Monday, February 23, 2009

The fascination of singing actors

After all these years, I have yet to figure out what attracts me to the (sometimes horrible/sometimes good) music that's sung by celebrities who are more known for their acting abilities than their singing.

The latest one on my list is Pauley Perrette, who stars as Abby Sciuto on CBS' tuesday night drama, NCIS. The NCIS soundtrack was released a short time ago. Pauley sings one of the songs on it, called "fear". It's a song she wrote as well as sang vocals, and IMO, it's a great song.

see my LJ entry for the lyrics & audio

Pauley also did a little singing in her small appearance in a season 3 episode of CSI, titled "Lady Heather's Box".

Speaking of CSI, kudos to former CSI'er Jorja Fox for putting a couple of her originals on the internet for all to hear - even though she may not be the greatest, I give her a big thumbs-up for the guts it took to do it.

Jorja Fox-satellite
Jorja Fox-under 41 (guitar instrumental)

Through all of my growing-up years, I think I've always been fascinated with actors who actually make music. It might have something to do with the fact that my all-time favorite movie, "the sound of music", is a musical. That may have made me realize that actors can actually carry a tune - well, some of them anyway. There are those few who really should just stick to acting.

Of course, back in the day, there were some greats, like Sissy Spacek doing her own singing on "coal miner's daughter", and even releasing her own solo country record. Now, she's passed her singing ability to her daughter, Schuyler Fisk, who's starting to make a name for herself.

Back in the early seasons of "Knots Landing", there was Lisa Hartman in the role of Ciji Dunne, who was an aspiring singer. Lisa also had released a solo album back in the day - of which I have on vinyl somewhere in my collection. Years later, Lisa married country singer Clint Black, and she's recorded a few duets with him as well.

An excellent singing actor from the 'good old days' is Maureen O'Hara. She's got an incredible voice, and even released a couple albums. One, titled "Love letters from Maureen", can be found at my LJ in the albums uploaded post

You'll also find links there for some of the other better singing actors including Gloria Loring, who's probably most well-known for singing the theme song for "the Facts of Life" sitcom in the 80s, as well as the mother of current artist, Robin Thicke.

Another singing actor that I consider a great voice is Katey Sagal, probably most well known for her role as Peg Bundy on the sitcom, "Married with children". She's released two albums, "well", and "room".

other singing actors of note would include Bruce Willis, Dolly Parton, Kristy & Jimmy McNichol (from back in the day), Dennis Quaid, Michael J Fox, Olivia Newton-John, Kris Kristofferson, Reba McEntire and Leisha Hailey (formerly with The Murmurs, currently with Uh Huh Her). And I can't forget Robert David Hall from CSI. He's an old radio guy from back in the day who can sing and play guitar as well.

One of the latest is Kevin Costner, who recently released the album, "Untold Truths", as Kevin Costner & Modern West.

Then of course, there are those which are hard to define between singer or actor, like Bette Midler, Cher, Vanessa Williams, Jennifer Lopez or the ever annoying Miley Cyrus.

In the last decade, the line between musician and actor has become blurred, with seemingly everyone doing it now. It was a much more special gift to have a singing actor appear 20 or 30 years ago than it is today. Back then, you didn't have AutoTune and filters to make a person sound good. There were no computers that you could hook up anywhere you wanted and record yourself and send it to someone who could make it sound like something other than warbling.

Back then, you needed to know how to sing as musicians played with you in the studio, and get your notes on key.

Here's a salute to those from back in the day who did it, and did it well.

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