22 February 2008

Earfcyclopedia (Oscars Edition): Musicians as Actors

Is there any argument that music and film are perhaps the two most celebrated, recognized and lucrative forms of artistic expression in our popular culture?

Is there any argument that they also generate more arguments than all other popular artistic mediums combined?

So why then, despite our obsessive dissecting, debating, analyzing and chronicling of the two, doesn't there exist a comprehensive list detailing the intersection of music and film? Somewhat related, are you sick of us asking rhetorical questions? Fair enough, we get it.

Less questions, more solutions! In this, our first installment of the Earfcyclopedia - just in time for the Oscars - this glaring omission within the annals of pop culture will stand no longer. We present you with a comprehensive as hell list of musicians who have crossed the line and tried their hands at acting. Sure, other reputable sources such as MTV and Rolling Stone have lamely attempted to chronicle this merging of artistic mediums, but frankly most of those lists suck.

Where's the love for the Kristoffersons, Kowalczyks, and Kiedises of the world (and that's just the K's)?

After the jump, peruse our list of 110+ alphabetized names of musician actors and please feel free to add any we might've overlooked. As well, before the jump you'll find lists of each of our own personal top 5 favorite musician actors. But first, some rules...

The rules are simple. First and foremost, chronology matters. In the arc of said artist's career, first singles, albums or musical performances must come before first pilots, sitcoms, movies or plays (bye bye Brigitte Bardot, Rick Springfield and Jennifer Lopez). And on that note, the musician must have been accomplished enough BEFORE trying acting that it's not laughable to imagine them performing onstage. For this reason, we've struck Bruce Willis from the list even though he was in a band before gaining recognition on Moonlighting. Also, documentaries obviously don't count, it's gotta be fiction or else.

Now - with some accompanying music selections - our own wholly-biased top 5's (with the full realization that as former Oscar winners Cher and Babs deserve to be at the top of an objective list but hey, we like playing arbitrary favorites). Ready?

Matt's Biased Top 5 Favorite Musician Actors

5. Kris Kristofferson - Who is the more manly man, Sam Elliot or Kris Kristofferson? Unless they arm wrestle in public the world may never know. However, I submit Kristofferson's work in Convoy, Blade, and The Jacket as evidence supporting his claim to the title. Something about seeing him on screen is like a big warm blanket of masculinity. And I like it. What??

4. Olivia Newton-John - With Olivia's appearances in Grease and Xanadu it's pretty safe to say that she's forever etched into the hearts and minds of people my age everywhere. Plus, I think there was a brief time in 1982 when I was certain she'd one day be my wife. Or workout partner. Blame the video for "Physical" I suppose.3. Dolly Parton - Her appearances in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Steel Magnolias were pretty great; however, Nine to Five is where Dolly really shines. It's easily one of my favorite comedies ever. And Dolly is pure magic in it: "Look, I've got a gun out there in my purse. Up until now I've been forgivin' and forgettin' because of the way I was brought up, but I'll tell you one thing. If you ever say another word about me or make another indecent proposal, I'm gonna get that gun of mine, and I'm gonna change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot!"2. David Bowie - Um, he's Jareth the Goblin King. 'Nuff said.1. Madonna - Number of movies she's in that I own? Nine: Desperately Seeking Susan, Who's That Girl, Dick Tracy, A League of Their Own, Body of Evidence, Four Rooms, Evita, The Next Best Thing, and Swept Away. Number of times I've seen the first two films in that list? Uncountable. Tell me she can't act, go ahead. I'll fight you.
Mike's Biased Top 5 Favorite Musician Actors

5. Reba McEntire - With her work in Tremors, she did what Meredith Baxter (Birney) never could: make being married to Michael Gross appear natural and believable.4. Justin Timberlake - Some may point to his nascent work on the Mickey Mouse Club and cry foul but I disagree. We all loved his dominance over SNL but equally impressive was his ability to shed the boy-band past and play a somewhat convincing thug in Alpha Dog.

3. Ice Cube - More Boyz in the Hood, Friday, and Three Kings, less Anaconda please. Bonus: Cube is also rumored to be playing B.A. Baracus in an upcoming adaptation of The A-Team. Sold.2. Mark Wahlberg - Watching Boogie Nights for the first time was a revelation; it was Wahlberg's confession to having played a long, drawn-out joke on everyone while hamming it up as Marky Mark.

