As streamed on Beachy Head Radio
Link in case the embed has a funny turn.
This is mainly a collection of actors, writers and celebrities having a bash at knocking out a few tunes plus a couple of examples of people whose day job was originally music but are better known for what they did afterwards.
It’s designed as a sampler to prompt further exploration. Or at least that’s my excuse.
1. Tom Watt – Subterranean Homesick Blues (1986)
There was a period in from the mid 1980s when soap stars ruled the charts with the casts of Australia’s Neighbours and the UK’s Eastenders leading the way.
This is one of the less successful but more interesting examples sung by the actor who played Lofty in the second of those. It got to 67 in the UK charts with most of the copies ending up in his mother’s loft – somehow apt.
The video includes members of New Order and Brix E. Smith ignoring him.
2. Idris Elba – Make It Bump
Idris or DJ Big Driis depending on whether he’s producing or DJing has made better tracks than this over the years but this one happened to be at the right speed for the filling of a Tom and Claudia sandwich.
3. Claudia Cardinale – Love Affair (1977)
Tunisian born Italian actress of such films as such films as 8 1/2, The Pink Panther and, ah yes, Once Upon A Times In The West career occasionally dipped into the music world during her 60 year career
Extra marks for spotting the Dire Straits reference – if you dare admit you know it
4. David Steel – I Feel Liberal (1982)
Though credited to the politician this was largely down to Jesse Rae who mainly worked with other performers but had a minor hit with Over The Sea whilst swinging a sword and wearing a kilt along with a helmet with a feather sprouting from it – later upgraded to a brace.
And for those of you who don’t like sport… There’s sport!
5. Ilie Nastase – Globe Trotter Lover (1987)
Romanian Tennis player at his peak in the mid 1970s.
6. Rocky Graziano – The Flying Guru (1968)
1947 World middle weight boxing champion here appearing as The Maharishi Yogurt taking the mickey out of the the recent fashion amongst pop stars and actors for eastern mysticism.
Someone thought this was a good idea.
7. Joe Frazier – First Round Knockout (1975)
Smokin’ Joe put out several quite decent singles in his heyday of the late 60s to mid 70s between bouts for the heavy weight world boxing championship. He was the first person to defeat…
8. Muhammad Ali – Ali’s Elusive Dream (1976)
Superior in the ring but not on record.
Though this is for children.
8 and a bit. Steve Davies & Gaz Williams – Live Modular (2022)
The seven times world snooker world champion in collaboration. A long time radio and club DJ he’s branched out in recent years.
There now follows a brief burst of actors not known for their singing although Archie Leach did do the odd song and dance during his musical hall days.
9. Clark Gable – Puttin’ On The Ritz (1939)
From the film ‘Idiot’s Delight’
10. Cary Grant – Did I Remember (1936)
From the film ‘Suzy’.
11. James Stewart – Day After Day (1930 or 31)
And with Henry Fonder in 1970, Rolling Stone…
12. Robert Mitchum – Ballad Of Thunder Road (1958)
A more uptempo version of a song he sang in the film ‘Thunder Road’.
13. Robert Mitchum – Jean And Dinah (1957)
Having developed a liking for calypso whilst filming ‘Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison’ in Tobago he did a whole album’s worth.
14. Clint Eastwood – Unknown Girl Of My Dreams (1961)
A huge jazz fan and latterly a writer of music for his films Clint’s singing career largely consisted of cowboy songs released off the back of his popularity as Rowdy Yates in the western TV series Rawhide. This was an early exception.
His best known vocal performance came in the film version of the musical ‘Paint Your Wagon’ – I Talk To The Trees
15. Steeleye Span – New York Girls (1975)
Ukulele peaked in the 1920s and until the revival in recent decades there weren’t a lot of people playing it outside George Formby fan clubs. So when Steeleye Span decided the instrument would suit this track they jokingly asked one of the few well known players of the era, actor and comedian Peter Sellers, to fill the role. To their surprise he said yes and to their delight he ad-libbed.
From Commoners Crown.
16. Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers – Jubilation Day (2011)
A banjo player since his early years he’s increasingly emphasised music over acting and comedy from the early 2000’s which paid off with a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2009.
The inevitable Star Trek selection. I’ve stuck to the original series and The Next Generation so things don’t get too out of hand.
17. Phish – Riker’s Mailbox (1994)
The band were Star Trek fans and their producer lived next door to Jonathan Frakes who invited him to play trombone on one of their tracks. But the sight reading for the part was beyond his abilities so they built an album interlude around his failed takes.
18. Leonard Nimoy – Highly Illogical (1967)
After this Trek tie-in Nimoy managed a short career as a singer recording four albums of folk leaning pop. Perhaps his most infamous track was The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins – something to do with having similar ears?
