This article originally appeared on gosocial.co
Meryl Streep’s guitar journey began when she took on the role of a rock musician in the 2015 film Ricki and the Flash. To authentically portray the character, she committed herself to learning the guitar. Streep showcased her guitar skills in the movie’s live performances, leaving a lasting impression as a versatile artist dedicated to her craft.
What do you do when you’re getting ready to retire from being one of the greatest ever tennis players? Well, John McEnroe started a band. Shortly before finishing up with playing men’s singles tennis in 1994, McEnroe formed The Johnny Smyth Band. He sang lead vocals and played guitar, a skill he learned from celebrity pals and music icons Eric Clapton and Eddie Van Halen.
Tilda Swinton’s guitar journey began in her teenage years, leading to her mesmerizing performance in 1990 TV series Your Cheatin’ Heart and 2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive. Swinton chooses to play live on set, wholly immersing herself in her character’s musical world. Is there no end to this woman’s talent?
YouTube heavyweight Pewdiepie, a man with over 110 million subscribers, can play the guitar. He demonstrated this to his audience in 2018 with his rendition of Luis Fonsi’s Despacito. Fans were delighted to see Pewdiepie finally play, as the guitar could be seen in the background of his videos for years.
Paul Rudd’s dedication to his roles in This Is 40 and Wanderlust extended to learning to play the guitar. To authentically portray the character, he underwent rigorous guitar training, honing his skills to convincingly depict the character’s passion for music. In the films, Rudd showcases his newfound guitar-playing abilities and still plays casually today.
Lisa Kudrow has demonstrated her guitar-playing skills on several occasions, surprising audiences with her musical talents. One notable instance was when she joined Taylor Swift onstage in 2015 during Swift’s 1989 tour. Of course, Kudrow performed Smelly Cat, a song made famous by Kudrow’s Friends character Phoebe.
Ryan Gosling’s journey as a musician began during his youth, when he discovered his love for the guitar. This led him to form the band Dead Man’s Bones alongside friend Zach Shields, with Gosling on guitar and vocals. Their self-titled album released in 2009 solidified Gosling’s reputation as a multi-talented artist.
Whilst it may not come as a complete surprise that super talented actor Terrence Howard can play the guitar – he has after all played in many music-inspired movies and TV shows over the years – it’s how good Howard is that may be surprising. Howard has mastered the Spanish six-string, a notoriously difficult guitar to learn.
Zooey Deschanel, known best for her acting abilities in the likes of the TV show New Girl, is also an accomplished musician who plays several instruments, including the guitar. She showcases her guitar-playing skills as part of her musical duo She & Him, with the band (also including M Ward) releasing seven albums to date.
Before Hulk Hogan was winning WWF championships, Hogan, real name Terry Bollea, was plying his trade playing the fretless bass guitar. His most successful time as a musician was with a band called Ruckus in 1976. Popular in the Tampa Bay area, Hogan claims he once tried to join Metallica, although his calls were never returned.
Shawshank Prison could not contain Andy Dufresne’s desire for freedom, and Tim Robbins himself can’t contain his passion for playing the guitar. Robbins fronts the band Tim Robbins and The Rogues Gallery Band. The folk-rock group released their debut album in 2010, which featured a blend of storytelling lyrics and music influenced by Americana and folk traditions.
Woody Harrelson’s journey as a guitarist began in his youth, and he’s maintained a deep love for the instrument throughout his life. He’s actively involved in the band Manly Moondog and the Three Kool Kats, where he not only plays the guitar but also contributes to the band’s vocals. The group hold gigs regularly, allowing Harrelson to showcase his guitar skills on stage.
Tom Hiddleston’s commitment to authenticity in 2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive saw him learn a litany of instruments and his guitar work in 2015’s I Saw the Light came from months of mastering Hank Williams’ guitar techniques. This dedication was evident in this compelling performance, where he skilfully portrayed the legendary musician.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Dwayne Johnson’s surprising guitar-playing and singing in the 2016 animated movie Moana as his character, Maui, showcased his versatility. While not a proficient guitar player, The Rock can get by. He would also memorably sing disparaging songs about his opponents in his time with WWE, occasionally taking over the show and holding what he called his ‘Rock Concerts’.
Best known for playing Steve in Stranger Things, Joe Keery has quite a musical past. He began playing guitar in a Chicago-based psych-rock band back in 2015. After leaving the band due to his acting commitments, Keery once again picked up the guitar to record tracks under the pseudonym Djo.
Manny Pacquiao, the legendary boxer, has a lesser-known talent in music. He’s an accomplished singer and guitarist, with a budding music career in his native Philippines. Pacquiao has released several albums featuring his own compositions and covers. His music often touches on themes of love and personal experiences.
It should come as no surprise that Steven Seagal, an action movie star, 7th-dan black belt in aikido and man asked to personally train the Serbian Special Forces, is also an excellent guitar player. Seagal’s particular skill is what is known as tapping, rapid finger movement along the guitar resulting in a distinctive sound.
Chris Hemsworth’s commitment to authenticity led him to learn the guitar long before he found himself wielding a hammer as Thor. Before Hollywood, Hemsworth starred in the Australian soap opera Home and Away, and his character was required to sing and play guitar, something Hemsworth duly trained himself to do.
Mark Ruffalo occasionally picks up the guitar during interviews and charity events, sharing his love for music with fans and demonstrating his passion for the instrument. Ruffalo’s skills can be seen on-screen in the 2013 movie Begin Again, where he stars alongside Keira Knightley.
Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Johnny Cash in 2005’s Walk the Line saw the actor genuinely learn the guitar from scratch. He was determined to do the role justice and struggled so much at first he didn’t know if he could keep playing the character. Thankfully for us, and himself, he mastered the instrument and has never looked back.