1. Dwight Yoakam - His music isn't really my thing and he may look like Sloth, but goddammit he can act. See: Panic Room, Wedding Crashers.Now, on to the Master List!

Earfcyclopedia: Musicians as Actors

50 Cent
Andre 3000 (Andre Benjamin)
Marc Anthony
Harry Belafonte
Big Boi
Jon Bon Jovi
Bow Wow
David Bowie
James Brown
David Byrne
Mariah Carey
Johnny Cash
Phil Collins
Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs
Harry Connick Jr.
Alice Cooper
Elvis Costello
Bing Crosby
Billy Ray Cyrus
Roger Daltrey
Sammy Davis Jr.
John Denver
Gloria Estefan
Fat Joe
Joey Fatone
Stacy Ferguson (aka Fergie)
Aretha Franklin
Kim Gordon
Omarion Grandberry
Dave Grohl
George Harrison
Isaac Hayes
Jeff Healey
Levon Helm
Robyn Hitchcock
Susanna Hoffs
Jennifer Hudson
Michael Hutchence
Ice Cube
Ice T
Iggy Pop
Chris Isaak
Janet Jackson
Michael Jackson
Mick Jagger
Ja Rule
Seu Jorge
Alicia Keys
Anthony Kiedis
Jewel Kilcher
Beyonce Knowles
Ed Kowalczyk
Kris Kristofferson
Cyndi Lauper
Avril Lavigne
John Lennon
Huey Lewis
Courtney Love
Lyle Lovett
John Lurie
Marilyn Manson
Chan Marshall (Cat Power)
Dean Martin
Dave Matthews
Paul McCartney
Reba McEntire
Meat Loaf
Bret Michaels
Mandy Moore
Alanis Morissette
Tom Morello
Mos Def
Ricky Nelson
Olivia Newton-John
Dolly Parton
Elvis Presley
Queen Latifah
Lou Reed
Justin Rice
Keith Richards
Jonathan Richman
Henry Rollins
Diana Ross
Gavin Rossdale
Erik "Everlast" Schrody
Tupac Shakur
Paul Simon
Jessica Simpson
Frank Sinatra
Will Smith
Snoop Dogg
Britney Spears
Ringo Starr
Gwen Stefani
Barbra Streisand
Justin Timberlake
Tina Turner
Eddie Vedder
Tom Waits
Donnie Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg
Jack White
Andy Williams
Dwight Yoakam

Tell Wikipedia that EAR FARM's a-knockin'...

*above photo found HERE


joe*to*hell said...

YAY! madonna as film star is an idea that was ahead of its time. she will later be regarded as genius for these films....i am being serious as hell.

Anonymous said...

what about mariah carey?

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Dwight Yoakam's music. You're crazy. You're so...something...I don't know what. ..

Anonymous said...

Let's fight then because Madonna can NOT act!!!!!

Swept Away?!?!!!!

Anonymous said...

pdiddy combs on late show has converted his career to the cinema...he was also in monsters ball

Anonymous said...

I haven't even SEEN Swept Away, much less do I OWN it.

Anonymous said...

"My girl likes to party all the time, party all the time, party all the time....." 'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Tom Waits' turn as the genius scientist who made non-lethal weapons in Mystery Men is still one of my favorites... that and Anthony Kiedis getting shot in the foot in Point Break.

Anonymous said...

Guys Frank Sinatra should be up there - Man With The Golden Arm is really good.

Also your list left off John Lurie - he's great in the Jim Jarmusch films he's in.


Matt said...

Mariah Carey, Sean Combs, and John Lurie have been added.

To Fight!: bring it. Swept Away is pretty terrible, so what?? You can't handle Madonna!

Anon 5:13 - I'm not sure what the reference to Eddie Murphy is all about... in terms of actors who sing, totally. But that's for another list/post.

Lastly, Frank Sinatra was already on the list.

Thanks for the additions though - keep 'em coming and we'll keep this updated.

Anonymous said...

yr fight

Anonymous said...

Great list, but where's Bob Dylan?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah because weren't they in I Shot Andy Warhol? Does that fit? It's wet, isn't it? Drink it!

queer_theory said...

Don't forget John Mellencamp:

He's awful as an actor, but he's got film credits.

queer_theory said...

And Glen Hansard, from The Frames

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