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Song in My Heart

Dr. Spin looks at actors who think they can sing.

by Dr. Spin
January 10, 2005

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Dr. Spin,
I wonder if you have a favorite (or any opinion whatsoever) on actors who crossover to music without necessarily being known for that ability.  I'm not talking about the Brandis, Lindseys, and Hilarys in the world (manufactured and prepackaged pabulum for the prepubescent masses).  Nor am I referring to the painful efforts of William Shatner or Eddie Murphy.  Rather, I'm thinking of Michelle Pfeiffer's performance in the Fabulous Baker Boys, Renee Zellweger in Chicago, or even (dare I say it) Gwyneth Paltrow in Duet.  I'm not suggesting that these were earth shattering breakthrough performances, only that these relatively established and talented individuals impressed me with their ability to not completely suck as singers.  Any thoughts?
Just Curious
Dear Curious,
Actually I was quite stunned by all the musical performances of the cast of “Chicago,” especially Richard Gere; who knew he could sing?
Back in the heyday of Hollywood, most actors had to have the “triple threat,” acting, singing, and dancing capabilities; this was in the golden era of the Hollywood musical. Of course, most actors excelled in one area more than the others; Gene Kelly was an excellent dancer, but just an average crooner, whereas a Bing Crosby’s forte was obviously his voice.
Since then, musicals have fallen out of favor, and most actors didn’t worry too much about their singing or dancing skills.
Now there has been a mini revival of the old musical, and many actors are making bold, yet passable attempts to bring back the triple threat. As I said, all the cast of “Chicago” sang and danced surprisingly well (of course Queen Latifah was a given). I was also impressed by Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman in “Moulin Rouge.” This is not to say I would rush out to buy an album by any modern actor.
Perhaps the best of the actor turned singer bunch is Kevin Bacon, who has a legitimate rock band with his brother, The Bacon Brothers. I’m listening to a free download of one of there songs right now...on second thought, nevermind.

Who sings the song with the lyrics, “going down to Nazareth?”
Dear blank,
I could not find a song with the lyrics “going down to Nazareth.” Perhaps the song you’re thinking of is “The Weight” by the Band. It begins, “I pulled into Nazareth, just around half past dead.” Unless the lyric belongs to a Christian Rock song, to where my knowledge is a little less extensive.

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everett from rural Wisconsin writes:
January 10, 2005
I suspect most serious actors who make it on Hollywood or Broadway are multi-talented. For examples, who knew that Benson, the governor's butler could replace Michael Crawford on Broadway as the Phantom. In a previous era, I don't believe that Lauren Bacall, Constance Bennet, and Forrest Tucker ever sang in the movies, but they all sang in musical theatre, either on the road or on Broadway.

If Hollywood ever returns to musicals, I suspect they would have a large reservoir of talent to draw from among established stars.

They do not sing because there aren't many singing parts anymore.

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