Keanu Reeves, star of The Matrix and John Wick, also has an impressive music career. He co-founded the band Dogstar in 1991, playing bass until their 2002 breakup. Dogstar reunited in May 2023 for a performance at the BottleRock Napa Valley music festival. Their highly anticipated album, Somewhere Between the Power Lines and Palm Trees, is scheduled for release in October 2023.
Kevin Bacon boasts a remarkable film career, from Footloose to A Few Good Men. Beyond acting, he’s a talented guitarist who, in 1995, co-founded The Bacon Brothers with his sibling, Michael. Kevin skilfully plays both acoustic and electric guitar in the band.
Actress Emily Blunt has remarkable musical abilities. Beyond her acting prowess, she boasts impressive skills at piano, guitar, and possesses an outstanding vocal range. Blunt’s musical talents extend further as she’s also proficient at playing the cello. Her musical journey commenced at the age of 13, when she embarked on cello lessons at The Sylvia Young Theatre School in London.
Hugh Laurie, renowned for his role as Dr House, is a highly accomplished musician. Proficient in guitar, piano, saxophone, drums, and harmonica, his musical journey began early with piano lessons at age 6, fuelled by a deep love for the blues. Self-taught on multiple instruments, Laurie’s talent led to the release of albums in 2011 and 2013 with his group the Copper Bottom Band.
Kiefer Sutherland’s music career has been a remarkable and unexpected venture. Despite his fame in Hollywood, he pursued a career in country music. Sutherland released his debut album, Down in a Hole, in 2016, where he showcased his talent for storytelling through music. He embarked on nationwide tours, thrilling audiences across the US.
Harry Potter star Tom Felton is a talented guitarist and singer, but his musical talents don’t end there. Proficient at piano, violin, bass guitar, ukulele, harmonica, and the drums, Felton is a walking one-man band. He first learned the guitar at the age of 19 and began uploading music videos to YouTube channel Feltbeats.
King Charles III
The reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, King Charles III, is a music all rounder. He is trained in the cello, piano and guitar. As a young prince, Charles was classically trained at school and even began writing his own music at a young age. Given he is the King, an album or any single release may not be in his future.
Shaun White, a master of the slopes and the half-pipe, has left audiences awestruck with his daring feats at prestigious events like the X Games and the Olympics. However, this multifaceted talent has also showcased his musical prowess on the Lollapalooza stage as a member of the rock group Bad Things.
American actor Dennis Quaid, best known for his work in The Parent Trap and The Day After Tomorrow, is also a skilled guitarist. Quaid has played guitar with his band, the Sharks, since the 80s. He wrote and performed the song Closer to You in the 1987 film The Big Easy.
Comedian and host of The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon uses his guitar skills in a mix of music and comedy. He is often seen on The Tonight Show playing the guitar with guests in a skit, with one of his most famous being his remarkably accurate impersonation of Neil Young. Fallon has released two comedy music albums to date.
Comic heavyweight Adam Sandler will incorporate comedy into his musical numbers, but don’t let that take away from the fact he is super talented at the guitar. Sandler started his career on SNL, where he would routinely play a comedy song, the most famous of which was The Hannukah Song.
Conan O’Brien’s love for guitars goes just beyond playing; he’s a collector too. Skilled in both acoustic and electric, the comedian is often seen on his shows playing along with guests. His shedding ability was first seen by a wider audience when he performed alongside Jack Black on his Conan show in 2018.
Steven King, acclaimed author of horror and suspense novels, has delved into the music world through collaborations with accomplished musicians. He contributed lyrics to songs for artists like Michael Jackson and plays guitar in the band The Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock band comprised of notable authors.
Former WWE pro-wrestler Chris Jericho has added a hard-hitting music career to go along with his hard-hitting wrestling moves. Jericho is the front-man of rock group Fozzy. Fozzy have released eight studio albums and tour across the world regularly. The band even performed at a sold out Wembley Arena in 2023, playing Jericho’s entrance theme as he wrestled for upstart company AEW.
Along with being the star of Aquaman, Jason Momoa can also play guitar. In a lesser seen clip, the native Hawaiian is seen playing the opening chords to Eric Clapton’s Walkin’ Blues at the 2008 Stargate Convention in Burbank. Following the performance, Momoa auctioned off the guitar to raise funds for Make a Wish.
British actress, model and singer Cara Delevingne can do it all. She displayed her guitar playing skills in a rather unique way on The Tonight Show in 2019, however: challenged by host Jimmy Fallon, Delevingne proceeded to play Sweet Home Alabama, albeit behind her back. Call it a party trick, but that has to take some serious skill.
Ricky Gervais, best known for his comedy, also dabbles in music and plays guitar. He was the lead singer of the band Seona Dancing in the 1980s. Although the band’s initial success was limited, Gervais later gained recognition for his comedic musical performances as David Brent from The Office, even touring as the character with his band Foregone Conclusion.
The X-Files’ Fox Mulder, David Duchovny, ventured into music with the release of his debut album, Hell or Highwater, in 2015. The album featured folk and rock influences, showcasing Duchovny’s songwriting skills and ability with a guitar. He followed up with Every Third Thought in 2018.
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow showed why she is one of Hollywood’s top actors after committing to learning how to play the guitar for real for her role in 2010’s Country Strong. In the movie, she plays a country and western singer and went through months of training to pull it off effortlessly on-screen.
Johnny Depp has a notable music career marked by collaborations with renowned artists. He joined forces with rock legends Alice Cooper and Joe Perry to form the band Hollywood Vampires, releasing an eponymous album in 2015. Depp’s guitar skills have also seen him perform with artists like Marilyn Manson and Oasis.