The Best And Worst Actors Turned Musicians

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Michael Cera put out his surprise debut solo album ‘True That’ in 2014. The indie movie hero isn’t the only actor to make the leap from the big screen to the record player. Here are some of the best and worst thesps turned musos.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt has got quite a set of lungs on him, notably proving his torch singing chops at a Serge Gainsbourg tribute concert a few years back at LA’s Hollywood Bowl and duetting with Lady Gaga on ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ during her 2013 Muppets Christmas special.

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Cult movie goddess Deschanel earned more indie points when she formed band She and Him with singer-songwriter M Ward in 2008. Moviegoers also got a dose of Deschanel’s singing voice in films like Elf and (500) Days of Summer. She was previously married to Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard.

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Four decades on and it’s still hard to tell if William Shatner’s taking the piss out of us or not. He’s survived endless derision and released his fourth solo album proper in 2011. Its cover looks like this, and features collaborations from people as diverse as Sheryl Crow, The Strokes’ Nick Valensi, and Deep Purple’s Ian Paice.

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It’s not often that famous actors turn their hands to singing without disastruous results but Scarlett Johanson surprised us all when she released an album of Tom Waits covers entitled ‘Anywhere I Lay My Head’. Woody Allen’s latest muse earned an 8/10 for the LP and bagged herself an NME cover in the process.

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Even before he was driving out-of-control buses in Speed or dodging bullets in The Matrix films, Reeves was playing bass for his jam-band-turned-actual-band Dogstar. Formed in 1991, Dogstar has opened for Bon Jovi and played the Glastonbury festival in 1999, releasing four albums before calling it quits in 2002.

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Juliette Lewis always kind of looked like she belonged in a rock band and after being a Hollywood mainstay for almost 20 years, she lived up to her image by debuting her band Juliette and the Licks. The Licks released three albums and song ‘Inside The Cage’ featured on the Grand Theft Auto IV soundtrack before they split in 2009. Lewis then went solo.

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Johnny Depp’s made almost as many musical appearances as he has film ones. He appeared on the Oasis songs ‘Fade In-Out’ and ‘Fade Away (Warchild Version)’ – playing guitar – and joined friends Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones in the band, P. He also fancies himself as a singer too, as his role in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street proved.

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Actor. Martial artist. Guitarist. When Steven Seagal wasn’t playing action hero, he was producing music, releasing first album ‘Songs from the Crystal Cave’ in 2005. The eclectic LP featured duets with the likes of Stevie Wonder and Jamaican musicians Tony Rebel and Lady Saw. After releasing second album ‘Mojo Priest’ in 2006, Seagal toured the US and Europe with band Thunderbox.

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Iron Man and Hustle And Flow actor Terence Howard’s not actually bad as a singer, and his 2008 debut ‘Shine Through It’ was a fusion of folk jazz joy. Sadly, it’s all he’s turned out to date.

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Hugh Laurie’s had a lifelong Midas touch when it comes to film and TV, from Blackadder through to his role as the highest paid actor in the most watched show ever, House. His latest blues album, ‘Let Them Talk’, meanwhile, suggests his luck may stretch to music too.

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Kate Winslet: great in Hamlet, brilliant in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, funny in Extras. Singing ‘What If’ for the Christmas Carol: The Movie soundtrack? Not so much.

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Jeff Bridges sticks to what he knows and it works for him. The Dude’s performance as Bad Blake in Crazy Heart saw him play another scruffy slacker character and his excursions into music haven’t varied far beyond country and western. T Bone Burnett produced his eponymous second album in 2011.

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Although he’s never released any albums, Jeff Goldblum can play a mean jazz piano. Watch him in action on YouTube.

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Who even knew? Perhaps best known for her role as stripper Jade in The Hangover, Graham has apparently tried her hand at singing as well. The actress lent her voice to the tune ‘The Hanging Tree’ as part of her role as a drug-addicted rocker in the 2007 film ‘Broken’. So, can Graham officially add “singer” to her CV? Judging by this performance, probably not.

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The American Psycho actor has led dual lives acting and playing music for a while, forming band 30 Seconds to Mars with older brother Shannon in 1998. Despite Leto’s busy filming schedule, the band achieved mainstream success with second album ‘A Beautiful Lie’ in 2005 as well as 2013’s ‘Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams’.

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