Music Monday: Celebrity Musicians

When I think of celebrities who are also known for being musicians, the first names that come to mind are Stephen King and Kevin Bacon. So I was curious who some others might be, and fortunately, Newsweek published such a piece back in 2021, featuring 25 celebrities.

Here is the full list, in alphabetical order:

  • Kevin Bacon
  • Jack Black
  • Michael Cera
  • Chevy Chase
  • Russell Crowe
  • Macaulay Culkin
  • Johnny Depp
  • Zooey Deschanel
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Adrian Grenier
  • Stephen King
  • Zoe Kravitz
  • Jared Leto
  • Juliette Lewis
  • David Lynch
  • Steve Martin
  • Taylor Momsen
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Tim Robbins
  • Maya Rudolph
  • Jason Schwartzman
  • Michael Shannon
  • Jada Pinkett Smith
  • Billy Bob Thornton
  • Bruce Willis

I recognize most of the names on the list, but I have to admit I am not sure who Juliette Lewis, Taylor Momsen, Jason Schwartzman, and Michael Shannon are. Now it may well be the case that if I saw them in a movie or TV show (if that is what they are known for) I would recognize them, it’s just that the names don’t jump out at me.

One of the fun facts I learned from the list is that Johnny Depp worked with groups like Iggy Pop, Oasis, and Aerosmith before his acting career took off (he does remind me of Steven Tyler when I think about it). He even formed a band with Joe Perry and Alice Cooper (again, I can see the mutual attraction between Cooper and Depp).

Another fun fact was that while I knew Steve Martin played the banjo, I did not know that he won a Grammy back in 2009 for Best Bluegrass Album. Here is one of the songs from that album. Not surprisingly, Martin starts off with a joke:

I’ve always admired his stand-up work and his acting, but now I have to add accomplished musician to the list. Talk about a talented guy…

*image from Billboard

87 thoughts on “Music Monday: Celebrity Musicians

    1. thre was a full 8-minute clip of the song, but I found the shorter two-minute video for just that reason. I like bluegrass music; reminds me of some traditional Irish music…

      He is quite talented. I remember he used to play the banjo as part of his stand-up routine 50 years ago

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      1. Yeah, sadly I remember those days. Damn, you and I are both old. I remember he’d go on stage with an arrow sticking through his head. And I remember everyone raving about this hilarious new comedian.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Was their band name something to do with vampires? I know they played in Hollywood a lot. I think they played again pretty recently, or have a show coming up. Or maybe I dreamed it.

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  1. I also admired Steve Martin’s work. It just occurred to me that I hadn’t seen him in anything forever. Google said he left acting for over a decade. His last film was in 1999 (Bowfinger), but in 2021 I read that he came back as part of a comedy mystery series called Only Murders in the Building. I never saw it, so I don’t know if it’s any good.

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  2. great list. I love my indy film guys – Michael cera is hilarious and Jason schwartzman you would probably recognize if you’re a fan of the wes Anderson movies (also Francis ford Coppola’s nephew), Steve Martin is a genius in so many areas in my opinion, and I love the little books he’s written. not a huge Johnny Depp fan, but lots of good ones on the list –

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    1. Michael Cera is quite funny.

      I must admit Wes Anderson does not ring a bell, although I may know his movies.

      I was not aware Steve Martin wrote books – I will have to check those out.

      Johnny Depp is quite odd…, but he does have a flair for the dramatic…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Did you read Steve Martin’s autobiography? It’s his only book that didn’t thrill me.

      I have “The Pleasure of My Company” on audiobook and everyone who borrowed it did the same as me… IMMEDIATELY listened to it a 2nd time for more detail, because it was so subtle but good.

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      1. i read ‘shopgirls’ and ‘an object of beauty’ and loved both. i’m going to see out ‘the pleasure of my company’ after reading your comment, and have read his autobiography, but sounds like i didn’t miss much on that one.

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  3. Quite a few names on that list I don’t recognise, probably because it mostly comprises Americans that might not have been involved in shows broadcast here. I know of Juliette Lewis, to fill in one of your gaps: unless you’re a fan of tuneless shouting I wouldn’t bother checking her out. I’m surprised that Elizabeth McGovern didn’t make the list, as her band Sadie and the Hotheads has appeared in plenty of festivals, supported some well known names, and made several albums. I saw them as support to Gretchen Peters around 2013 – they were awful! Maybe she was having an off night, but her voice was flat and she couldn’t hold a note!

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      1. I guess I am one of the few people who has not watched Downton Abbey.

        On a somewhat related note, I do remember loving the show Broadchurch, which starred Olivia Colman. She was great in the show, and then I remember seeing her in The Crown one night while my wife was watching it.

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      2. I’m the complete opposite: I’ve seen every episode of Downton as well as the movie, but have never watched a single episode of either Broadchurch or The Crown. Olivia Colman is good, though 😊

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      3. That’s the problem for me too. If I don’t watch something from the beginning, catching up can be a daunting prospect. It seems easier to watch new shows as they air, but nowadays there are so many available in full from the outset. I’ve just watched Reacher, on Amazon Prime. Only eight episodes, which is about my limit!

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    1. I’ll have to suggest my colleague if they ever update the list 🙂

      and I can see that resemblance between Joe and Macauly. I wonder if anyone else has ever pointed it out…

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  4. I saw that Steve Martin bluegrass tour. Went to see him live but the show was great! My fave banjo song of his is Late For School.

    He also writes plays. The Underpants is silly fun.

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    1. Meaning… I went to see HIM, Steve… the fact that it was music instead of comedy made no difference.

      He’s also a well known major art collector. That’s why he was able to rollerskate inside LACMA for a scene in LA Story… he was on the board or something. I loooove that movie… it genuinely captured LA in the 80s/90s.

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      1. That’s one reason I like it.
        Did you ever see Kentucky Fried Movie? One of the sequences makes fun on 80s karate films. My Korean friend was laughing hysterically when no one else was… she told me they were actually speaking Korean and saying things like “cabbage!” & “Eggroll!”

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know how I feel about those celebrities who are also musicians. A couple of years ago, it seemed to me like every actor/actress was a singer all of a sudden. Of course, they all write books, too. Are they really talented in seven different ways while we struggle to find half of one? Do they just push more for what they want? Or is it just easier for them to walk through open doors because of their celebrity status?

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    1. I think part of of what makes these people artists is a desire to be creative in a variety of ways.

      but as far as the books are concerned, I often wonder how much of those books the celebrities write themselves…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m surprised Jennifer Lopez isn’t on here…. I’m not a huge fan of her nor do I dislike her… I just feel quite neutral about her… her acting and singing are nothing to write home about but again, surprised she’s not on the list…

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