19. William Shatner – Planet Earth (2011)
A little later to the music business with 1968s Transformed Man which combined Shakespeare and contemporary songs Shatner has had the most ‘celebrated’ recording career of the Star Trek alumni.
This 1981 Duran Druan number is from the comeback album ‘Seeking Major Tom’ which features Edgar Froese, Bootsy Collins, Dave Davies, Steves Howe & Hillage, Ritchie Blackmore and many more.
A performance at the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards.
20. Brent Spiner – It’s a Sin (To Tell A Lie) (1991)
From ‘Ol’ Yellow Eyes Is Back’ it includes LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes and Patrick Stewart from Star Trek The Next Generation as backing singers The Sunspots – a reference to 1930s-50s vocal group The Inkspots.
21. Nichelle Nichols – Dark Side of the Moon (1974)
Another fast out of the gate with a 1967 album, ‘Down To Earth’, this is from the mid seventies EP of the same name. She started as a singer and dancer so an LP was a less ambitious step than for some of her co-stars.
22. Grace Lee Whitney – Disco Trekin’ (1976)
A nightclub and big band singer before moving into musicals and films she was a TV regular before being cast as Yeoman Rand.
23. Leonard Nimoy – Both Sides Now (1968)
24. Scarlett Johansson – Anywhere I Lay My Head (2008)
Johansson took the well trodden route for an actor on the brink of superstardom and recorded an album of This Mortal Coil influenced Tom Waits cover versions.
25. She & Him – This Is Not a Test (2008)
A going concern for Zooey Deschanel.
My ignorance of films since I stopped being a part-time projectionist in the early 2000s is going to show up in these notes.
26. Juliette and the Licks – Got Love To Kill (2004)
Juliette Lewis also turned up the year this was released on The Prodigy’s ‘Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned’.
27. Wicked Wisdom – Bleed All Over Me (2006)
Jada Pinkett Smith’s band mainly of the 2000s. A little different to her husband’s oeuvre…
28. Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince – Boom! Shake The Room (1993)
For those not of a certain age Fresh Prince was Will Smith.
A UK number 1 for the award show pugilist.
29. The Pizza Underground – Medley (2013 Demo)
High marks for concept, less so for execution. Macaulay Culkin and friends’ re-imagining of Velvet Underground songs with a pizza theme was booed off stage on two continents.
A short run of actors at least realising their limitations and talking their way through tunes.
30. Anthony Hopkins – Distant Star (1986)
Too late to be included I found he’d released an album of his own piano compositions in 2003…
31. Anthony Quinn – In My Own Way I Love You (1968)
The music most associated with him…
32. Orson Welles – I Know What It Is to Be Young (1984)
33. Roger Moore – Where Does Love Go (1965)
The b-side was written by him and his future wife Italian actress Luisa Mattioli.
34. John Wayne – Face The Flag (1973)
35. Steven Seagal featuring Lady Saw – Strut (Me Want The Punani) (2004)
It turns out that Punani isn’t a style of Jamaican cuisine.
36. Steven Seagal – Girl It’s Alright (2004)
As the first track is a bit unusual for him I’ve included another in his more typical soft blues rock style.
37. Ronny Cox – Sanctuary (2002)
The chap with the guitar in Deliverance and who had a successful run in the eighties to nineties with Beverley Hills Cop, Total Recall and RoboCop first released an album in 1993 and has concentrated on music since the beginning of this century.
The scene from the film which used the tune written by Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith as performed by Eric Weissberg on banjo and Steve Mandell on guitar. Though Ronny Cox could play, Billy Redden couldn’t so a local musician Mike Addis put his arm through actor Billy Redden’s sleeve so the left hand fretting was realistic.
The star of the film, Burt Reynolds, makes his own appearance in this mix further along.
A couple of comedy writers and performers who started in music.
38. The Higsons – Conspiracy (1982)
Straight outta Norwich and putting the punk back into funk from 1980 to 86.
The eponymous Charlie Higson latter became know for The Fast Show and as a novelist. He was joined as a writer on the show by Higsons guitarist David Cummings, formerly of this parish, after he’d spent some years in Del Amitri.
Apparently keen on porridge…
39. Seona Dancing – Bitter Heart (1983)
A UK number 79 for Ricky Gervais & chum. Big in the Philippines apparently.
In the flesh…
40. Jackie Chan – China Blue (1985)
The Chinese Communist Party politician has knocked out eleven albums between starring in martial arts films and suppressing democracy.
41. Bruce Willis – Turn It Up a Little Louder (1989)
From the second, less successful, LP on the Motown label.
The first, ‘The Return Of Bruno’ was biased to soul covers and included performers such as Booker T. Jones, The Pointer Sisters and The Temptations. It was a companion to the mockumentary of the same name done in ‘The Rutles’ style.
