Failed attempts by Hollywood actors to achieve success as singers or rappers are plentiful in the history of pop music. Examples of such unsuccessful crossovers abound, from William Shatner's "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (1968) and Eddie Murphy's "Party All The Time" (1985) to the entire musical oeuvres of Bruce Willis, David Hasselhoff and Steven Seagal. But only one prominent example springs to mind in which this familiar formula was reversed, and a lackluster career in music preceded a successful career as a respected actor. That example is the career of the actor Mark Wahlberg, who first gained fame as the rapper Marky Mark, whose #1 hit "Good Vibrations" reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 on this day in 1991.
Mark Wahlberg's musical career began alongside his older brother Donnie as one of the two original members of the New Kids on the Block. Young Mark dropped out of the New Kids before their late-80s breakout, however, becoming involved in petty crime instead. Then in 1991, he began working alongside Donnie toward a career in hip hop, resulting in the album Music For The People. Whether because of the inherent catchiness of a song built around a sample of Loleatta Holloway's "Love Sensations" or because of Wahlberg's eagerness to show off his impressive physique in music videos and live appearances, "Good Vibrations" became an instant smash hit, reaching the top of the pop chart on October 5, 1991.
Fresh from his success as a rapper, Wahlberg put out an exercise video called The Marky Mark Workout: Form… Focus… Fitness and further parlayed his physique into a lucrative contract as an underwear model for Calvin Klein. His move into acting began in 1993 and took off after 1995's The Basketball Diaries and, especially, 1997's Boogie Nights.
Seventeen years after his breakthrough hit as a rapper, Wahlberg declined an opportunity to join the reunited Funky Bunch on a reunion tour. "Not a [expletive] chance," Wahlberg told MTV News in the summer of 2008. "How am I going to explain [Marky Mark] to my kids?" he continued. "I have a few years to think about how to explain it and finesse it. But I do think about it on a daily basis."