REVIEW: When Celebrities Hit the Recording Studio

The music industry has apparently become a fertile playing field for any celebrity who gets the sudden urge to add singing to their roster of “talents”, forcing the world to be an unwilling participant in the process. While there are some exceptions, most of their “artistic renderings” would have been better off if they had been restricted to the shower.

The latest person of this ilk hoping to warble her way into our hearts is socialite/pseudo-celebrity Paris Hilton. With the magic of studio mixing to disguise her vocal limitations, she has actually succeeded in churning out one hit from her unfortunate album. One can only hope that this will turn out to be a “one hit wonder” and that she will go on to dabble in a less intrusive hobby.

However, Ms. Paris is not the first vocally challenged non-musical “entertainer” to assault the public’s ears by stepping into a recording studio.

The airwaves have received equal disrespect from several other vocalist wanna-bes.

I have listed a few of them below in the event you wish to avoid their song offerings, along with a brief review of each.

William Shatner

One simply cannot approach the topic of awful celebrity singing endeavors without mentioning one William Shatner.

Guess the hammy performances as Captain James T. Kirk on “Star Trek” just weren’t enough for him.

Shatner is in a class all by himself in regards to taking a song and making you never want to hear it again as long as you live.

His ego-driven interpretations of classic rock songs, especially those the Beatles’ songs he butchers, such as “Tambourine Man”,(which he ends with a spine-tingling primal scream), and “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” are almost pure in their level of badness.

Where’s a Klingon when you need one?

One can easily forgive these earlier “artistic” mishaps, though, now that the “Shatster” has more than made up for all this by letting go of his former deadly serious persona and embracing a sense of humor we never thought possible, plus his “Boston Legal” role has put him back on the map.

I confess that, whether he’s at his best or worst, William Shatner is always worth the attention and that he is one of my guilty pleasures.

Leonard Nimoy

Et tu, Spock? I suppose we can count our lucky stars that Sulu and Checkov didn’t get the impulse to aim for the Billboard charts as well.

In what would surely be deemed as a momentary lapse of logic by “Star Trek’s” beloved Vulcan, Nimoy launched into renditions of Ike and Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary”, 60’s hits such as “Put A Little Love In Your Heart” and “If I Were a Carpenter”. Woefully in search of a key that is non-existent, he turned song hits into weapons ghastly enough to destroy the entire
Romulan fleet. All of these can be heard on various volumes of the “Golden Throats” series and is where I was first exposed to the madness that is Leonard Nimoy’s.

He, in fact, is so delusional in his estimation of his musical “gifts” that he has gone on to record several torturous albums, including the questionable “Mr. Spock’s Music from Outer Space”, with selections one would expect to be sung by a cheesy lounge singer in an extraterrestrial bar.

If you are a fanatic Trekkie, you will obviously be enamored of this recording. If not, I recommend that you buy it at Christmas, wrap it up nicely and give it to the relative who gives you the lamest gift every year.

David Hasselhoff

Is there something in the water in Europe?

The French love Jerry Lewis and Germans and other Europeans love David Hasselhoff and it’s really causing me to question the mental health of this continent.

Most know Hasselhoff from his starring roles in “Knight Rider,” and “Baywatch”. He is now a judge on the summer television hit “America’s Got Talent”.and probably assessing people who can sing circles around him.

If you run across one of his videos on the internet, be prepared to view his petulant, pouty stares and the hokey dance steps.

Okay, he is still a good looking man, but his gifts in the singing department are limited.

Still, if he’s got kazillions of Germans buying his stuff and making him richer, he’s pretty much got it made a lot better than most of us.

Jack Palance

Yessiree, Mr. Jack Palance, the grovel-throated, granite-faced actor decided to shower the listening public with his own special renditions of country tunes.

Tracks included “My Elusive Dreams”, “Little Bitty Tear”, ” Green, Green Grass of Home” and an original song, “The Meanest Guy That Ever Lived”.

Alas, this album did not open the doors for a new career in Nashville, as he had hoped.

Ah, but their loss was our gain, for had he been taken from us by the country music industry, he would not have gone on to receive an Academy Award and forever leave us with the unforgettable memory of his one-handed pushup acceptance speech.

The Chicago Bears 1985

1985 was a banner year for football for the Chicago Bears. Perhaps their helmets were a bit too tight that season, as they made the decision to record the “Super Bowl Shuffle” that year, as these athletes/ song stylists rapped and made a video that looked as though it were choreographed by a construction site foreman.

In spite of its awfulness, it actually became a hit and earned a Grammy nomination.

One can forgive them, however, since the proceeds from sales went to charity and because, after all, there were the Bears, man!

Jack Webb

If you are a fan of classic television programs, then you must know who Jack Webb was. The late actor played the stone-faced, monotone Sargent Friday on the original “Dragnet”.

His albums include “You’re My Girl: Romantic Reflections”, in which he talks rather than sings the lyrics to romantic standards, accompanied by an easy-listening type orchestra.

Great to listen to if you have insomnia, as you will be snoring by the end of the first cut.

Foster Brooks

Younger readers may not be familiar with this name, but, during the 1960’s and ’70’s, he was a comedian known for playing drunks. He frequently appeared on numerous Dean Martin Roasts to take a few faux inebriated pokes at whomever was being “honored” at the time.

He actually recorded an album, entitled “Foster Books Sings”. While he does remain amazingly on pitch, the shmatlzy vibrato and schmaltzy song collections are enough to make his listeners take to drink.

Joe Pesci

You wanna tell Joe Pesci he can’t sing?

Everyone’s favorite movie mobster contributed “Vincent LaGuardio Gambini Sings Just For You” for the public’s listening pleasure.

Included in this album are such sentimental offerings as, “Take Your Love And Shove It”, “Yo Cousin Vinny” (in three languages!), and “Wise Guy”, all sung with hitman gusto by the weasel-voiced Mr. Pesci, to whom singing on key is irrelevant.

Just one more reason to fear this man.

Fabio

Uh-huh. That Fabio …the muscular male model with the Samson-esque locks who graced the covers of dozens of romance novels and urged us to purchase margarine.

Some misguided individuals influenced him to make an album, spouting snippets of his “love wisdom” to a background of sleazy sounding music. One can almost picture him recording this in a red velor room.

In his thickly accented voice, he utters such timely remarks as, “”I lahk to take a special lady to de ceenema, vhere ve can hold hands in de dark, and vhisper very quietly about vhat ve see. I vonder, vould she kees me like that? Vill I alvays be de hero of her life? “

Any ambitious lothario who believes turning down the lights and putting on this CD will impress a woman should prepare to be conked over the head with a bottle of cheap champagne.

Not long ago, Fabio made the news when he was slightly injured, while riding a rollercoaster, by a goose that attacked him by flying in his face.

Those who have listened to his album may well have been tempted to follow suit.


All Kidding Aside…

Most of those mentioned above are genuinely talented people in their field of expertise and one can’t fault them for trying their hand at something different.

My fondest wish for each of them is that they have long, prosperous careers …

AND NEVER STEP INSIDE A RECORDING STUDIO AGAIN!

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