The amazing story of Bruce Willis' popstar alter ego Bruno Radolini

6 April 2022, 16:55 | Updated: 14 April 2022, 11:51

Bruce Willis had a pop career back in the 1980s
Bruce Willis had a pop career back in the 1980s. Picture: Alamy/Bruce Willis/Motown

By Naomi Bartram

In the late 1980s Bruce Willis started his career with a rockstar alter ego called Bruno Radolini.

We all know Bruce Willis for his roles in huge Hollywood blockbusters like Die Hard and The Sixth Sense.

But you might not remember he actually tried his hand at singing back in the late 1980s.

In fact, the 67-year-old even had his own rockstar alter ego who went by the name of Bruno Radolini.

Yep, in 1987 Bruce released an album called The Return of Bruno which had 10-tracks and featured famous musicians like the Pointer Sisters and the Temptations.

Bruce Willis and Billy Joel
Bruce Willis and Billy Joel. Picture: Getty Images

It was an R&B album and peaked at an impressive number 14 in the Billboard 200 album chart thanks to his popular single Respect Yourself, which reached number five in the charts.

The song was originally performed by The Staples Singers in 1971, with Bruce remaking it with June Pointer.

He later released follow-up single Young Blood, but this didn’t fare as well, reaching number 68 in the US charts.

However, his track Under the Boardwalk was very popular in the UK and managed to get to number two.

As well as releasing his first album, Bruce also played the character of Bruno in an hour-long mockumentary which aired the same year.

The movie featured music superstars like Elton John, Ringo Starr, and Brian Wilson, all of whom talk about Bruno’s influence on their music.

It also featured footage of Bruno playing various concerts throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, as well as interviews with his former bandmates.

Around the same time The Return of Bruno came out, Willis signed a deal with Seagram's Golden Wine Coolers, which would result in a series of adverts where he can also be heard singing.

Bruce Willis had an alter ego called Bruno
Bruce Willis had an alter ego called Bruno. Picture: Alamy

Unfortunately, Bruno was left behind when Die Hard was released in 1988 and grossed $40million (£30.5million)

But Bruce did release his second album in 1989 which was called If It Don't Kill You, It Just Makes You Stronger.

This featured 10 tracks, including several the actor co-wrote, but there was no mention of Bruno.

Not leaving his singing career behind completely, during the early '90s, Bruce and his then-wife Demi Moore invested in the Planet Hollywood chain.

He often sung at the openings of new restaurants with his blues band the Accelerators.