Recently I revisited the classic Blues Brothers. Besides having a great plot, two blues loving brothers on a mission from God to save their orphanage, the movie is known for its endless amount of cameos by musicians. Everyone from Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and James Brown join in on the chaos. This got me thinking about what other great cameos have musicians made in movies? Ever since the days of Frank Sinatra and Elvis there’s been a long history of musicians wanting to be actors and vice versa, some good and some not so good, sorry Scarlet Joanhanson stick to looking good instead of singing. In making this selection I was looking for musicians who don’t mind having a sense of humor, even at their own expense. Here are the Top 13 cameos by musicians.
13. Pete Best – The Rocker (2008)
In ‘The Rocker’, Rainn Wilson played a drummer who is booted from his band on the eve of them becoming one of the biggest rock bands in the world and ends up leading a life of obscurity. This sounds awfully familiar to Pete Best. You may be asking yourself who Pete Best is. Well he was in a little band called The Beatles before they acquired Ringo Starr. There has to be a little bit of jealously and angst in knowing that you were actually in The Beatles, that’s why this was a perfect cameo.
12. Snoop Dogg – Half Baked (1998)
We all love Bob Saget’s cameo in Half Baked. We love Bob Saget’s cameo so much that we probably forgot that little part by Snoop Dogg as the Scavenger Smoker. You know that dude who says that he quit so he won’t be giving you some cash for what he smoked, which Snoop did flawlessly. There’s also another great cameo by Willie Nelson as the Historian Smoker, which was also decent, but not as cool as Snoop as that damn scavenger.
11. Vanilla Ice – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
If you grew up in the 80’s then you probably loved TMNT. And you probably have to admit that you loved Vanilla Ice. That’s why his cameo in the sequel of the live action adaptation was just awesome. Let’s face it, when the Turtles fight their way into that club where Mr. Van Winkle busts into “Ninja Rap” you couldn’t help but jump out of your seat.
10. Lemmy – Airheads (1994)
How could anybody forget this flick about a struggling band, played by Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi, hijacking a radio station to get some airplay for their band The Lone Ranger? There are a ton of musical references, like Motorhead’s Lemmy being God, which make this a must have for any rock fan. What made it better was a little cameo by Lemmy himself who plays a rock fan that admits he was a fan of Dungeons and Dragons. To make things better there’s also a performance by White Zombie.
9. Dave Matthews – I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007)
Dave Matthews’ role as salesman who hits on Adam Sandler was probably the best part of this typical Adam Sandler comedy. Dave totally stole the scene from Sandler and hottie Jessica Biel. Yeah, I know that’s hard to believe, but trust me. There’s also a cliché cameo from Lance Bass, you know the *NSYNC member who came out of the closet.
8. Alanis Morissette – Dogma (1999)
How could Kevin Smith piss off anymore people in his fourth film Dogma? I don’t know, how about casting a Canadian who was really bitter about her break up with Full House’s Uncle Joey as God. Yeah, this was classic.
7. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
David Bowie has dabbled in movies throughout the years like Labyrinth, Basquiat, and The Prestige, so acting isn’t much of a stretch for the Thin White Duke. But his part as moderator during a dance off between Ben Stiller’s Zoolander and Own Wilson’s Hansel was one that he was born to do; I mean the dude has a song “Fashion” after all. Also keep a look out for other musicians like Lenny Kravitz, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Fred Durst, Lil’ Kim, that damn Lance Bass again and some of the Spice Girls.
6. Flea/Aimee Mann – The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Big Lebowski is already a classic. With so many great actors already in it (Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Sam Elliott, etc) it’s easy to forget that Red Hot Chili Pepper bassist Flea and singer-songwriter Aimee Mann had cameos as those loveable Nihilists looking for a quick buck. While Flea has had some other great cameos, like Needles in Back to the Future II and III, The Chase, Son in Law, seeing him chase The Dude in a black leotard is priceless. While poor Aimee Mann is the poor girl who sacrifices her toe to the cause.
5. George Harrison – The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash (1978)
Monty Pyton’s Eric Idles had a lot of balls in openly mocking the biggest band of all time, which would be The Beatles of course. Idles made up a fictional band called The Rutles and documented their rise and fall that paralleled that of the Fab Four. However, he must have done something right since he was able to snag George Harrison to cameo as a TV interviewer.
4. Jack White – Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
This movie had a lot of potential, but fell way short. It had John C. Reily in a Judd Apatow produced/written mockumentary about a musician whose life was like that of Johnny Cash. The only part worth watching is Jack White’s portrayal of The King. He nailed every part of Elvis that has become legend, myth and just outright comical at times. Also check out a Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder inducting Dewey at an awards ceremony.
3. Pearl Jam – Singles (1992)
Cameon Crowe’s flick about a bunch of single people in Seattle could have been a dud. But, he was able to tap into the local music scene and made one of the best movies from the 90’s. Singles had performances by Soundgarden and Alice in Chains and cameos by Chris Cornell and Tad’s Tad Donovan, but Pearl Jam topped them all. As the backing band for Matt Dillon’s fictional act Citizen Dick, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament and Eddie Vedder delivered one of the best scenes in the movie after reading a bad review of their front man’s recent performance, Vedder replies “A complement for us is a complement for you”.
2. Bruce Springsteen – High Fidelity (2000)
This movie had it all. A great cast, John Cusack, Jack Black, Tim Robbins. A great soundtrack. A great comical and romantic storyline. How could it get any better? How about a cameo by The Boss. Sure Springsteen has contributed music before and after, Philadelphia, Dead Man Walking, The Wrestler, this was the only time he actually appeared in a movie. His role as guide for Cusack’s Rob Gordon was perfection. Just like in real life, there’s Bruce offering words of wisdom.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Everyone remembers Alice Cooper’s part in Wayne’s World. It doesn’t matter how redundant this role has become, it’s still timeless. Who would have thought that the guy behind “School’s Out” was so educated? Don’t know about you, but he actually made Milwaukee sound cool.
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