42. Don Johnson – Heartache Away
Frank Zappa and Phil Collins were both guest stars in Miami Vice neither of whom he appears to have taken any tips from. Peaked at 22 in the Austrian charts. (Though to be fair his first single was a US number 5).
43. Warren Mitchell – It’s A Long, Long Way To Tipperary (1967)
As his ‘Till Death Us Do Part’ character Alf Garnett. The TV series was remade as in the USA as All In The Family.
44. Mandy Rice-Davies – Hey Mr Robinson (1964)
Best known for her role in the 1963 Profumo affair which contributed to the end of Harold Macmillan’s Conservative government the following year.
45. Dudley Moore Trio – Optional Magic Exploding Cadence (1969)
They normally played jazz in the Oscar Peterson / Errol Garner mold.
46. Diana Dors – The Gentleman Is a Dope (1960)
From ‘Swingin’ Dors’. Thankfully taking a stage name saved us from puns on her birth name Diana Fluck.
47. David McCallum – The Far Side Of The Moon (1966)
From one of four albums recorded by a Man From UNCLE during the 1960s this was written by the oboist son of the Leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Another of his recordings, ‘The Edge’ written by David Axelrod was sampled by Dr. Dre who used it rather a lot: intro and riff to the track “The Next Episode”, “M.I.A.” by Missin’ Linx, “No Regrets” by Masta Ace, and “Actions” by John Legend.
48. Bill Oddie – I Can’t Get Through (1966)
The comedian and naturalist had a stab at a music career but didn’t hit the charts until the 1970s with The Goodies on the back of their successful TV series.
49. Bill Oddie – On Ilkla Moor Bah’at (1970)
More in keeping with his later career this parody of Joe Cocker’s version of The Beatles’ ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ was released on John Peel’s Dandelion Records and included in the DJs box of most treasured singles.
50. Antonio Fargas – It’s Christmas (1980)
The ‘streetwise informant’ Huggy Bear in the 1970s TV series ‘Starsky & Hutch’
51. David Soul – Don’t Give Up on Us (1976)
‘Hutch’ from that very series with his UK & US number one.
52. Burt Reynolds – Ask Me What I Am (1973)
What are you Burt?
53. Tony Randall and Jack Klugman – You’re So Vain (1973)
A spin off from the TV series continuation of the film ‘The Odd Couple’.
54. Blue Me (Tommy Vance) – Melinda Marie (1972)
The voice of Radio 1’s Friday Night Rockshow from 1978 to 1993 Richard Anthony Crispian Francis Prew Hope-Weston attempted a few singles whilst a DJ on Radio Caroline in the 1960s but this was the b-side of a release he produced for Blue U.
55. Telly Savalas – I Walk The Line (1972)
Another actor to reach number 1 in the UK (and Ireland). That was with a spoken word rendition of Bread’s “If” but he also sang, after a fashion.
56. Dennis Weaver – Hubbardville Store (1974)
Perhaps best known today as the driver menaced by a lorry in Steven Spielberg’s 1971 TV film ‘Duel’ he was often seen in westerns such as ‘Gunsmoke’, for 9 years, and the cowboy cop in the city series ‘McCloud’. He released seven albums between 1972 and 1984.
Another story song I couldn’t edit without leaving people hanging.
57. David Carradine – Last Chance (1975)
From the LP ‘Grasshopper’ the title of which references his popular 70s TV series Kung Fu. Recorded in the UK and released by Jet Records the home of ELO whose cellist Hugh McDowell and violinist Mik Kaminiski appear on this track.
A touch of Tim Buckley about it.
58. Sinister Ducks – March of the Sinister Ducks (1983)
The writer of Watchmen, V For Vendetta, From Hell, Swamp Thing and many… others, Alan Moore appears with David Haskins from Bauhaus and Love and Rockets plus Alex North.
59. Dogstar – Our Little Visionary (1996)
With Keanu Reeves on bass. Recently reformed for a few gigs – to promote this compilation I like to think.
60. Dead Man’s Bones – Dead Man’s Bones (2009)
Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields only album to date.
61. Hugh Laurie – Hallelujah I Love Her So (2011)
Music was always a part of his partnership with Stephen Fry and his success with the series ‘House’ in America gave him the opportunity to play and record the music he liked.
A favourite musical moment from Jeeves & Wooster
62. Sidney Poitier – This I Know – That I Know Nothing (1964)
Poitier interprets Plato.
63. Yaphet Kotto – Have You Dug His Scene (1967)
Live And Let Die, Alien, and Homicide Life On The Streets are some examples of Kotto’s usual employment. This is the b-side of his only single, ‘Have You Ever Seen The Blues’. Both tracks were written by himself and notably produced by a young Stewart Levine and Hugh Masekela
64. Tony Perkins – The World Is Your Balloon (1958)
Screech, screech, screech, SCREAM! The actor unfairly typecast after his most famous role as Norman Bates in ‘Psycho’ made a couple of albums of light jazz in the late 1950s and another in 1964 released in France only.
