Thanks to the work of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays noted—nearly 100 years ago—that sex sells, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that there is a buttload of money to be made in pornography. That's great for young stars, but what happens when looks fade and one finds little work? Many feel they can make the leap from fucking on film to filling up the big screen, but that has only happened for a rare few. What is someone with a small following of fans to do, besides start a cult? Well, screw Hollywood! Try getting another big break in the movie industry's bastard cousin: the music industry.
Of the tens of thousands of sex workers who have bared it all in front of a camera, less than 1,000 have made a decent life of it. Of those few, almost 100 of them thought music was a good way to stay in the limelight. During the "porno chic" era of the 1970s, many adult stars knew they could only pull off a handful of movies before skin flicks went back to being seen as watched only by dirty old men. Some saw their future, and it was in a recording booth rather than spread eagle on bed sheets.
Marilyn Chambers performed in less than a dozen movies before her (first) exit out the biz in 1984. In that time, she went from porn star, to bit characters in a few major film productions (David Cronenberg's Rabid), and back to porn.
During her brief time trying to make it in Hollywood, she thought a disco 12" might help her get a bit more notice. Released on Roulette Records in 1976, "Benihana" is a soul-funk nightmare of syncopated bass, sexy sax, and breathy vocals.
In the 1970s, though straight porn was hip enough to openly discuss on late night talk shows, gay porn was still very much underground. Even so, Village People producer Jacques Morali thought to enlist gay porn star Wade Nichols (born Denis Paso) into collaborating on a full album.
Like an Eagle was released by Casablanca Records in 1979 under the Paso alias Dennis Parker, and the title track is considered a classic disco cut.
Starting with an Italian radio show in the '70s, Cicciolina was already a big name in Europe when she decided to do porn in 1983. She was one of the few stars who got many of her side projects going before her work in adult films. Under her real name, Ilona Staller, she ran for Italian Parliament in 1979, but wasn't voted in until 1987—even offering to screw Saddam Hussein for peace in 1990.
The year before getting political, she dropped her self-titled LP (also under her real name) through RCA. Picking up where Marilyn Chambers left off, the album is another hodgepodge of sexed-up funky soul, where she even covers Chambers' "Benihana."
Thanks to home video, the 1980s brought pornography out of theaters and into living rooms. Ginger Lynn was a huge name in sex films throughout this time. Though she became known as the "DP Queen" for some time, she later found work in legitimate movies (Buried Alive and The Devil's Rejects), television (NYPD Blue and Silk Stalkings), and was even engaged to Charlie Sheen.
At the height of her porn career, she released a 12" in 1986—following the likes of Cher and Madonna—under the simple name: Ginger.
Another big name in the '80s was Traci Lords (born Nora Louise Kuzma), but you had mostly heard of her only in whispers. You see, Miss Kuzma thought to get a fake ID in 1984, and started doing sex films at only 14 years of age. After getting caught, all of her early work was deemed child pornography and completely banned (with the exception of Traci, I Love You, filmed two days after her 18th birthday). Still, it didn't stop her from using that infamy to get roles in movies (Cry-Baby and Serial Mom) and TV (Melrose Place).
In '92, after meeting DJ Rodney Bingenheimer of Rodney on the ROQ fame (who got her to sing on the Ramones' "Somebody to Love" and "Little Baby Nothing" by Manic Street Preachers), she felt that music was now her calling, and soon unleashed a pretty good techno album. Titled 1,000 Fires, the 1994 LP spawned Lords a few club hits with "Control" and "Fallen Angel."
While Kid Rock asked African-American porn star Midori to sing at a few live shows—and she recorded a song or two of her own—the most famous porn-to-music black starlet would have to be Heather Hunter. Raised in NYC's Bronx borough, she was discovered dancing by adult star Hyapatia Lee, and began performing in sex films in 1988.
Though she was involved in a few house tracks in the early-'90s, like "I Want it All Night Long"...
...she hadn't found her musical footing until she tried her hand at rapping, with 2005's CD/DVD Double H: The Unexpected.
To bring this piece a little more up-to-date, as well as make it a lot more humorous, I'd like to end on two partners in porn: Christopher Zeischegg and ex-Dead to Fall bassist Chad Fjerstad, who produced and performed in porno under the names Danny Wylde and Chad Alva, respectively. After dicking around for a bit, they decided to form a synth-metalcore duo, and hence was born Chiildren.
Releasing their debut five-song EP, The Other People, in 2012, their newest EP, The Circle Narrows, was released in 2015, but their social media pages haven't been updated since, and the band seems to be defunct.
Today, porn is back in the mainstream. Many of the classics are available on Blu-ray, and contemporary porn stars become household names. With some skin flicks having million dollar budgets, certain adult actors and actresses may never have to work again, let alone look to music to make a buck. But, lovers of filth, have no fear, as there are literally dozens of compilations out there that gather up lost tunes once belted out by those who took it in. So, if you think you can never get enough, think again, pervert.