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Musicians in the movies

Mike Wendlandt is a sophomore broadcast journalism major and can be contacted at mike.wendlandt@drake.edu

Usually when a musician’s careers starts to evaporate and they fall off of the general public’s radar, they have to do something to put them back on the map. For a lot of them, it is appearing in movies or working in television.

I’ve seen it dozens of times where a big-name musician has had to go on TV or appear in a movie to gain their fame back. I’ll go through three examples of it, two movies and one television star.

The legendary sweat machine and singer Meat Loaf has definitely seen his career stall since the late 1980s. Since then, he has had a number of roles on television and in movies.     Starting in the 1970s, he had a memorable role in the “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” but in the ‘90s, he had roles in “Tenacious D,” as well as cameo appearances on “House,” “Monk” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” He also hosts a game show on DIRECTV called “Rock and a Hard Place,” in which older bands face off in a music trivia-based game where all winnings go toward charity.

The next great example is David Bowie. The legendary glam-rocker had definitely seen a decline of his career in the late ’90s. So, naturally he turned to movies to continue to have his name out in the public eye.

However, he has had a great deal of success as an actor–from his dark turn in “Labyrinth,” to his role as Nikola Tesla in Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige,” he is the best example of a career after music that is a true success.

My final example shows that a musician doesn’t need to have a decline to be in movies. Tim McGraw has really made his mark on the big screen with sports-themed movies over the past few years, starting with his role in “Friday Night Lights” and really shining in “The Blind Side,” which has been his biggest role to date. His singing career hasn’t declined too much yet, but he could be preparing for his later career.

As it is, movies are a great backup plan for musicians who have hit some hard times since their music stopped selling. While most of them are caricatures of themselves and struggle as actors, a select few really have a natural talent in front of the camera.


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1 Comment

  1. B Cullen March 28, 2011

    You live under a rock, Meat Loaf was also in Fight Club, Crazy in Alabama and Formula 51 with Sam Jackson plus many more. Also in 1994 had a #1 single in 28 countries “I’d do Anything for Love” “and #1 Album also in 28 countries selling 17 million copies , Followed that in “96 with a top 10 single in 20 countries. Album selling over 6 million albums. 2007 had a top 10 single in 17 countries with album selling over 5 million albums. Don’t sell people short with doing your research.


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