Mad Men fans know that Jessica Paré, who plays Megan, the wife of leading man Don Draper, has a knack for the musical-- she performed a swingin' sixties number, "Zou Bisou Bisou," in this season's premiere, complete with band and sexy dance. But even a hardcore MM fan would be forgiven for experiencing a bit of surprise when she was spotted onstage last week with seminal indie band The Jesus and Mary Chain performing "Just Like Honey" in Buffalo and Toronto. Does she have an album up her sleeve? Who knows. But she wouldn't be the first to venture from the screen to the stage. Yes, you may roll your eyes when hearing of another actor or model's vanity recording project. But a number of them are surprisingly decent, serving to further drive home the hard truth that some actors really can do it all.
Jessica Paré: More than "zoobie zoo."
After the jump, ten albums by actors that make for surprisingly decent and even inspiring listening:
10. Bill Cosby
Cosby's 1971 jazz-funk album "Badfoot Brown & the Bunions Bradford Funeral & Marching Band" was found worthy of reissue by Dusty Groove America. A noted jazz-o-phile, Cosby played electric piano on the album, and the track above was sampled by A Tribe Called Quest on their song "We Can Get Down."
Starting his career on the Canadian high-school drama Degrassi, Drake has achieved much greater fame as a rapper, selling over 5 million albums worldwide. You can also thank his song "The Motto" for popularizing the term "YOLO."
8. Scarlett Johansson
Johansson started her musical career with an ambitious project-- an album of Tom Waits covers that has an interesting pre-Lana-Del-Rey vibe. Since then, she's released an album with Pete Yorn and covered artists as diverse as Jeff Buckley and Serge Gainsbourg.
7. Jason Schwartzman
The lovable Wes Anderson staple shares the director's love of '60s pop, fronting his own Beach Boys-worshiping project Coconut Records (he even did the theme song to "Bored to Death.)
6. Jack Black
With Jack Black, it's kind of a chicken-and-egg question-- which came first, the music or the movies? Whether playing a rock and roll teacher in School of Rock or this year's Sasquatch! music festival with his band Tenacious D, Black's a natural at both mediums.
5. Steve Martin
A long-time banjo aficionado, Martin brought his Steep Canyon Rangers to the Snoqualmie Casino last year. He's even won two Grammys for his picking prowess.
4. Jeff Bridges
Simply put, Jeff Bridges is a badass, on-screen and off. After winning an Oscar for his performance of country singer Otis "Bad" Blake in 2009's Crazy Heart, he recorded an album (his second) with legendary producer T. Bone Burnett and even played Chateau Ste. Michelle winery.
3. Jenny Lewis
Both founders of Rilo Kiley got their start as child actors, singer Jenny Lewis starring in The Wizard and guitarist Blake Sennett appearing in Salute Your Shorts and Boy Meets World. But Lewis has gone on to shine as a solo artist. I'll take Rilo Kiley over She & Him any day.
2. William Shatner
The Star Trek titan first forayed into music in 1968 with the spoken-word album The Transformed Man, which compared Shakespeare to contemporary pop like "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and "Mr. Tambourine Man." His trademark spoken delivery led to the best cover of Pulp's "Common People" of all time.
1. Ryan Gosling
In addition to winning the hearts of approximately 90 percent of America's young ladies, RyRy GosGos has a band that's not to be sneered at, the entrancing Dead Man's Bones. You'd never guess their Halloween-ish stylings, enhanced by a children's choir, were the work of a famous actor.
Who's your favorite actor-turned-singer? Add 'em in the comments!