65. Rock Hudson – Open the Windows and See All the Clowns (1970)
From an album of Rod McKuen songs after many years of drink and smoking had given his voice a Johnny Cash in his final years timbre.
From a decade before.
66. Burt Ward & The Mothers of Invention – Boy Wonder I Love You (1966)
Arranged by Miami Vice guest star Frank Zappa. An unusual choice with unusual results.
67. The Bacon Brothers – British Invasion (2020)
Kevin and Michael have been performing since 1994 and usually err a bit more towards Americana.
Some of their more interesting tunes are when Michael pulls out his cello. They’re prepared to say what many American bands wouldn’t out of concern for sales, ‘I believe heaven is a fable…’
68. Jeff Bridges – Choke (2000)
A pianist from young he’s been writing music from the start and first sold a song, ‘Lost In Space’, to Quincy Jones for the film ‘John and Mary’ but didn’t release an album until 2000’s ‘Be Here Soon’ from whence this choice comes.
After success in the 2009 film ‘Crazy Heart’ as a country singer he recorded a second long player, [Jeff Bridges](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Bridges_(album), though with only a couple of his own songs. He also made a spoken word / ambient LP with music by Keefus Ciancia.
69. Mae West – Boom Boom (1966)
Born in the previous century West had been recording for over 30 years by the time of this LP of rock and pop covers plus this blues number by John Lee Hooker. She recorded a further album two years later at 74.
70. Claudia Cardinale – Do It Claudia (1977)
B-side to the third track in this compilation.
71. Rainbo – John, You Went Too Far This Time (1968)
Sissy Spacek at 18 taking umbrage at John & Yoko leaving nothing to the imagination on the the cover of their Two Virgins LP.
72. Jack Palance – The Meanest Guy That Ever Lived (1970)
Written by the Volodymyr Palahniuk himself.
He also sang a song in the 1972 film ‘Si Può Fare… Amigo’ from which a single was released.
73. Lorne Greene – Ringo (1964)
The English version was a number 1 and the French release for the Canadian market. Though most of his output was cowboy related he also did an album of standards in 1963 including an uptempo version the song following this.
74. George Sanders – As Time Goes By (1958)
His only foray into singing outside stage and film roles. This early 1930’s song by Herman Hupfeld became famous when sang by Dooley Wilson in the film ‘Casablanca’ having been in the unproduced play on which it was based, ‘Everyone Comes To Rick’s’.
75. Bernard Cribbins – I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face (1962)
Through primarily an actor in comedy films Cribbins made a few appearances in the popular music charts in the early 1960s with novelty songs produced by George Martin. In later years he was best known for his part in Doctor Who as the grandfather of a Doctor Who companion, a role he’d filled in the mid-sixties film version.
And one of One of Noël Coward’s choices when guest on BBC Radio) Desert Island Discs.
76. Edward Woodward – The Way You Look Tonight (1971)
Once the option to become a professional footballer was taken away from him by a knee injury he leaned into acting which led to appearances in the West End and Broadway throughout his career. But was better known to the general public for ‘Callan’, ‘The Equalizer’ and the film ‘The Whicker Man’.
‘The Way You Look Tonight’ reached 41 in the UK charts when released as a single in 1971.
77. Thirty Seconds To Mars – Birth (2013)
Another band of brothers . Jarrod and Shannon Leto’s group have proven to be more than just a side line for the former, an Academy Award winning actor.
78. 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts – What’s Her Name (1997)
You may know the singer Russell Crowe as cousin to New Zealand cricketers Martin and Jeff Crowe but he has also made the odd film.
79. David Duchovny – Everything Is Noise (2021)
Parked acting in 2017 for writing and music with three albums the result.
80. Hal Featuring Gillian Anderson – Extremis (1997)
The duo Hal had provided the music to the BBC series ‘Future Fantastic’ which she narrated which led to this collaboration – a little different to the Dead Kennedys and Skinny Puppy she listened to as a youth.
81. Robert Downey Jr. – The Futurist (2004)
From the album of the same name and consisting of his own compositions except for a Jon Anderson song and ‘Smile’ by Charlie Chaplin who he’d portrayed in a film.
82. Molly Ringwald – Don’t You (Forget About Me) (2013)
Singing the song originally recorded by Simple Minds from one of her most well known films ‘The Breakfast Clue’ which premiered in 1985. It was included on her album ‘Except Sometimes’ which was influenced in style by her jazz musician father.
Written by producer Keith Forsey and Nina Hagen band guitarist Steve Schiff it became the biggest hit for the Scottish band who were initially reluctant to record other people’s material. After being being turned down by Bryan Ferry and Billy Idol ultimately their record company A&M and Jim Kerr’s then wife Chrissie Hynde persuaded them to do it.