You can’t fault someone for wanting to vary their interests and follow their dreams, but just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should. The idea of a celebrity of the screen trying out a music career is actually rather common. Sometimes this happens and the results garner both critical and commercial success, such as Jason Schwartzman with Phantom Planet and Coconut Records or Jared Leto and 30 Seconds to Mars. Sometimes the acts were fun at the time, but we find ourselves looking back and wondering if it all really happened. Other times, music listeners are just left scratching their heads.
Here are ten celebrities that have dabbled in music, but fortunately haven’t quit their day jobs.
10. Jada Pinkett Smith and Wicked Wisdom
Wicked Wisdom is a nu-metal band that formed around the height of the genre’s popularity and seems to have continued on once the popularity of nu-metal took a dive.
The band was not very well received by many fans of the genre for a number of reasons. The band’s first tour was with Britney Spears on an Onyx Hotel Tour in 2004. Britney Spears isn’t exactly an act that gives a performer much credibility in the world of metal. The fact that Jada’s husband Will Smith was part owner of the studio that produced their albums probably left a bad taste in the mouths of metal fans as well. When Wicked Wisdom was chosen by Sharon Osbourne to play Ozzfest in 2005, the band was consistently booed on a number of tour dates and would often come on stage to chants of “you suck” and a sea of middle fingers.
9. Russell Crowe and 30 Odd Foot of Grunts
Crowe’s group 30 Odd Foot of Grunts isn’t particularly bad. If they were bad then their music might have…something! The biggest problem with 30 Odd Foot of Grunts is that their music is so painfully average. Crowe’s singing is average, the musicianship is average, the lyrics are average…there’s absolutely nothing about the band besides a famous lead singer that stands out. Everything you need to craft a rock song is there, but there’s nothing extra or unique to make any of it pop. They’ve never seen any commercial or critical success, but they don’t have a sea of haters like some of the musical acts on the list either. 30 Odd Foot of Grunts could very well be the safest and most vanilla rock band of all time.
8. Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy has worked pretty consistently in the world of music. In fact, he released a reggae single with Snoop Lion in 2013 and plans to drop a new album titled 9 in the near future. For all we know, the new album will be the greatest thing to happen to music, but judging by his earlier efforts that probably won’t be the case. In the 1980’s, Murphy released a number of songs with such laughably bad titles as “Put Your Mouth on Me” and “Boogie in Your Butt.” His single “Party All the Time” was rated number 7 in VH1 and Blender’s list of the “50 Worst Songs of All Time.”
Believe it or not, “Party All the Time” was actually a hit in the 1980’s. Keep in mind that this is the same decade that embraced fluorescent colored parachute pants.
7. Bruce Willis as Bruno
Yes, Bruce Willis had a music career. Yes, it’s better that he left that in the 80’s. Back in 1987, Die Hard was still a year away and Willis was more of a television star in a detective series called Moonlighting. During this time he dropped two albums, perhaps as an effort to keep his eggs out of the same basket. To do this, Willis adopted the persona of a man named Bruno Radolini. He even went so far as to create a mock-umentary on HBO for the character. The act was popular for the same amount of time it takes to sneeze, but now most people look back on the whole thing in disbelief. Willis even used the character to shill wine coolers for Seagrams. Yes, one of the most bad-ass action stars of all time was singing about wine coolers!
6. Paris Hilton
Why did Paris Hilton decide to do this to the world? We already made her famous for essentially nothing. She was famous for no other reason than sleeping with Shannen Doherty’s husband and letting him tape it. Most people have to work incredibly hard for their fifteen minutes of fame. Paris had her fifteen minutes served up on a silver platter but still felt the need to unleash her horrendous acting on us. When that didn’t work out, instead of just accepting the fact that her fame was a one off thing, she decided to insult the collective ear of the world with her Paris album that featured the single “Stars Are Blind.” It was a throw-away bought-and-paid-for pop album with little heart and even less vocal range.
Paris is still into music, but these days she prefers to DJ.
5. Kim Kardashian
Paris Hilton’s album at least achieved mixed reviews, though even the positive reviews acknowledged she couldn’t sing. The reviews for Kim Kardashian’s single “Jam (Turn It Up)” also noted that Kim couldn’t sing, but the reviews were unanimously negative. The song did see some high sales numbers but all the proceeds were going to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. You also can’t ignore morbid curiosity after word got out of the single’s badness. Kim never went on to record a full length album. Thanks, Kim!
4. Keanu Reeves and Dogstar
Dogstar isn’t necessarily an “awful” band, but like Crowe and 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, they’re rather baseline. The reviews from critics are mixed at best, but they seem to have a pretty strong fan base overseas. One of their albums was only released in Japan and in India they performed at the country’s equivalent of the Academy Awards. A common complaint from critics is that the band’s sound is rather generic. This probably isn’t a big deal to Reeves as he isn’t the only actor in the group and they all seem to focus on their other commitments. It’s possible the band could be much better if it was a full time commitment, but that will likely never be the case.
3. William Shatner
Shatner’s turn at music may not be the worst on the list, but it’s certainly the most laughable. Shatner has put out a number of covers across a few albums that are rather bizarre to say the least. Instead of singing the lyrics, Shatner instead belts them out in a spoken word fashion that sounds more like a dramatic reading. If you haven’t seen his performance of Elton John’s Rocket Man at the Science Fiction Film Awards, then do yourself a favor right now and go to YouTube.
George Clooney once cited Shatner’s album The Transformed Man as an album he’d want to have on a desert island – as an incentive to get off the island.
2. Courtney Stodden
Stodden is another celebrity that never actually did anything. No one knew who Stodden was until she married 51-year-old actor Doug Hutchison when she was only 16 years old. This new notoriety led to a career as a reality TV star. Courtney and her mother tried everything to achieve a “Paris Hilton” style of fame for Courtney (see: famous for being famous) and it kind of worked. This eventually led to the inevitable attempt at a music career. The result was the single most vile thing you will ever find on the internet. The music video for the single titled “Don’t Put It On Me” has 6 million YouTube views, which is totally understandable; it’s hard to take your eyes off a train wreck. The comments were so scathing (and deservedly so) that Stodden had to disable the feature on her YouTube channel.
1. David Hasselhoff
Somewhere on this planet there is a magical land where people actually enjoy the music of Hasselhoff to a staggering degree. This fantastical place is actually just Germany, but what a completely random musician for a country to embrace. Unfortunately, in his country of origin, Hasselhoff’s music career is looked at as a bit of a joke. He isn’t as bad as say, a Stodden or a Kardashian, but he definitely ranks in with Bruce Willis or Russel Crowe. The music is pretty uninspired and comes off as more of a hobby or vanity project than a soulful and heartfelt attempt to make something great.