Hive Five: Jeff Bridges’ Best Musical Moments

Jeff Bridges performs in Los Angeles, June 2011. Photo: Kevin Winter/WireImage

Whether carrying a movie as a fading country singer in Crazy Heart or crooning “Silver Bells” with Cookie Monster on Saturday Night Live, Jeff Bridges has always had a soft spot for singing and performing. Galvanized by his unanimously admired performance in Crazy Heart, Bridges releases his first album in more than a decade tomorrow. (On the same day, Bridges will reunite with the cast of The Big Lebowski in New York to celebrate that film’s release on Blu-Ray.)

Bridges’ album is hardly a vanity project. Bridges and longtime friend T Bone Burnett‘s collaboration on Crazy Heart prompted the actor to take a year off from film to write and record the album, which includes guitarist Marc Ribot, drummer Jay Bellerose and bassist Dennis Crouch. And as our list below shows, his new record is just the latest in a long musical history for Jeff Bridges. Here are Hive’s personal favorites.

1. Crazy Heart

As aging, itinerant country singer Otis “Bad” Blake, Bridges displayed a brute honesty and emotional resilience that would earn him the Academy Award for Best Actor. Bridges did his own singing and guitar playing in the film, and its soundtrack would eventually go on to win Best Compilation Soundtrack at the 53rd Grammy Awards. [Watch here.]

2. The Big Lebowski

One of the most indelible scenes in the Coen Brothers’ bowling comic noir finds Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski soaring through the sky before a bowling ball hurtles toward him, Raiders of the Lost Ark-style. Bob Dylan’s “The Man in Me,” also heard in the opening title sequence, provides the memorable backdrop to this surreal scene. [Watch here.]

3. Starman

As a DVD extra to this romantic sci-fi film about an alien who assumes the form of a woman’s dead husband, director John Carpenter included this Bridges/Karen Allen duet of the Everly Brothers‘ classic “All I Have to Do is Dream.” The video, in all its ’80s glitz and cheese, intersperses film clips with the two leads’ awkward mic-sharing rendition. [Watch here.]

4. American Heart

We haven’t seen this 1992 indie film about a 12-year-old boy and his fresh-out-of-jail dad either, but anything with a long-haired, ill-moustached Bridges playing “Sunny Side of the Street” on an octave guitar gets our vote. [Watch here.]

5. Tron: Legacy

The middling sequel to the groundbreaking 1982 film polarized audiences, though all seem to agreed that Bridges’ memorable utterance, “It’s bio-digital jazz, maaaan,” is a highlight. Unsurprisingly, the film’s writers told Ain’t It Cool that Bridges himself came up with the line, which has since become MTV Hive’s new mission statement. [Watch here.]