In the 1980s, Nash Bridges' Don Johnson was a pop star

By: H&I Staff     Posted: August 29, 2023, 2:03PM    Tags: Don Johnson, Nash Bridges

Any career is attainable with a mixture of talent, hardwork and dedication. Don Johnson is one of those lucky people to see success in different career fields. We can see him act alongside Cheech Marin in Nash Bridges and hear him sing through his '80s pop albums. Yes, this is probably breaking news if you didn't know Johnson was a singer. Yet, we're sure many already knew this information because he wasn't just any singer: Johnson was a pop star with a few Billboard hits! 

In September 1986, Johnson was signed to Epic Records and released his debut album titled Heartbeat. The project peaked at #17 on the Billboard 200 Chart and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) by the following year—which means it sold 500,000 copies. This isn't a minor accomplishment; Johnson sold half a million copies (pure sales, which means it was before the streaming era of music). It was hard to reach this milestone in the EIGHTIES!

The title track, "Heartbeat," gave Johnson his first Billboard Hot 100 entry—which happened to become a top 10 record, peaking at #5. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 1987, the actor/singer talked about wanting to be a trendsetter in music.

"I wanted the record to be modern, tough rock, and I think I achieved that on some level. I didn't want it to sound like something that other people designed and I just stopped by for a few minutes to do vocals. And I made it clear to Walter [Yetnikoff, then president and CEO of CBS Records] that I would walk away from it if I didn't think it was credible. I was prepared every step of the way to throw it away and walk away."

We're glad he didn't walk away from his debut album because it set the tone for his musical career and his sophomore album, Let It Roll. It was released on September 20, 1989, by Epic Records and featured background vocals from Barbara "Barbra" Streisand. The singer could be heard on the song "What If It Takes All Night."

Johnson also released a duet with Streisand, his then-girlfriend, titled "Till I Loved You." The single was on her twenty-fifth studio album and was a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

Although Don Johnson didn't star on Nash Bridges until 1996, he was on Miami Vice from 1984 to 1990—which means he juggled being a star in two different industries simultaneously. 



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