Area Resident’s Stylus Counsel | They Got The Touch

Track 215 | Boogie Nights, True Connections & more porn-star crossovers.

I will never, ever tire of that scene in Boogie Nights where Dirk Diggler — after being fired by filmmaker Jack Horner — decides the time is right to finally pursue his dream of being a rock star, and not just a porn star.

With singer-songwriter Michael Penn in a bit part as “Nick the engineer,” we watch as Dirk lays down vocals for a demo of You Got The Touch and then rehearses something seemingly called Feel My Heat, with his Flying V-playing porn pal Reed Rothchild. Rothchild is played by John C. Reilly, who actually co-wrote Feel My Heat with the film’s writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson. Cringe comedy gold.

What makes this even better is the fact that Diggler is portrayed by Mark Wahlberg — aka Marky Mark, someone who can actually sing. It got me thinking about the real-life porn stars who have attempted a music industry crossover. I found a bunch, and most of them are delightfully awful. Some highlights:


Now 72 years old, the Hungarian-Italian former porn star’s real name is Ilona Staller. She started making adult films in the early 1970s and recording music in 1979 — the same year she ran for the Italian parliament as a member of the Green Party. In 1985 she switched to the Radical Party — a libertarian party which stood against nuclear energy and NATO. She was elected in 1987 and now receives a pension because she served four years. She’s inspired a comic strip, hosted a radio show and started an Italian political party (The Love Party) which was pro same-sex marriage and brothels. She also ran in several municipal elections.

Andrea True

Andrea True died in 2011 at the age of 68. She began making adult films in Europe in the 1960s, with her first American appearances happening in 1969. Her U.S. breakthrough role was in 1972’s Head Nurse. A classically trained pianist, True started a music career as Andrea True Connection in 1976 and embraced disco. Tired of making pornography, she threw herself into recording and performing music — playing more than 300 shows her first year and being named one of the top disco artists in 1977. In her later years, she worked as a counsellor for people with substance abuse problems.

Traci Lords

A bonafide porn legend, Traci Lords (Nora Louise Kuzma) is now 58 years old but made her last adult film shortly after her 18th birthday. Between 1984 and 1986 she made dozens of films, mostly as an underage performer. In 1988 she transitioned to mainstream films and TV, appearing in John WatersCry-Baby (1990), The Tommyknockers (1993) with Johnny Depp, TV’s Married… With Children and Melrose Place. Her music career started to take off in 1992 when she signed a deal with Capitol Records. She recorded with The Ramones and Manic Street Preachers, and had a track on the Pet Sematary 2 soundtrack. She put out a handful of singles, an EP and one LP in 1995 called 1000 Fires.

Marilyn Chambers

Chambers was once the face of Ivory Snow laundry soap, but the company brought in a different model for the label after she started making adult films in the early 1970s — namely, Behind The Green Door in 1972. She made many appearances but longed for a mainstream career. Finally, she was cast in David Cronenberg’s 1977 film Rabid. She also started working in theatre. Her recording career began in 1976 with the disco single Benihana (which actually plays in the background in one scene of Rabid). Chambers sang the theme song for her 1980 adult film Insatiable and again in 1999’s Still Insatiable. She often sang country as well — she was the lead vocalist of the group Haywire (not that one) and sang in her role in the 1983 adult film Up ‘N Coming, about a country singer. Chambers had heart disease and died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1999 at the age of 56.

Dennis Parker

Born Dennis Posa, Parker made several adult films under the name Wade Nicols, including Captain Lust and Manhole. My mom would never have watched those, but she for sure saw his mustachioed face when he was in the cast of daytime soap The Edge of Night in the early 1980s. The stereotypical ’70s porn star, Parker also cut some disco tunes, including the single Like An Eagle in 1979. Parker died young, just six years later at age 38.

Sasha Grey

Born Marina Ann Hantzis,  Grey made her first pornographic film shortly after her 18th birthday in 2006. She continued making films until she turned 21 — but still did modelling. She made a major crossover to mainstream by appearing in Steven Soderburgh‘s 2009 film The Girlfriend Experience. Her musical career began in 2008 when she formed the industrial collaborative group aTelecine. She left the group in 2013 and has made several guest appearances with other artists since. Chris & Cosey (of Throbbing Gristle) remixed one of her songs, Consequences of Love, which she contributed to the Death In Vegas album Transmission. She regularly performs as a DJ.

Heather Hunter

Double-H was born in 1969 and started doing pictorials in adult magazines in the late 1980s, followed by pornographic films. One of few performers to use her real name, Hunter also was a regular dancer on Soul Train. She got started as a professional musician in the early 1990s — initially doing house music, signed to Island Records. She put out a rap LP in 2005 called Double H: The Unexpected. A skilled artist, she opened her own gallery in 2006 and wrote a novel in 2007.

Lolo Ferrari

French performer Lolo Ferrari — born Ève Valois in 1963 — was considered by Guinness to be the woman with the largest breast implants in the world. Her husband, a former drug dealer, got her involved in prostitution and encouraged her many plastic surgeries — going to a 71-inch bust from a 37 via 22 enlargements. This is when she adopted the name Lolo, which is French slang for breasts. She made a handful of adult films and tried to launch a pop career in the mid-’90s with her album Airbag Generation.

Sadly, neither of the two Boogie Nights soundtrack albums included Diggler’s You Got The Touch, though Feel My Heat is on Vol. 1. Mostly, they are loaded with disco era and early-’80s bangers, as well as original music by Penn. Here’s a playlist of some notable adult performers who had a musical foray…

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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.