YouTube Grab Bag: Celebrity Music Video Crossovers
It’s been a busy week here at STB, and we’ll wrap it up by kicking off a new feature: the YouTube Grab Bag. Today’s grab bag features one of the most interesting and repulsive trends in the music industry that reached its zenith in the late 80’s. I speak of course of vain movie stars crossing over and trying their luck as musicians. As luck would have it, many such examples exist for our admiration on YouTube. So without further ado I present…
The Top 11 Worst Celebrity Music Video Crossovers
(In pseudo-chronological order)
1. William Shatner
It would be impossible to talk about vain singing celebrities without mentioning Captain Kirk. In fact, bad celebrity music videos likely wouldn’t exist at all without the trailblazing work of the Shatman. Shatner began with an album of covers like “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” and never looked back. He really hit his stride in the mid-70’s, perfecting his own special, hilarious style of reciting lyrics against the backdrop of the actual melody, typically with a string of ridiculous facial gestures to really drive the point home. Observe this early appearance on The Dinah Shore Show:
William Shatner – “It Was a Very Good Year”
An inspired effort to be sure, but it wasn’t until the 1977 Sci Fi Awards that the Shatman really achieved musical immortality. It was there that he performed a version of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” that shook the very foundations of reality and no doubt reaved the souls of all in attendance. Words really fail to describe just how mindblowing this really is:
William Shatner – “Rocket Man”
2. Leonard Nimoy
Apparently hanging out with the Shatman on the deck of the starship Enterprise went a long way towards inflating Mr. Spock’s ego. What you are about to see is one of the most baffling performances ever filmed. The eyes truly don’t know where to fall. The inexplicable “Leonard Nimoy for UN” buttons? The go-go girls dancing like a fire sale at the retard store? Spock’s use of a roll of masking tape for a visual aid as he sings about Bilbo’s magic ring? The end result is something that you’ll wish you could “unsee”
Leonard Nimoy – “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”
3. Telly Savalas
Of course, the Shatman wasn’t the only actor making an ass of himself with a microphone in the mid-seventies. It wasn’t long before everyone’s favorite hard-drinking, gambling, bald Greek uncle threw his hat in the ring. Telly Savalas is all man, and I’ll fight anyone that disagrees with my bare knuckles, but clearly the stage was not for him. Check out his appearance on the German show MusikLaden:
Telly Savalas – “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend”
4. Don Johnson
After Shat and Telly’s work in the mid-seventies, it was awhile before another celebrity cocky enough to punish the eardrums of the American public came along. Not long after Miami Vice catapulted his career to its absolute apex, Don Johnson hit the recording studio, squatted, and squeezed out the steaming pile of mediocrity called “Heartbeat”:
Don Johnson – “Heartbeat”
Amazingly, “Heartbeat” spent some time on the billboard charts, likely thanks to Don’s inspired wardrobe and musky charisma. Due to his ill-deserved success, it wasn’t long before Crockett returned to the airwaves, this time slaying the ladies with a heartfelt ballad:
Don Johnson – “Tell It Like It Is”
5. Bruce Willis
Of course, Detective Sonny Crockett wasn’t the only velvet-throated action star running around in the late 80’s. Soon after the success of his show “Moonlighting”, Bruce Willis gave birth to Bruno — his gravelly-voiced, harp-blowing alterego. Amazingly, some took notice including Motown legends, The Temptations. Nice tux, Bruno:
Bruce Willis – “Under the Boardwalk”
Somewhere, an ad executive was listening and came to a startling conclusion: “Let’s get this Bruno guy on the horn and see if he can’t move some wine coolers!” You’re fired jackass. Not a true music video, I know, but still a brain-tickling relic from a much simpler time:
Bruce Willis – “Seagram’s Golden Wine Coolers”
6. Eddie Murphy
Thanks to the magic of Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories everyone knows about the long friendship between Eddie Murphy and Superfreak Rick James. Few people, however, realize that the two collaborated on a grating 80’s dance number. The video for it does not disappoint, as it depicts the studio session that ostensibly led to the song’s creation. Watch in awe as Eddie pours his heart into the mike, Rick feels a hit coming, and magic is made. So. Much. Bad. Hair.
