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The 22 strangest novelty songs ever released by TV actors

Gomez Addams rapping in the 1960s? Frank Zappa making a song with Robin? Pop music was a weird, wonderful place.

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Many television actors fancy themselves pop stars. A handful of them, such as Jackie Gleason and Jim Nabors, sell millions of records, while others like Tina Louise, Lynda Carter and Nichelle Nichols hold their own with respectable jazz platters.

And then there are the rest. 

As long as TV has existed, record labels have tried to transfer star power from the small screen to vinyl. Remember, big companies like CBS and Warner Bros. have long been in both the music and television games. Throwing a recording session at some handsome face from a popular Western is pure marketing synergy. But the results are not always golden.

Here are some of the weirdest, most strangely fascinating pop singles recorded by TV actors.

1

Nick Adams - "Bull Run"

1960

In the late-'50s, early-'60s, "rebels" were hot. (See: "He's a Rebel.") This hunky star of The Rebel had also appeared in Rebel Without a Cause. Double credibility! Adams was also pals with Elvis Presley. Unfortunately, the friendship seems to have adversely influenced his husky singing style, which borders on a parody of the King.

Image: The Everett Collection

2

John Astin - "Wallflower Pete"

1965

Gomez Addams rapping in the midst of the British Invasion? Oh, it happened. Believe it or not.

Image: The Everett Collection

3

Scott Baio - "What Was in That Kiss?"

1982

Perhaps it is no surprise that a sitcom centered around the rock & roll era would produce a clutch of aspiring singers. Yet, the trio of Happy Days fellows on this list fancy themselves soulful lovers. If you listen closely to this second lovesick single from the teen idol, you can practically hear the dogs howling miles away. Or maybe that's just our imagination.

Image: RCA / Discogs

4

James Best - "Flash"

1982

Git! Git! Git! The man who played Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane unleashes his entire battery of catchphrases in this tribute to his sleepy basset hound, Flash. John Schneider and Tom Wopat both released a slew of albums, so the musical bug was going around The Dukes of Hazzard set.

Image: The Everett Collection

5

Bill Bixby & Brandon Cruz - "Daddy What If?"

1970

Before he Hulked out, Bixby was the father on The Courtship of Eddie's Father. He and his young costar team up on this downright bizarre duet. A young boy imagines the apocalypse against the constant reassurances of his father. "Daddy, what if the grass stop growin'… what if I stop lovin' you?" little Cruz asks. "Well, if you wanna keep the world goin' well, you better start loving me again," Bixby… threatens?

Image: MGM Records / Discogs

6

Danny Bonaduce - "I'll Be Your Magician"

1973

In 1973, Bonaduce was 14 years old. Someone had the creepy idea to have the teenager coo lines like, "Touch you softly with my magic wand," and, "Honey, I'll make love to you." See if you can make it to the slide-whistle solo.

Image: Lion Records / Discogs

7

Edd "Kookie" Byrnes - "Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)"

1959

Two stars for the price of one! The handsome leading man from 77 Sunset Strip partners with Connie Stevens of Hawaiian Eye for a single just sick with 1950s slang. "I've got smog in my noggin, ever since you've made the scene," Byrnes proclaims. "You're the ginchiest."

Image: Warner Bros. / Discogs

8

Edgar Buchanan - "Phantom 309"

1967

Uncle Joe Carson from the Petticoat Junction weaves a tall tale about a ghost trucker. "Lord, I was sure glad to hear those air brakes come on," he says. But the driver… is dead! Duh duh dunnn.

Image: Dot Records / Discogs

9

William "Billy" Katt - "A Girl Like You"

1982

The "Greatest American Hero" is all Oates, no Hall on this gooey slab of early-'80s hairbrush-pop. The actor had the misfortune of competing against his own theme song, the brilliant "Believe It or Not."

Image: RCA / Discogs

10

Cheryl Ladd - "Think It Over"

1978

Ladd swooped in to replace Farah Fawcett on Charlie's Angels, and the bombshell blonde immediately set forth establishing a disco career. Frankly, she avails herself of the opportunity quite nicely, delivering a guilty pleasure of 1970s radio fodder.

