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(Credit: Far Out / Mieremet, Rob / Anefo)

Music

The 10 worst actors-turned-musicians

“It irritates me all these actors in groups. Their actors and they form their own groups, as though that’s what they always wanted to do – I think that should be banned!” – Mark E. Smith

Some actors should stick to acting. Some actors shouldn’t act. And there are some actors on this list who decide that they want to play music. Well, that’s fine. The rest of us don’t want to hear it. No, we don’t want to hear it. And that’s how it is.

Because quite frankly, their music is in a word rubbish. Total rubbish. No, that’s unfair. That’s an unfair comparison to the rubbish heaps that offers employment, purpose and position. These contributions are less than rubbish. So, I hope you read that and realise it’s worse than rubbish.

What can be worse than rubbish? What could possibly be so pointless that it would bring up such a level of hatred from the listener? And before someone points out that I listen to Yoko Ono, bear in mind she is one of the progenitors of electronic dance and created the aesthete of the new wave movement. Ono is a genius. The entries on this list are clowns of the worst order.

And I’m just getting started: The contributions are so bad they shouldn’t have made it out into the world as a whole. They should have been binned, put in a plastic bag and thrown out into the rubbish, where they would have stood as the worst thing in the area.

The 10 worst actors-turned-musicians:

10. Billy Bob Thornton

The Fargo star comes last because he’s an accomplished musician, but he’s on this list because he thinks he should be judged as a musician, despite being first and foremost a movie star. In one embarrassing interview, Thornton chastised the host because he was unhappy with his introduction. It really is as pathetic as it reads, and as ridiculous as it sounds.

But Thornton has got a strong voice of some distinction, and he’s also a dab hand at playing the drums. What’s more, the guy can switch quite happily between instruments, which does show he has more musical talent than the majority of people who entered this list.

9. Michael Cera

When he was asked to describe his style of music, the Arrested Development star described it as “limited”. He said: “I guess I would describe this type of music as ‘limited’. I don’t mean that in a diminishing way, it’s just the truth. It’s limited by all kinds of things from my level of musical ability to the equipment I have at my house, but there are still some nice sounds being produced even in spite of the limitations.” It really is “limited”, which of course is code for bad.

He released an album called True That which is a silly name, but showed more invention than he did on the album. To his credit, he showed he knew how to make an album sound good, and it is a well-decorated work, albeit one that breaks as much ground as a five-year-old with a new tractor.

8. Jared Leto

I wish Jared Leto didn’t have to make this list, because it’s not just that he’s a bad musician, but he’s also a terrible actor. He’s the worst thing about virtually every film he’s in. It’s a good thing he has little to no lines in Blade Runner 2049, because otherwise, he might have ruined what is possibly the greatest sequel after The Godfather Part II (or, Hot Fuzz, but it’s hard to say if that’s a sequel per se.) And his band Thirty Seconds to Mars are dreadful, no doubt about it.

Who knows why they’ve enjoyed so much commercial success, but we also live in a world where Mr. Blobby had a massive singalong hit, so anything’s a given. To Leto’s credit, he can sing, and probably does a better job singing than acting, but that’s precisely because he makes Tommy Wiseau seem refined.

7. Johnny Depp

Why did this guy get to play guitar with Oasis? I get John Squire, I get Johnny Marr, and I get Paul Weller. But Depp? He doesn’t even depth, or Depp, to the guitar solo, a trembling slide part Noel Gallagher could easily have played in his sleep. And now Depp is singing with Jeff Beck, a man who had previously worked with such seminal vocalists like Keith Relf and Rod Stewart. I hope Beck’s being ironic about the whole thing. I really hope he is.

Because Depp is barely a singer, and he’s definitely no guitar player. But he’s there on Be Here Now, there for everyone to admire, or mock. Weirdly, he appears on one of the better songs on the album, but that’s more of a reflection of Liam’s soaring voice than Depp’s contributions.

