Friday Fun: Top 10 Rock Star Cameos

This list isn't about acting, it's not about Oscar nominations or critical appreciation. It's about what happens when the worlds of Rock and Roll and Movies collide.

Ultimate Guitar

This list isn't about acting, it's not about Oscar nominations or critical appreciation. It's about what happens when the worlds of Rock and Roll and Movies collide.

As such there are a few qualifiers: These are cameos only, fleeting yet memorable appearances, no leading or supporting roles, and most importantly no half measures. In their brief time on the screen they need to steal the scene because, come on, they're rock stars.

10. Ozzy Osbourne "Little Nicky" (2000)

YouTube preview picture

Coming off the back of a hugely successful run for Adam Sandler that begun with "Billy Madison" (1995) and perhaps ended with "Big Daddy" (1999), "Little Nicky" is the first Sandler - starring film from his Happy Madison production house. It also "coincidentally" signaled a downturn in the quality of his output. Despite a lineup including Harvey Ketiel, Rodney Dangerfield and Henry Winkler, with SNL alumni; Lovitz, Carvey, Nealon and McKean, laughs were few and far between. But who else are you going to call when you need someone to bite the head off a talking CGI bat?

9. Lemmy "Airheads" (1994)

YouTube preview picture

Another film featuring Sandler, though this time in a smaller role. Band mates Steve Buscemi and Brendan Frasier join him as they take a radio station hostage in order to get their record played. In the film's Spartacus moment, look who was editor of the school magazine. Credited as "Lemmy Von Motorhead", "who'd win in a restling match, Lemmy or God?", "trick question, Lemmy is God!."

8. Elvis Costello (& Burt Bacharach) - "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" (1999)

YouTube preview picture

Following Bacharach's cameo in the original Austin Powers film, he's joined here by Mr Elvis Costello. Bacharach isn't quite rock and roll enough to make this list on his own, but Mr Costello can rock with the best of them. Although this cameo is fairly incidental, Bacharach and Costello help provide one of the film's sweeter moments as Austin Powers (Mike Myers) and Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham) dance to the tune of the Bacharach and Elvis's "Never Fall In Love Again".

7. Flea - "Back To The Future" 3 (1990)

YouTube preview picture

Sorry Anthony Keidis, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers cameo crown is awarded to Michael Balzary, or more commonly known as, Flea. Appearing in a number of films including the Coen Brother's cult comedy favourite "The Big Lebowski" and the earlier "Back To The Future II", here Flea reprises his role as the perennial McFly - bothering Needles. Flea amps up the crazy in his short yet important role. If it weren't for his taunts of "chicken!" then McFly wouldn't have learned a valuable lesson, and we may not have had the oft-overlooked "BTTF III" at all.

6. The White Stripes - "Coffee And Cigarettes" (2003)

YouTube preview picture

Jack and Meg get a segment all to themselves in Jim Jarmusch's film featuring a series of discussion over, you guessed it, "Coffee And Cigarettes". This selection is possibly testing the cameo definition as above, but due the vignette style of the piece it just about qualifies. In the segment, Jack shows Meg his Tesla Coil (not a euphemism) while The Stooges plays in the background. Further rock-connection fun: the inventor of the Tesla Coil, Nikola Tesla, went on to be played by another rocker, David Bowie, in the prestige, though in more than a cameo.

5. Iggy Pop "Dead Man" (1995)

YouTube preview picture

Two in a row for director Jim Jarmusch. "Dead Man" stars Johnny Depp in this meditative, existential (don't let that put you off!) take on the Western. Depp is fantastic here and with the help of native american Gary Farmer as his guide and Neil Young's clanging score, the atmosphere is positively surreal. The surrealism is amped-up further when Iggy Pop appears, dressed in a bonnet, to investigate Depp's wanderer around the campfire.

4. Billy Idol "The Wedding Singer" (1998)

YouTube preview picture

Perhaps not the best film and perhaps not the best acting performance on the list (sorry Billy), but this cameo is certainly memorable. Billy helps save the day in this third (and final) appearance from Adam Sandler on this rundown. It's hard not to feel affection for this love letter to the '80s with a killer soundtrack and nostalgia-a-plenty; "Billy Idol gets it, I dunno why she doesn't get it".

3. David Bowie - "Zoolander" (2001)

YouTube preview picture

It's clear that comedies in particular are fond of a cameo or two, but how many of them get David-freaking-Bowie? Often (wrongly)overshadowed by Anchorman, "Zoolander" is comedy gold and a biting satire of the fashion industry. So who better to call when a walk-off judge is required than David Bowie, the man who once wrote a song about the banality of the fashion industry? Bowie doesn't do a lot here, he doesn't have to, his mere presence is enough.