Image: Capitol Records / Discogs

11

David McCallum - "Communication"

1966

"Would you girls mind stepping off my motorcycle?" British rock & roll never sounded so posh. The Scottish actor Illya Kuryakin of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. thinks he reading Shakespeare, while the backup singers must be auditioning for Schoolhouse Rock.

Image: Capitol Records / Discogs

12

Mr. T - "Mr. T's Commandment"

1984

B.A. Baracus shouts at children about respecting their parents. The Fat Boys were not losing any sleep over it.

Image: Columbia Records / Discogs

13

Roger Moore - "Where Does Love Go"

1965

Before sipping shaken martinis, Moore was the dashing Englishman on Maverick and The Saint. This — poetry recital? — is disappointingly sleepy for a man who made James Bond so joyously camp.

Image: CBS / Discogs

14

Donny Most - "All Roads (Lead Back to You)"

1976

"I've heard all roads lead to Rome, but I've found all roads lead to you." So delivers Ralph Malph of Happy Days. We doubt that line would even work in Arnold's.

Image: United Artists Records / Discogs

15

Leonard Nimoy - "A Visit to a Strange Planet"

1967

The Star Trek icon is best known for his immortal novelty tune "The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins," but we wanted to focus on his first single. "A Visit to a Strange Planet" tries to pack a Twilight Zone into three minutes, though you see the twist coming from the first line. Spoiler: This sad, post-apocalyptic orb? It's Earth!

Image: Dot Records / Discogs

16

Poncie Ponce - "Ten Cent Perfume"

1961

The Maui native lent credibility to Hawaiian Eye, and Warner Bros. wisely had its ukulele-playing cab driver cut some records. We could not find "Ten Cent Perfume" online, so instead we offer "When Hilo Hattie Does the Hilo Hop" off his album Poncie Ponce Sings.

Image: Warner Bros. / Discogs

17

Telly Savalas - "If"

1974

Savalas released five studio albums between 1972 and 1980. "If," from his third outing, Telly, was a curiosity that saw the actor sensually reciting the lyrics to Bread's 1971 hit over easy listening music. The Shatner-esque song flopped in the States, but took the No. 1 position on British pop charts for two weeks in March 1975.

Image: MCA Records / Discogs

18

William Shatner - "The Transformed Man"

1968

The most iconic novelty album by an actor of course belongs to Shatner. Decca opted to release the closing title track as the single over his paranoid, hammy Dylan and Beatles covers. Check out our complete history of William Shatner's musical career.

Image: Decca / Discogs

19

Burt Ward - "Boy Wonder I Love You"

1966

The popularity of Batman led to a slew of novelty records, including a single by Burgess Meredith as the Penguin called "The Capture" / "The Escape." Most interesting of all was Burt Ward's release, "Boy Wonder I Love You," which was written, arranged and conducted by a young Frank Zappa. "I'm making a gum wrapper chain to symbolize my love for you," Robin reads from a fan letter.

Image: MGM / Popsike

20

Dennis Weaver - "Girls (Wuz Made to Be Loved)"

1959

Hear the Gunsmoke actor, who would later headline McCloud, like you've never heard him before. Specifically, hear him sound like Don Knotts mocking Buddy Holly.

Image: The Everett Collection


21

Adam West - "Miranda"

1966

"Would you like to see me make my muscles dance?" the superhero asks. West keeps the camp tone intact in this Batman love ballad. The song also introduces the villain AC/DC, which has nothing to do with the band.

Image: 20th Century Fox Records / Discogs

22

Anson Williams - "Deeply"

1977

Williams is the final member of the Happy Days triumvirate on our list. Potsie digs "deeply down inside of me" to express his treacly feelings. This love song couldn't be more '70s if it were Rosie Greer doing needlepoint.

Image: Chelsea Records / eBay

SEE MORE: THE 40 BEST TELEVISION SOUNDTRACK ALBUM COVERS

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