Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie has release his second collection of bluesy hits on us in the form of ‘Didn’t It Rain' and perhaps the biggest shock of all since the actor decided to switch his focus to music is just how well he's made the change.

With that in mind, we decided to look at eight other actors who have tried to have a music career and see if they have been anything like as successful in their transition as Laurie has been.


Zooey Deschanel

One of the few on our list to do both her acting and musical careers at the same time, Zooey Dechanel’s all-out assault on the media world is one of the most compelling out there.

The duo of Deschanel and Matthew Ward have released their third album ‘Volume Three’ this week and with Deschanel’s profile never being higher thanks to the massive success of comedy TV show ‘New Girl’, things look very good indeed for the band.

While they might have perhaps the single least creative album naming policy of all time, She & Him are the perfect oddball soundtrack to flouncing around in the summer heat and the perfect reflection of Deschanel’s onscreen persona.

Robert Downey Jr

Yes, it might seem hard to think that Tony Stark ever got into the recording studio and laid sdown some songs, but in the dark days before his career resurrection, Downey Jr put out an LP by the name of ‘The Futurist’.

While he might have sung every now and again on screen, this was the first time he not only sang original tracks, but ones written by his own hand. This was the beginning of Downey Jr’s miraculous comeback that has turned the actor from mugshot regular to A-lister.

The album might have only hit the highs of 121 in the Billboard charts in America, but it showed a deeper, emotional side of Downey Jr, and an artist who  might have been able to genuinely make the leap between genres with a little bit of work.

Juliette Lewis

One of the few members of our list to have a platinum record to their name, Juliette Lewis decided to put her talents to music and formed Juliette and The Licks, her one-woman assault on the charts bringing a whole slice of angry guitars along for the ride.

They might no longer be together, but their trio of albums saw her truly explore the world of rock and roll, even getting Dave Grohl in to play the drums on her last record ‘Four On The Floor’.

Jared Leto

Leto’s transformation from in front of the camera to behind the microphone has been so total, that’s it’s hard to think of him as anything other than the lead singer of 30 Seconds To Mars. Before he got into the recording studio, the actor had quite the CV, with starring roles in Panic Room, The Thin Red Line and everyone’s favourite feel-good flick Requiem For A Dream.

Over the last decade, they’ve clocked up 12 million record sales worldwide and got an army of fans that most bands would probably murder a close member of their family to get. With an infectious form of pop-rock, who can really blame them?

With a fourth album out this year in the shape of ‘Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams’ Leto’s got plenty more left to say.

Ryan Gosling

In Gosling’s continued quest to make all other men on the planet seem utterly inferior and rubbish, he decided to have a little jaunt into the world of music back in 2009, just before the Oscar nominated actor started to truly take over the world of movies.

The result is Dead Man’s Bones, which sees Gosling (who recorded under the name ‘Baby Goose’) team up with Zach Shields and a children’s choir to celebrate their shared love of all things that go bump in the night. The result is a set of haunting a gorgeous tracks with a supernatural twist to keep things interesting.

Unfortunately for fans of the macabre band, with Gosling now the single most wanted actor in Hollywood it doesn’t look like him and Zach Shields will be getting back together any time soon in the studio.

Russell Crowe

While he might have gotten some stick for his singing in the most recent production of Les Misérables to hit the big screen (which for the record are opinions I don’t share), that hasn’t stopped Crowe from leading not just one, but two bands back in Australia.

Both 30 Odd Foot Of Grunts and The Ordinary Fear Of God saw Crowe let his musical side take centre stage, although neither of them were able to live up the more scripted accomplishments on Crowe.

Famous for singing on the Berlin Wall only a couple of months after it was torn down to an enormous crowd, ‘The Hoff’ has always been much more popular in Germany and Austria musically than he ever was in the UK or U.S.

In fact the singer’s role in the destruction of the wall cannot be overstated, with his song ‘Looking For Freedom’ possibly making the single greatest cultural impact that any of our list has done with their music.

It might be easy to mock the man (heck, he does it enough himself) but The Hoff has a trio of number one albums in Austria, which is something that only a few of us can ever boast.

William Shatner

For years the most famous actor to be regularly in the recording studio, Shatner is the example that every other actor surely wants to avoid whenever they go into the world of music.

His odd staccato delivery and tendency to mostly just speak the lyrics instead of making any attempt to actually sing them made him more than just a little easy to critique and lampoon. Alongside his Enterprise crewmate Leonard Nimoy, it might have been best if Shatner had stayed in front of the camera instead of trying to enter the world of music.

Without his experiments though, we would never have gotten his hilarious version of Elton John’s classic ‘Rocket Man’, which the world would be weaker without.

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