There has been a buzz since Joaquin Phoenix stated he's retiring from making films and is recording a rap album. There have been numerous actors who have tried their hand at a singing career with dismal results. There will always be those TV actor one hit wonders, anyone remember the Donna Reed Show with Shelley Fabares and Paul Peterson. It doesn't hurt that they had people like Carole King and Gerry Goffin writing for them. Today on WNYC's Soundcheck they discuss this very topic and the host John Schaefer blogs about it. . Mare Winningham, Rick Moranis and Minnie Driver have all appeared on his show promoting their musical endeavors.
I've thought about this often and have yet to come up with an actor (acting has to have been his/her first career) who had a successful recording career. Rick Springfield is eliminated. He had a hit with Speak To The Sky, long before his cartoon, Mission Magic or General Hospital. Schaefer mentions Eddie Murphy, She And Him (Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward) and of course William Shatner. I can list a lot of actors who have had top 10 hits, but never a career singing: David Soul, John Travolta, Vicki Lawrence, Jack Wagner. Dyers.org has a list of Actors Who Tried to Sing, along with their album covers. Check out: Kristy McNichol, Donny Most, Anson Williams, Keanu Reeves, the list goes on. Kevin Bacon and his brother have successfully played live for many years, but never had a hit.
I would love to be enlightened. Is there is a actor who did have a successful singing career post acting? Does this mean it is much easier to act than to perform music? I guess Joaqin is up for taking the challenge.