Eddie Murphy Is Making Music Again. Here Are Some Highlights From His Previous Efforts.

Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 4 2013 2:17 PM

Eddie Murphy Is Making Music Again

Two big developments for fans of Eddie Murphy this week: First, he’s joined Twitter, and second, he’s using it to push a forthcoming reggae album. Here’s the video for his duet with Snoop Lion:

This isn’t the first time Murphy has made a foray into music, of course. In addition to the singing he’s done in his comedy and his acting—from Randy Watson (and his seminal mic drop) and “Buckwheat Sings” to Shrek and his Oscar-nominated performance in Dreamgirls—he’s been putting out music since the ’80s. Between 1985 and 1993, he released three full solo albums, calling in some of the biggest names in pop—among them Stevie Wonder, Rick James, Nile Rodgers, and Michael Jackson—to collaborate with him.

To get you caught up, here is a very brief primer on the musical career of Eddie Murphy thus far.

Murphy’s first and biggest hit by a wide margin is “Party All the Time” (1985), written with Rick James. The song, from his first album How Could It Be, was a commercial success, reaching No. 2 on the Hot 100:

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In 1989 he followed How Could It Be with his second album as a musician, So Happy, which featured production from Nile Rodgers and bass from Randy Jackson. This time his hit was the seemingly Prince-inspired “Put Your Mouth on Me,” which centers around Eddie doing a pretty good Prince or Michael Jackson. It was no “Party All the Time,” but it did make it to No. 27:

Murphy was the subject of plenty of mockery for his first two albums, but his biggest failure was 1993’s psychedelic Love’s Alright, which featured covers of U2 (“One”), the Beatles (“Good Day Sunshine”), and more, plus an all-star single for charity. Let’s hope his reggae album turns out better than his collaboration with Michael Jackson on “Whatzupwitu,” one of the most WTF music videos of all time:

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer.