The 25 Best Movie Cameos of Musicians
Sure, many successful musicians want to try their hand at acting. some have even pulled it off pretty well (madonna, jack black). others, maybe not so much. however, it’s usually fun to see a famous musician unexpectedly appear in a movie and then deliver a solid performance when given a brief opportunity. here’s a ranking of our favorite movie cameos with some featured musicians.
Top Movie Cameos of Musicians: Alice Cooper (“Wayne’s World”), Huey Lewis (“Back to the Future”), Billy Idol (“The Wedding Singer”), Bruce Springsteen (“High Fidelity”), Tom Petty (“The Postman”), Michael Jackson (“Men in Black Ii”), Tom Jones (“Mars Attacks!”), Jack White (“Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story”) Image Cre, Tom Waits (“Domino”) and more
|Image: New Line Cinema|
1. Alice Cooper (“Wayne’s World”)
Cooper is another musician who has successfully crossed paths on screen, and even on stage. truth be told, he has always been a showman with the showmanship of him on stage over the years. however, his hilarious and historically knowledgeable cameo in wayne’s world is still considered by pop culture fans to be one of the highlights of a stellar career. we will never pronounce “milwaukee” the same way again. oh yes, also, “we are not worthy!”
2. Huey Lewis (“Back to the Future”)
There was a lot to love about back to the future. however, one of the funniest moments from a very funny movie came when marty’s band, the pinheads, performed a hard rock version of lewis’s hit “power of love” during the “battle of the bands” audition. . lewis, who plays one of the judges, tells the group that they are “too loud.” he cast some quality shade on a version of his own song. subtle, but superb.
3. Billy Idol (“The Wedding Singer”)
Who knew billy idol could do comedy, well? his extended cameo appearance in this adam sandler-drew barrymore hit was pretty cool. poking fun at himself, given that the movie takes place during the 1980s, idol was brilliant in trying to help robbie (sandler) win over julia (barrymore) during a flight to las vegas. he didn’t draw too much attention to himself and also served the plot quite well.
4. Bruce Springsteen (“High Fidelity”)
When relationship-troubled record store owner rob gordon (john cusack) wanted to get back in touch with some lost loves, he linked the search to a bruce springsteen song. the boss, in turn, followed suit with a random but entertaining cameo that paved the way. bruce also delivered some truth to rob’s belief that addressing past failed relationships will improve his love life in the future, perhaps.
5. Tom Petty (“The Postman”)
One of the best parts of petty’s cameo as the mayor of bridge city is his dialogue with main character kevin costner. “i know you. you’re famous,” said the postman. the mayor replied, “i was once. more or less. a little. not anymore.” petty’s character returns the favor to costner later. just a bit of fun between two of the world’s greatest artists, who had mutual respect for each other’s work in their respective fields.
6. Michael Jackson (“Men in Black Ii”)
The late “king of pop” had a sense of humor that was often not seen; we don’t include holding his baby on a balcony. jackson, however, showed the comedic side of himself in the lackluster sequel to the popular original film men in black. jackson’s cameo is brief. playing “agent m”, he reports to chief zed (rip torn), but seemed a bit perturbed that his boss wasn’t listening to his concerns. in fact, it’s one of the more normal moments of jackson’s career.
7. Tom Jones (“Mars Attacks!”)
This cult tim burton film featured everyone from jack nicholson to michael j. fox to nfl star jim brown. however, it was jones’ appearance as himself that tended to be talked about often. he survives the martian attack on las vegas without even wrinkling his suit. the film closes with jones’ classic “it’s not unusual,” as he dances to viewers in the credits with some friendly animals in tow.
8. Jack White (“Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story”) Image Cre
It should come as no surprise that white successfully pulled off his hilarious portrayal of elvis presley in this john c. reilly comedy. white is an immensely talented and versatile artist. his screen time was brief, but while he didn’t necessarily look like the king, he had the insult down and scared dewey (reilly) with his karate moves. or, at least, the karate chop from him added to the real silliness of the movie.
9. Tom Waits (“Domino”)
We revisit waits, who, as mentioned above, is a fine actor and did well in the co-starring role in the 1986 independent film down by law. but it’s usually worth celebrating when waits shows up in a movie and steals a scene or two. like here, the story of young bounty hunter domino harvey (keira knightley), where waits appears as the prophetic “wanderer.” it’s a small but mighty role that once again shows that if waits wanted to focus on playing himself, he would probably be a star.
10. Keith Richards (“Pirates of the Caribbean: at World’s End”)
In pirates lore, star johnny depp saw a lot of richards’ attitude in the character of jack sparrow. so it would only make sense for one of depp’s inspirations to be part of the film franchise. richards finally had a place in this third installment of the film series, as the feared edward teague, keeper of the pirate codex (also known as the pirate code), who also happened to be jack’s father. just think of all the hell richards and depp could have raised as father and son in real life.
11. Lemmy (“Airheads”)
Airheads isn’t a great movie, but it did have some notable moments. perhaps the most memorable came courtesy of the legendary motörhead bassist and singer. while chazz (brendan fraser), lead guitarist and vocalist for the lone rangers, admitted that his real name is chester and that he was a geek in high school, he set off more mob revelations off the station. radio that included lemmy kilmister proclaiming that he “he was the editor of the school magazine.”
12. David Bowie (“Zoolander”)
Zoolander featured several high-profile cameos from prominent musicians (lil’ kim, gavin rossdale, gwen stafani), however none stood out more than this late legend. it was bowie, playing himself, who judged, after volunteering, the memorable “walk-off” between derek (ben stiller) and hansel (owen wilson). it’s arguably the best scene in the movie, and bowie’s presence adds to the hype of it all.
13. Snoop Dogg (“Half Baked”)
Snoop has established himself as a versatile performer, spanning the concert stage, movies, reality shows, game shows, you name it. however, one of our favorite cameos in a movie involving the famous rapper featured him doing what he probably loves the most. that’s getting a hit from thurgood (dave chappelle) and brian (jim breuer) in their cult classic stoner comedy from the late 1990s.
14. Pearl Jam (“Singles”)
Another band from seattle that enjoyed some love in the aforementioned cameron crowe movie. band members eddie vedder, jeff ament and stone gossard played themselves, but were part of the band citizen dıck, fronted by cliff. while the group was still trying to find fame in their hometown, they were apparently big in belgium. even if cliff (matt dillon) “has haunted the local scene for far too long.” however, he is “cleverly backed up by stone and jeff, and drummer eddie vedder”.
15. Kanye West (“The Love Guru”)
One of kanye’s more casual moments of entertainment came in a rather memorable cameo in this forgotten 2008 mike myers flick. hockey,” while attending a game with myers (playing himself for the time being), might be the best part of a boring movie that fared pretty poorly, critically and commercially.
16. Flea (“The Big Lebowski”)
Another member of the red hot chili peppers, and also part of the big lebowski. flea is not only a stellar bass player, but has enjoyed a pretty solid movie career with small roles and cameos in movies like back to the future part ii and iii. however, one of his most memorable film cameos came when his nihilistic character took a bowling ball to the stomach at the hands of walter sobchak (john goodman).
17. Aimee Mann (“The Big Lebowski”)
The former ’til tuesday vocalist/bassist is quite the versatile artist. he has made several appearances in film and television. however, fans of mann might consider his most notable film work of his in the cult favorite the big lebowski. where she played the german “nihilistic girl” who gave up her right little finger in the kidnapping plot of that movie. she was still well enough to enjoy some cranberry pancakes.
18. Phil Collins (“Hook”)
The drummer/vocalist and solo star of genesis has had a fairly expansive film and television career. although things didn’t really pan out as the lead actor (buster), collins has done some pretty useful work in the form of a cameo. as is the case with this steven spielberg film starring robin williams, where collins played the mustachioed inspector good, investigating a disappearance. collins was solid in his portrayal and probably just the right speed for his acting career.
19. Chris Cornell (“Singles”)
Cameron crowe’s stellar 1992 film about single life amidst seattle’s burgeoning music scene featured some of the biggest bands of the grunge era. soundgarden was one of those groups in the movie. onstage, and when the late frontman cornell quietly checked out the new speakers that cliff (matt dillon) had installed in janet’s car. that didn’t go over so well for bridget fonda’s character, but it’s still one of the most memorable scenes in the movie.
20. Blink-182 (“American Pie”)
Not only did the guys at blink contribute to the soundtrack for each of the first two films in the popular american pie franchise, but the pop-punkers earned some screen time in the original film as well. the then-trio of travis barker, mark hoppus and tom delonge, plus a playful monkey, watched online as jim (jason biggs) was trying to make time with hot transfer student nadia (shannon elizabeth) in his room. “houston, we have a problem.”
21. Gwen Stefani (“The Aviator”)
The former no doubt frontwoman and solo pop star has made several appearances on the big screen and television, both as herself and in credited character roles. perhaps her best-known cameo appearance was that of tragic young star jean harlow, who dangled by the arm of howard hughes (leonardo dicaprio) on the red carpet, in this epic biopic about the eccentric and lonely gentleman.
22. Anthony Kiedis (“Point Break”)
We will see in this list that the members of the red hot chili peppers also imagined themselves as actors. frontman anthony kiedis has appeared in a handful of images, but he’s perhaps most recognized for jumping johnny utah (keanu reeves) in the beach showers in this 1991 cult classic. now, the character of kiedis and his friends is finally it was given to him when bodhi (patrick swayze) stepped in to clean out a little house.
23. Zz Top (“Back to the Future Iii”)
The final installment in the back to the future trilogy is traditionally considered the worst of the three. however, one of the few bright spots was the cameo appearance of these rockers from texas, who had the film’s director, robert zemeckis, as an admirer. no wonder zz top played an “old west” group who delivered an almost hillbilly version of their own song “doubleback,” from 1990’s recycler album. by all accounts, the band were a hit on the set.
24. Tom Waits (“The Outsiders”)
Now, waits has been in countless movies, often in a major role. but, one of his first true cameos came in the 1983 film version of this beloved s.e. hinton novel. waits’s screen time, as buck merrill, was limited to a bar scene, where he opened the door for a frightened pony boy (c. thomas howell) and johnny (ralph macchio), who were looking for dallas (matt dillon). ). waits’s lines are few, but his brief role still exudes the calm that he’s always had.
25. George Harrison (“Monty Python’s Life of Brian”)
The late beatle was a huge fan of monty python, so when the legendary comedy troupe’s star eric idle contacted harrison to help fund the film, the guitar legend eventually came on board. harrison even earned a spot as an extra in the picture, though he actually had the uncredited role of mr. papadopolous. it’s rather easy to miss harrison, who appeared in the film for only a few seconds. still, any time an actual beatle is in a movie, it’s big news.
sure, many successful musicians want to try their hand at acting. some have even pulled it off quite well (madonna, jack black). others, maybe not so much.