5 Great Actors Who Failed at Singing
These days, many stars are multi-talented and able to achieve fame as both actors and musicians. Gwyneth Paltrow, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and Lucy Hale are just a few examples of what success in both industries looks like. However, there are also plenty of actors who have tried — and failed — to dominate in the music world. Curious about which Hollywood stars received bad album reviews and struggled to gain a loyal following? Here are five actors who can’t carry a tune.
1. Robert Downey Jr.
Downey Jr. released his debut album, The Futurist, in 2004. While there’s no arguing that he has a good voice, the album certainly didn’t catapult his singing career. An Entertainment Weekly write-up of The Futurist gave the album one star, explaining that lines like “I’ll see your face in every cloud/Down a Dewar’s, laugh out loud,” only show off his inability to keep a decent beat.
A Slant review states: “One of the songs is titled 5:30, presumably signifying the very end of a long night, but I’d put The Futurist at about 3 in the karaoke bar, long after the hot shots have finished their nightcaps and at the precise moment when the shy guy in the corner has finally worked up the nerve to sing to a nearly empty room.”
2. Bruce Willis
Willis’ short-lived career as a musician started with his 1987 album, The Return of Bruno. According to The Huffington Post, it wasn’t Willis who was singing, but rather, his alter ego, a blues singer named Bruno Radolini. Interestingly, there was even a fake HBO documentary made in support of the album. However, around that same time, Willis begin to see plenty of Hollywood success thanks to Die Hard, according to The Huffington Post. He did release one follow-up album in 1989, If It Don’t Kill You, It Just Makes You Stronger, but by then Willis had dropped his Radolini persona and was much more focused on his acting.
Despite Willis’ strange personas and unique singing style, there’s no arguing he had fun doing it. “Few voice teachers will be toting this album to class so their students can emulate Willis’s semi-bellowing singing style. A lot of them probably will take it to parties, though, since it makes up in fun for what it lacks in musical fine points,” states a People review of his second album.
3. Steven Seagal
Seagal released his first album, Songs from the Crystal Cave, in 2004. The album featured a combination of styles, including blues, pop, jazz, and reggae. Two years later, he released his second and final album, titled Mojo Priest. Unfortunately, the talented actor didn’t receive much approval from critics for his musical abilities. Sputnik Music reviewed his first album, describing the project as a “deluded vanity project,” and Seagal’s voice as “flat and expressionless.”
Many agree that his second album was a little more fine-tuned than the first, but he still didn’t receive rave reviews. All Music notes that his second album focuses “on a kind of watered down, nocturnal form of urban blues.” Interestingly, according to Seagal’s website, he hasn’t given up on his music. The site says he toured through Europe over the summer and it notes that he is currently working on his third studio album. Maybe the third time will be the charm for Seagal.
4. David Hasselhoff
Even though he is one of the most mocked actor-turned-musicians, Hasselhoff has managed to release 18 studio albums, according to The Huffington Post. In addition, What Culture adds that he is extremely popular in Germany, and his first album, 1985’s Night Rocker, charted at No. 1 in Austria. Consequence of Sound explains that Hasselhoff’s popularity in Europe is partially due to a series of strange events that led him to sing his song, Looking for Freedom, at the fall of the Berlin Wall.
He’s continued to release records, many of which have received terrible reviews, particularly in the U.S. “These increasingly bad albums eventually culminated in the disaster known as Jump In My Car,” a Consequence of Sound review states. “Jump In My Car is a music video that’s so terrible, I struggled not to close my browser window as it played. I felt like my taste in music was irreversibly damaged after viewing it.”
5. Eddie Murphy
Murphy’s career was on the upswing in the ’80s. He was well-known thanks to Saturday Night Live and was ruling the box office with films such as Beverly Hills Cop. He was in the prime of his career, which is why he decided to take it a step farther and put out an R&B album in 1985, How Could It Be. The last album Murphy released was in 1993, titled Love’s Alright, according to Billboard. His albums certainly didn’t mimic the success he’s had as an actor.
“It is unfortunate that Eddie Murphy, a great impressionist and fiery comedian, could produce such pedestrian songs sung with such an unemotional and ineffectual voice. Aside from the hit Party All the Time (written by Rick James), How Could It Be is the worst joke Eddie Murphy ever told. I would suggest sticking with his comedy releases instead,” states an All Music review.
While he took a long hiatus from singing, he has recently made an attempt to try and resurrect his musical career. He released a couple singles in 2013, titled Red Light and Promise (You Won’t Break My Heart), which will be a part of his not-yet released album, 9, per The Huffington Post. Who knows? Maybe his singing career will be better the second time around.