Most people think Bruce Willis‘ career as an entertainer began when he battled Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber in 1988’s Die Hard. In fact, some 18 months prior and 30 years ago today, Willis dropped his debut album via Motown: The Return of Bruno. Featuring a collection of R&B covers complete with reverb-laden guitars, horns, synthesizers and corny backing vocals, the album received mixed reviews but managed to land a respectable number five spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with Willis’ rendition of “Respect Yourself.” When it comes to crossing over from the silver screen to vinyl (and back again), Willis is in good company. Here’s a look at some of the most notable Hollywood crossovers.
The Return of Bruno was Bruce Willis’ debut album and featured backing musicians including Booker T. Jones and The Temptations. It was released on Motown and accompanied Willis’ 1987 HBO mockumentary of the same name. He has put out two albums since then, in addition to contributing to movie soundtracks.
Steve Martin has played the banjo from a young age and made the instrument a central part of his comedy routines beginning in the 1970s. His album The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo was released in 2009 and won a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album, and his collaboration with Edie Brickell has produced two albums and a bluegrass musical, Bright Star.
Since forming in 1998, Oscar winner Jared Leto’s band 30 Seconds to Mars has sold over 15 million albums worldwide. In 2011, the band made the Guinness Book of World Records for playing the most concerts during a single album cycle.
Billy Bob Thornton
Golden Globe winner Donald Glover’s music career, under the moniker Childish Gambino, is as acclaimed as his career as a performer and showrunner. His 2014 album Because the Internet was nominated for two Grammys while his most recent album, Awaken, My Love!, debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200.