Patty Loves to Rock and Roll
Cousin Cathy famously adored a minuet, but Patty had contemporary tastes—as reflected on both "The Patty Duke Show" and her largely forgotten pop records. Here, to mark the late actress' birthday, are obscure albums by 15 stars you know better from movies and television.
Two songs from this 1965 album—the title track, "Don't Just Stand There," and "Say Something Funny"—were Top 40 hits. With "The Patty Duke Show" riding high in the Nielsen ratings, the sitcom star even made appearances on "Shindig!" Although her sound was Leslie Gore lite, she recorded a follow-up LP, called simply "Patty," in 1966.
We still remember him as Kojak. Less known is that Telly Savalas cut six albums between 1972 and 1980. "Telly" (1974) has him singing tunes like "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and "Something." A later LP, "Who Loves Ya, Baby," includes "Gentle on My Mind." In 1975 the actor released a spoken-word version of Bread's "If," which topped the charts in the UK.
In 1957, several years before she played Ginger on "Gilligan's Island," Tina Louise released "It's Time for Tina," with a dozen tracks including "I'm in the Mood for Love," "Embraceable You" and "Let's Do It." And get this: Jazz great Coleman Hawkins is featured on tenor sax. (Fun fact: Jane Mansfield was offered the role of Ginger but turned it down.)
Clint Eastwood's love of jazz—and saxophonist Charlie Parker in particular—led him to direct the 1988 biopic "Bird." The actor/director even has his own label, Malpaso Records. But this little gem from the early '60s is a far cry from bebop. Back then Eastwood played Rowdy Yates on the "Rawhide," and so an album of cowboy songs seemed an obvious fit.
Before he hacked Janet Leigh to death in "Psycho," Anthony Perkins cut three pop LPs—"Tony Perkins" (1957), followed the next year by "From My Heart" and "On a Rainy Afternoon." His single "Moonlight Swim" even made it to the Billboard 100. In his screen credits, Perkins was always "Anthony," but he went with "Tony" for his recording career.
Robert Mitchum, who sang in some of his movies (such as "The Night of the Hunter"), got the idea for this 1957 calypso album after meeting Mighty Sparrow while filming a movie in the Caribbean. Ten years later, Mitchum put out a second LP, "That Man," featuring country songs like "Little Old Wine Drinker Me." He also co-wrote the theme song to the 1958 cult classic "Thunder Road," in which he starred.
In 1967, while playing the title role in "I Dream of Jeannie," Barbara Eden released the "Miss Barbara Eden" on Dot Records. Although it was her only album, she later toured with stage productions of musicals including "The Sound of Music." Eden even sang "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" at the 2002 White House tree-lighting ceremony.
Buddy Ebsen was about to sing and dance as the Tin Man in the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz" when he landed in the hospital (seems he was allergic to the aluminum makeup). A quarter-century later, he recorded "Buddy Ebsen Says Howdy"—with songs like "You Are My Sunshine" and "Cold, Cold Heart"—while playing Jed Clampett on "The Beverly Hillbillies."
This 2002 album is a forgettable record from a guy who clearly wants to be Sinatra (tracks include "Pennies from Heaven" and "I'll Be Seeing You"), yet it didn't put a stop to Tony Danza's singing career. In recent years, the former boxer and star of "Taxi" and "Who's the Boss?" headlined at New York's celebrated Café Carlyle.
"Miami Vice" was going strong when Don Johnson recorded his 1986 debut album, "Heartbeat," which reached No. 16 on the Billboard 200. Background vocalists include Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt. Guitar players? Try Dickey Betts, Ron Wood and Stevie Ray Vaughn! A second LP, "Let It Roll," came out in 1989. Barbra Streisand lent vocals to one of the tracks on that one.
The "Wonder Woman" star co-wrote three of the songs on "Portraits," her first album, and one of them was featured on a 1979 episode of her TV series. Three decades later Lynda Carter released "At Last," on which she covers Sam Cooke ("You Send Me") and James Taylor ("Secret of Life"). When she was 16, Carter was in a band called The Relatives. Gary Burghoff—aka Radar O'Reilly on "M*A*S*H"—was the drummer.
This was touted as Burt Reynolds' debut album, but it turned out also to be his last. The easy-listening LP includes such tracks as "You Can't Always Sing a Happy Song" and "There's a Slight Misunderstanding Between God and Man." We'd never heard of them either.
In 1968, Joe Pesci—then a lounge singer—released "Little Joe Sure Can Sing," which includes covers of the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life" and "The Fool on the Hill." It wasn't until "Raging Bull" in 1980 that Pesci really broke into acting. In 1998, he returned to singing—as Vincent Laguardia Gambini, the character he played in "My Cousin Vinny."
Best known as Tony Soprano's Uncle Junior on "The Sopranos," Dominic Chianese is also an accomplished tenor. He has three albums under his belt, two of them solo works: "Hits" in 2001 and "Ungrateful Heart" in 2003. The latter work includes the Italian classic "Core 'ngrato" ("Ungrateful Heart"), which Uncle Junior sings in Season 3's finale.
OK, so he doesn't actually sing. That hasn't stopped William Shatner from recording a bunch of albums. It all began in 1968 with "The Transformed Man," a widely mocked effort that has Captain Kirk reading passages from Shakespeare while interjecting lyrics from songs like "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." Amazingly, he's still at it. In 2013, Shatner teamed with Mick Jones, Rick Wakeman and Al Di Meola on "Ponder the Mystery."
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