Actors Turned Singers: Who Knew These Stars Made Albums!

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But should they have done, that's the question? Many celebrities have taken time while under fame’s spotlight to realise their dream of recording an album. For some it was a mistake, others made it work. So delight with us in this dazzling dozen noteworthy musical efforts from the stars.
Zooey Deschanel pop princess
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Zooey Deschanel pop princess

12. Zooey Deschanel

American actress, cookie New Girl and pin-up, Zooey Deschanel seemingly has no need to try her hand at a career in the pop charts. Yet she still found time to record no less than three original albums and a Christmas effort with songwriting partner Matthew Ward, as duo She & Him. Variously described as indie pop, doo-wop and sunshine pop, their most recent recording was released last year, imaginatively titled Volume 3

Christopher Lee, eery voice, eery films
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Christopher Lee, eery voice, eery films

11. Christopher Lee

British actor Christopher Lee is best known for his career-defining screen portraits of evil as Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster and the sinister wizard Saruman in Lord of the Rings. His deep – some would say ‘eery’ – and sonorous voice led him to record songs for films The Wicker Man and Funny Man. For the ‘way out there’ stuff check out his albums with Italian metal band Rhapsody of Fire and original recordings Revelation and the ‘symphonic metal’ concept album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross.

Naomi Campbell debut flop
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Naomi Campbell debut flop

10. Naomi Campbell

Yes, the shy and retiring supermodel unleashed her musical opus Baby Woman in 1994. Naomi roped in a number of interesting producers for the debut (and only) LP including Bomb the Bass's Tim Simenon, PM Dawn and The Virgin Prunes’ Gavin Friday. Unfortunately it tanked with the critics and the UK public, despite its collective producer power. No Kylie-style pop career for Naomi.

Spock and Kirk... spaced out
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Spock and Kirk... spaced out

9. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy

Star Trek fans and lovers of dramatic nonsense everywhere will know about the original musical output of Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Mr Spock (Leonard Nimoy). The pair each released several solo albums including Shatner’s superbly psychedelic The Transformed Man, Has Been  – featuring a cover of Pulp’s Common People – and a rare live album of his one man show. Nimoy is no slouch with five albums of sci-fi, pop and folk recordings for Dot Records. Highly illogical.

Minnie Driver hits the husky notes
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Minnie Driver hits the husky notes

8. Minnie Driver

English actress was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting and then followed it up with some sterling vocal performances on three LPs. Her husky voice is a surprise package, both on her own original material (country lilts and pop ballads) and an album of covers, which was called Ask Me To Dance

Robson and Jerome... cover your ears
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Robson and Jerome... cover your ears

7. Robson Green and Jerome Flynn

Robson and Jerome rose to prominence in the 90s TV series Soldier Soldier and then went on to record some earachingly syrupy cover versions of popular songs including Unchained Melody and What Becomes of the Brokenhearted. Fisherman Green can currently be found flitting between Extreme Fishing and various TV dramas, while Flynn has found a home on sword, sorcery and sex TV epic Game of Thrones. As a vocal pairing they recorded two number-one albums under the watchful eye of no other than Simon Cowell.

Jennifer Love Hewitt, from Toy Soldier to soul diva
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Jennifer Love Hewitt, from Toy Soldier to soul diva

6. Jennifer Love Hewitt

If you weren’t sure whether you needed another smooth soul vocal performance in the mould of Janet Jackson or Mariah Carey, then Jennifer Love Hewitt’s self-titled album may just swing the vote. Jen is an accomplished vocalist with a rack of studio albums and a couple of compilations. Fact: she was one of the backing singers on Martika’s angsty pop rock classic Toy Soldiers. Well we never.

Oh dear
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Oh dear

5. Kevin Costner

Kevin may have danced with wolves and played bodyguard to the late Whitney Houston on film, but are you prepared for the fact that he records country-lite with the band Modern West in the style of Garth Brooks or Keith Urban? Several studio albums, a soundtrack LP and even a Best Of are up for grabs. Costner has toured worldwide with the band so that makes him a bit of an all-rounder.

Milla Jovovich, heavenly or hellish?
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Milla Jovovich, heavenly or hellish?

4. Milla Jovovich

When she’s not busy saving the world from zombie plagues in the Resident Evil film franchise (or the universe in Fifth Element), Milla Jovovich finds time to record her own music. Kickstarting her singing career in the mid-90s was the album The Divine Comedy, inspired by the classical literature of Dante Alighieri. Heaven or hell? It depends on your musical taste. If you like a touch of Kate Bush or a hint of Tori Amos then it’s a win-win.

RDJ, stick to acting in future
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RDJ, stick to acting in future

3. Robert Downey Jr

Hollywood fun-time guy turned ultra-sarcastic movie superhero, Downey Junior cobbled together a tome called The Futurist in 2004. RDJ had previous, singing tracks on films  Chaplin, The Singing Detective and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. His debut is full of spacious jazzy arrangements that suits his breathy tenor and intensely personal lyrics.

Classic Cained
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Classic Cained

2. Michael Caine

How everyone wishes that this album had been a full-on cockney sing-a-long. Britain’s titan of the screen is apparently a bit of a collector, so for his own first album outing he put together a compilation of chilled classics called, of course, Cained. Featuring jazz great Stan Getz, wobbly lo-fi beatniks Bent and nu-jazzer St Germain, it is theoretically the sound of Sir Michael’s lounge. That is intriguing.

Scarlett Johansson, a leftfield choice
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Scarlett Johansson, a leftfield choice

1. Scarlett Johansson

Scar-Jo earns the number-one spot as perhaps the most pleasant surprise of all.  The star can now count not one but two interesting musical outings in her back catalogue. The first was Anywhere I Lay My Head in 2008, featuring covers of legend Tom Waits' songs, followed by a collaboration with Pete Yorn in 2009 on Break Up – inspired by the Serge Gainsbourg duets with Brigitte Bardot. Perfectly leftfield musical choices that reflect the New York beauty’s film career so far. 
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