Ace fighter pilot, champion stock car racer, secret agent extraordinaire, barman at TGI Fridays: Tom Cruise has lived exciting lives which we mere mortals can only dream of through his blockbuster acting roles. And yet, from watching the vertically challenged sexy scientologist’s movies over the years, I can’t help but sense that his greatest ambition in life has never been fully realised.
I still haven’t seen Top Gun: Maverick – and I understand he judiciously leaves the theme song to Lady Gaga – but if it doesn’t feature a scene in which Cruise wonkily if gamely sings his little heart out to some sort of vintage rock’n’roll tune then he is selling us all and indeed himself short. The man clearly just wants to sing!
Not content merely packing the soundtracks of his movies with hit songs that can have taken anywhere between three and seven minutes to write – be it Take a Look Around, Limp Bizkit’s butthurt riff on a Lalo Schifrin TV theme classic from 2000’s Mission: Impossible 2, or Paul McCartney’s fantastically lazy Vanilla Sky from 2001’s film of the same name (sample lyric: “Tonight you fly so high up/In the vanilla sky”) – Cruise has on many a memorable occasion grabbed the mic himself, only rarely crashing and burning in the process. Shake your nerves and rattle your brain, with a short history of Tom Cruise singing in films.
Great Balls of Fire – Top Gun (1986)
Whether it’s spectacular aerial dogfights or a very homoerotic beach volleyball match, Cruise’s breakout action classic is full of memorable scenes, including not just one but two where he sings. The best is of course when Mav and Goose and their respective better halves are drunk in a bar, and Goose is banging away at an upright piano with his young son perched on top, and the two BFFs are going ballistic howling Jerry Lee Lewis’s horndog anthem like a right pair of flaming testes. Unbearably wholesome content.
Addicted to Love – Cocktail (1988)