6. Sean Connery

As an Irishman, I can tell you that there are many British actors who can nail the “Oirish” accent. Timothy Dalton made a good crack at the Ulster accent in The Informant; Steve Coogan did a killer version of a Sligo accent on Alan Partridge; James McAvoy might as well take up squatter’s rights, he’s so good. But Connery could never reproduce the Dublin twang, despite playing an Irishman in Darby O’ Gill and the Little People (we’ll let him off for The Untouchables, because he was supposed to be from Chicago.)

Worse, Connery had to sing for the film, delivering one of the most delirious and depraved vocal contributions in his career. Those smouldering Scottish tones? Nope. They should have pulled the vocals from the list, and binned them. Too bad another Bond actor also couldn’t sing.

5. Eric Idle

There’s a reason why Eric Idle never attained the same level of success as the other five in Monty Python. It’s because he sucks. Outside of that orbit, he got lucky once by writing a parody of The Beatles, which wouldn’t have been as good if he’d written the songs (instead, Neil Innes wrote the delicious nonsense of ‘Hold My Hand’, ‘Piggy In The Middle’ and ‘ Cheese and Onions). But Idle wrote the script which made way for the songs.

And then he thought he could write his own tunes. At best he was a parody writer, and at worst, he thought he could pen a pop song to rival the best of the 1970s. I’ll spare you the chance to watch Splitting Heirs (it’s worse than the critics make out), but this little vignette shows that singing isn’t Idle’s forte.

4. David Hasselhoff

I hear you. I hear you telling me to “hoff off”. Leave the Baywatch prince alone. Yes, he really knows how to strut his stuff, and yes, he really did save those people drowning in the ocean. But did he really have to sing to the people at large? His vocals are awful, flitting between desperate and depraved, with no sense of self-awareness and stability. By the time he’s finished his singing, we really do want “freedom”.

900 words into the piece and the efforts only get worse from this point on. Don’t believe us? Well, stay tuned and find out who is the awful trio who really should have kept their traps shut and stick to acting. Actually, looking at the top three, they probably shouldn’t have done that either.

3. Robert Downey Jr.

The Iron Man star had long had hopes of recording an album, but only found the courage by the new Millenium. “Clearly, I have some hesitation in being an actor who puts out an album,” Downey Jr. admitted. “But after years of writing songs, it gradually became more real.” The actor probably should have been more hesitant, because the results were paltry. But he decided to release a work to the world.

As it happens, the album in question proved an exercise in hobbyism, showing an actor who should never have released to the public at large, but should have kept his results for friends and family members close to him.

2. Gwyneth Paltrow

Paltrow’s former partner, Chris Martin, is one of the most inventive and far-reaching musicians of his generation. Whatever talent he had for music is lost on Paltrow. But it’s debatable whether or not Paltrow has any talent at all. Her willowy performance in Shakespeare In Love notwithstanding (still the oddest and most undeserving movie to win Best Picture at the scars), the actress has shown no ability to demonstrate her place in the world of cinema.

And her musical abilities are even worse: Take a look at her attempt at ‘F*** You’ on Glee, or simply listen to her attempts to sing along with Vince Gill to verify our reasons on why she shouldn’t sing. We could probably extend that to her acting abilities, but we’ll save that particular indignity for the number one offender on the list.

1. Mr. T

A one-trick actor turned one-note singer? Well, that’s what we have with Mr. T. He just does what he’s always expected to do. Which is sound grizzly, and walk off with the cash, sometimes with a woman he would never have realistically landed if he wasn’t as stinking rich as he was. Worst of all, he barely commits to the track ‘Mr. T’s Be Somebody …or Be Somebody’s Fool!’ leaving the backing vocalists to do most of the heavy lifting.

Where others are bad or lazy, Mr. T is both. He isn’t even lazily bad, or bad at being lazy, but a curious hybrid of both textures, putting him in a strange position where he has to try and pull something out of a hat. In fact, that would be preferable. Why doesn’t Mr. T pull a rabbit out of a hat? It would be better than his singing.