Eddie Murphy ft. Rick James – “Party All the Time”
Just when you thought music couldn’t get any worse, Eddie returned to the studio and came up with what many consider to be the absolute nadir of the celebrity music video trend – literally one of the worst songs ever made. This time he took everyone’s favorite NAMBLA member Michael Jackson along for the vomit-inducing ride:
Eddie Murphy ft. Michael Jackson – “Whatzupwitu”
7. Alyssa Milano
Coming in at number six, we have the one female contribution to the list. Sometime in the late 80’s, this hot little snapper took a break from kickin’ it with Tony Micelli to hit the recording studio. What resulted was something that sounded like Debbie Gibson on barbiturates. Fortunately she searched the world high and low for some of the most ugly clothing available to distract the casual music video viewer from her voice.
Alyssa Milano – “Look In My Heart”
Apparently teal clothing, bad music, and power suits with shoulder pads were all the rage on MTV in those days, because Alyssa came back for more. Nice hat!
Alyssa Milano – “What a Feeling”
8. Patrick Swayze
Many people remember Patrick Swayze for his rugged good looks, his lustrous locks, his enormous head, and his ability to breathe life into a diverse mix of characters ranging from civil war hero Orry Main to philosophical bouncer James Dalton to thrill-seeking robber Bodhisattva. Most, however, overlook Patrick Swayze the crooner, the sweet-singing slayer of babes. In 1987, in conjunction with the release of Dirty Dancing, the Swayze-dog assembled a crack team of producers and technicians and cut the movie’s main ballad. The song and his huge noggin took the nation by storm, serving as the first dance at countless weddings and junior high dances. And then, like a rancid fart in the wind, the Swayze-dog and his dulcet tones were gone.
Patrick Swayze – “She’s Like the Wind”
9. John Stamos
Not content to let Patrick Swayze be the only guy with bad hair and a huge head to record a hit, pretty boy John Stamos took a break from changing the Olsen twins’ diapers and badgering Kimmy Gibler to try his luck at the rock star thing. Now, I understand that his character on Full House was supposed to be a rocker or something, but that’s no reason for him to think that he could be too. Of course, I suppose anything can happen when you spend every one of your working days with douchebags like Dave Coulier and Bob Saget. Anyway, Uncle Jesse teamed up with the Beach Boys, but not even they could keep his ballad “Forever” from being pure nightmare fuel.
John Stamos ft. the Beach Boys – “Forever”
10. Steven Seagal
I guess that if you can convince yourself that you’re the reincarnation of a long dead Buddhist monk, anything is possible. That’s why it’s really not surprising at all to see once-proud spine-puncher Steven Seagal on this list. I had no idea, but apparently Casey Rybeck is an accomplished musician and has released several albums as “Steven Seagal & Thunderbox” with such mystical names as “Mojo Priest” and “Songs from the Crystal Cave.” Hey! Look at me! I’m enlightened!
Steven Seagal – “Girl it’s Alright”
11. David Hasselhoff
Finally, no list of celebrity singers would be complete without the man, the myth, the legend… the Hoff. Never has one person done so much for stupid e-mail forwards and ironic fan sites. Having burst onto the scene fighting for the cause of the innocent, the helpless, and the powerless as amnesiac hero Michael Knight, David Hasselhoff somehow became bigger than lederhosen in Germany, recording a series of hit albums. For anyone who’s spent any time on the internet, this next video should look familiar, but it still remains a classic.
David Hasselhoff – “Hooked on a Feeling”
It’s true, no one carries a tune quite like the Hoff. That hair. Those moves. That icey stare. Thankfully, this wouldn’t be the last we saw of the Hoff, as a new video surfaced just this past week of him doing another tired, poorly choreographed cover.
David Hasselhoff – “Secret Agent Man”