youth were among the collaborators, and while the album did not get great reviews, it really didn’t sell too badly.
9. In 1993, 16-year-old Joey Lawrence released his self-titled debut album. He co-wrote the biggest hit from it, “Nothin’ My Love Can’t Fix.” There was a follow-up album in 1997. I’m trying to think of something to say here other than “Whoah!” because that would be too obvious.
10. Scarlett Johansson has released two albums to date. The first one, 2008’s Anywhere I Lay My Head, was made up almost entirely of Tom Waits covers. “What should have remained a private whim becomes a public embarrassment,” raved one reviewer.
11. Do you remember the 1992 Joe Pesci movie My Cousin Vinny? If not, I highly recommend checking it out. Highly less recommended is checking out Pesci’s 1998 album Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just for You. Yeah, I mean… no. If you’re jonesing for the musical stylings of Joe Pesci and nothing else will do, you’re probably best off going with his 1968 album Little Joe Sure Can Sing. Yes, he was a lounge singer before he started acting.
If you have a favourite musical effort, ill advised or otherwise, from a celebrity that isn’t on this list, please let us know in the comments.