2. Alice Cooper - "Wayne's World" (1992)

YouTube preview picture

"WE'RE NOT WORTHY!" Perhaps the most successful film to be based on a Saturday Night Live sketch, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey star as MTV-style presenters and music obsessives, Wayne and Garth. As absurd as Wayne's World can get, who was expecting a history lesson about Milwaukee From Alice Cooper? "Does this guy know how to party or what!".

1. Bruce Springsteen "High Fidelity" (2000)

YouTube preview picture

In Stephen Frears' adaptation of Nick Hornby's book, John Cusack plays Rob Gordon, a music obsessive with a penchant for forming lists. So seeing as this is a list about movies and music, it's only fitting that this cameo from "The Boss" is top of the pile. Springsteen (in a rare movie appearance) appears like a guardian angel, strumming his guitar, in this fourth wall-breaking cameo to offer some sage advice to our hero Rob: "Give that big final good luck and goodbye to your all-time top-five and just move on down the road".

So, who made the best cameo? Leave your comments in the section below.

Thanks to TopTenFilmz for the list.

105 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Where is the hell is Dio in The Pick of Destiny movie?
    and meat loaf!!! and dave grohl!!
    Dio isn't a cameo! A cameo is a role by a famous person (not an actor) in which they do NOT play the role of themself. Dio just did himself on the poster. Meatloaf and Dave however should definitely be up here!
    Completely incorrect. Most cameos ARE people playing themselves.
    Apologies! I guess I got lost in translation somewhere.
    Hitchcock cameos are the only cameos.
    surely stan lee is as big of a contender for the cameo king award as hitchcock?
    He played Hugh Heffner for 3 seconds in Iron Man. I'd call him a bad ass and a winner based on that role, alone.
    its not music related, but im pretty sure Bill Murray played Bill Murray in Zombieland also. that was classed as a cameo.
    No one has probably ever seen the movie, but Alex Lifeson plays a security gaurd in the movie "Suck". The movie does indeed suck but Alex was funny.
    The Coop
    Alex Lifeson also played an undercover cop in a transvestite prostitution ring in the movie, 'Trailer Park Boys - Countdown to Liquor Day'. He was great in there. He also appeared in the Trailer Park Boys tv series in an episode as himself. Very cool.
    What about Chad Smith in Step Brothers?
    I'm still wondering why Will Farrell's character wasn't the drummer.
    Because Will actually has a decent singing voice if you watch Semi-Pro that's him actually singing.
    Um.. What about Singles, a movie from 1992? It has Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Chris Cornell, Tad Doyle, Alice in mother****ing Chains as cameo appearances
    Jack White as Elvis in Walk Hard was way better than what they have.
    "flea in back to the future 3?" C'mon, UG don't talk movies unless you KNOW them. Flea's best movie role was playing a nhilist in The Big Lebowski... David Bowie as Nicola Tesla in The Prestige was a WAY more notable cameo. Also, Lars playing himself (a scarf wearing douchebag) in Get Him To The Greek is priceless.
    Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden's cameos in Singles are pretty cool, I think. Also, Brent Hinds in Jonah Hex:
    What about Jerry Cantrell in Jerry McGuire? The copy dude that tells Jerry how radical and inspiring his mission statement is.
    "That's how you become great, man...hang your balls out there"
    Meatloaf in fight club
    Or Jared Leto
    neither meatloaf or jared leto were cameos in those movies. they were fully fledged characters. jared leto has been a major character, sometimes even protagonist in loads of films.
    What the hell about Green Day getting killed in the Simpson's Movie?!
    The Simpsons article-picture had me thinking that would be on here. I leave disappointed.
    Or Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, Lenny Kravitz and Tom Petty when Homer goes to Rock 'n' Roll camp? Or when The Who tear down the wall between Olde Springfield and New Springfield?
    Darth Wader
    While I agree with Alice Cooper in Wayne's World, what about Twisted Sister on Pee Wee's Big Adventure?!?! Classic!!!
    Maynard in Crank 2 and Flea in The Big Lebowski!!? AND FUKKN DIO in THE P.O.D.!!!!
    I know these were movie cameos, but Ozzy, Lemmy and Rolb Halford's appearances in the Brutal Legend videogame should be considered I think
    Since nobody seems to have mentioned it, Flea in Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. Not as himself of course, but it was funny to see him lickin drugs (i forget which exactly) off of Johnny Depp's jacket XD
    I never realized that Flea had been in three movies i have seen several times :O.
    Who'd win in a restling match? Restling match. Restling. HONESTLY. How hard is it to spell properly!
    Flea n keidis were in the chase with charlie sheen alson henry rollins has popped up in a lot of movies
    Tom Waits in Dracula. He was also in book of Eli, and he also had a vignette in coffee and cigarettes, if memory serves correct.
    Correct, and if any part of that movie should've been up there it's the scene with him and Iggy Pop, not this one.