We’ve written before about not-so-cool bands rock stars were in before they became rich, successful (and cool). Here’s another look at early musical attempts of some notable actors, singers, and rappers.
He’s got an Oscar for Gladiator, and he fronts a rock band called 30 Odd Foot of Grunts. But in the early ‘80s, when he was just 19 he released a single called “I Just Wanna Be Like Marlon Brando” in his native New Zealand. Crowe went by the stage name “Russ Le Roq.” (Oddly, Crowe would end up being just like Marlon Brando—he played Jor-El in 2013’s Man of Steel, a role portrayed by Brando in the 1978 Superman movie.
He was a member of N.W.A., a successful solo rapper, and how he’s a headphone mogul with his Beats by Dre line, but it all started for the former Andre Young in 1984 with an R&B group called the World Class Wreckin’ Cru. They had a minor hit with the seductive slow jam, “Turn Off the Lights.”
Last winter, Larson won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Room. At 26, she’s one of the award’s youngest-ever winners, but she’s been in the entertainment industry for over a decade—and acting wasn’t her first choice. Larson initially planned to be a singer, and in 2005 released her first album, Finally Out of P.E., a teen-oriented pop-rock album. It sold just 4,000 copies, and Larson switched tracks to acting.
Before her successful career as a solo artist and in the alternative rock band the Sugarcubes, Bjork was a child star in her native Iceland. In 1976, 12-year-old Bjork sang a disco song called “I Love to Love (But My Baby Loves to Dance)” at a school recital. Iceland is a very small country (less than 300,000 people at the time), which meant Bjork became famous overnight when her teacher sent a recording of the performance to Iceland’s only radio station at the time. It scored young Bjork a record deal.
Jon Bon Jovi
Before he fronted the hugely popular rock band he named after himself, Bon Jovi was working as janitor in his cousin’s recording studio in 1980. The cousin happened to be producing Christmas in the Stars, a Star Wars-themed Christmas album for kids. In need of a singer at the last moment, Bon Jovi was permitted to hop on to the microphone and sing lead on “R2-D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”