A couple of weeks ago, I gave you my thoughts on 10 country music artists who had successfully tipped their toes into the film and TV waters. Since then, one of the most added tunes at country radio has been “Country Strong” from Gwyneth Paltrow. Over the years, actors such as Kevin Costner, Billy Bob Thornton, and “Marcia Brady” herself, Maureen McCormick have attempted a leap into the country format—-with varying results. With that in mind, here are ten country chart records—mostly from TV and movie stars, but all from very unlikely sources. I am omitting the successful recordings from John Schneider and Tom Wopat, as they had some experience performing music prior to being chased around every backroad in Hazzard County! Let’s take a look.
1. Barbi Benton
Quite possibly the only Playboy centerfold to ever notch a top ten country record (1975’s “Brass Buckles”), the California native had two things in her corner. One, of course, was her long relationship with Playboy owner Hugh Hefner. Also, there was her stint as a Honey on Hee Haw, which gave her wide exposure to country audiences.
2. Terry Bradshaw
The Pittsburgh Steelers QB brought the Hank Williams classic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” back to the country top 20 in 1976. Though he never charted that high again, Bradshaw recorded several more albums over the years, including a very underrated Gospel album with the late Jake Hess a few years back. He won’t ever make the Country Music Hall of Fame, but #12 is a much better singer than you might think.
3. Walter Brennan
The patriarch of The Real McCoys enjoyed one of the biggest hits on country or pop radio in 1962 with the sentimental “Ol’ Rivers.” He recorded several albums for Liberty later in the decade, including a classic Christmas album.
4. George Burns
One of the most talked about hit records on the country charts in 1980 was the legendary comedian’s “I Wish I Was Eighteen Again.” Though Burns charted a trio of records for Mercury Records in 1980-1981, this was by far his biggest hit, and his most touching.
5. John Corbett
The man who set female hearts afire via such series as Northern Exposure and Sex And The City showcased his musical talents with a self-titled album, as well as the well-received single “Good To Go.” Though there were plenty of skeptics, the results were definitely above average.
6. Clint Eastwood
It’s no surprise that “Dirty Harry” makes this list, as many of his movies—from Honky Tonk Man to A Perfect World have had a country lean. He made the chart twice as a vocalist: 1980’s “Barroom Buddies,” a duet with Clint Eastwood, and four years later, with T.G. Sheppard on “Make My Day.”
7. Lorne Greene
Country music and western themes often go hand-in-hand, as TV’s Ben Cartwright notched a pair of chart records in the ’60s, “Reno” and “Waco.” The songs, which were mainly recitations, benefitted from having one of television’s most distinctive voices tell their story.
8. Wink Martindale
One of the all-time great TV game show hosts, Martindale has Tennessee roots. He was born in Jackson, and was one of the pre-dominant DJs of the rock ‘n’ roll era. He just might have played one of his own in 1959, when his cover of “Deck Of Cards” became a multi-format hit!
9. Robert Mitchum
One of Hollywood’s original tough guys, Mitchum enjoyed a top ten record in 1967 with “Little Ole Wine Drinker Me.” Another of his records, “Ballad Of Thunder Road,” has been covered by several country artists over the years, such as Jim & Jesse and Mark Collie.
10. Sissy Spacek
Though she played the legendary Loretta Lynn in Coal Miners’ Daughter, the Oscar-winner made some fine recordings for Atlantic in the early ’80s, including the top 20 “Lonely But Only For You,” which was written by a pre-stardom K.T. Oslin.
Fuente: LimeWire Music Blog