The Return of Bruno (album)

The Return of Bruno is the debut studio album by American actor Bruce Willis. Released by Motown Records in January 1987, this album consists of blues, rhythm and blues and soul music sung by Willis, with backing musicians including Booker T. Jones, The Pointer Sisters, and The Temptations. It is a companion piece to an HBO special of the same name, which aired shortly after the album's release. A re-issue was distributed by Razor & Tie in 1997.

The Return of Bruno
BruceWillis - ReturnOfBruno.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 20, 1987
ProducerRobert Kraft
Bruce Willis chronology
The Return of Bruno
If It Don't Kill You, It Just Makes You Stronger
Singles from The Return of Bruno
  1. "Respect Yourself"
    Released: December 1986
  2. "Young Blood"
    Released: May 1987
  3. "Under the Boardwalk"
    Released: May 1987
  4. "Secret Agent Man"
    Released: September 1987
  5. "Comin' Right Up"
    Released: January 1988
Professional ratings
Review scores


The album peaked at number 14 on the US Billboard 200.[2] In the United Kingdom, the album peaked at number 4 on the UK Albums Chart. Willis was awarded a US Gold album in March 1987.

The lead single "Respect Yourself", a duet with June Pointer featuring background vocals by the Pointer Sisters, was a hit. It peaked at number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 7 on the UK Singles Chart and number 8 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart. Follow-up singles "Young Blood" and "Under the Boardwalk" did not fare nearly as well, peaking at number 68 and number 59, in the US respectively. Though "Under the Boardwalk" fared poorly in the US, in the UK the single reached number 2 in the charts and became the UK's 12th best-selling single of 1987. Other singles were released in the United Kingdom, including "Secret Agent Man" (peaked at number 43) and "Comin' Right Up" (peaked at number 73).

Reception and legacyEdit

Reviews of the album were mixed. In February, 1987, People magazine gave the album a B+, while calling Willis' cover of "Under the Boardwalk" "surprisingly okay", noting additionally that the album "shows us that he (Willis) can't shout songs quite as well as Don Johnson. So Springsteen he ain't. Funny he is."[3] AllMusic observes that Willis "doesn't quite have the conviction or skill of the Blues Brothers", adding that The Return of Bruno is today little more than a kitsch artifact.[4]

Track listingEdit

  1. "Comin' Right Up" (Brock Walsh) – 3:30
  2. "Respect Yourself" (Luther Ingram, Mack Rice) (originally by The Staple Singers) – 3:53
  3. "Down in Hollywood" (Ry Cooder, Tim Drummond) (originally by Ry Cooder) – 5:20
  4. "Young Blood" (Jerry Leiber, Doc Pomus, Mike Stoller) (originally by The Coasters) – 4:08
  5. "Under the Boardwalk" (Kenny Young, Arthur Resnick) (originally by The Drifters) – 3:03
  6. "Secret Agent Man / James Bond Is Back" (Steve Barri, P.F. Sloan) / (John Barry) – 4:48
  7. "Jackpot (Bruno's Bop)" (Robert Kraft, Bruce Willis) – 4:12
  8. "Fun Time" (Allen Toussaint) (originally by Joe Cocker) – 3:38
  9. "Lose Myself" (Larry John McNally, Jon Lind) – 3:56
  10. "Flirting with Disaster" (Brock Walsh, Jeff Lorber) – 4:33


Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (1987) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 92
UK Albums (OCC)[6] 4
US Billboard 200[7] 14
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[8] 27

Charting singlesEdit

Year Single Chart Position
1986 "Respect Yourself" Canada Top Singles (RPM)
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 7
US Billboard Hot 100 5
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard) 22
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard) 20
1987 "Young Blood" US Billboard Hot 100 68
"Under the Boardwalk" UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 2
US Billboard Hot 100 59
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard) 20
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard) 72
"Secret Agent Man" UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 43
1988 "Comin' Right Up" UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 73


  1. ^ a b c d AllMusic review
  2. ^ "Bruce Willis - The Return of Bruno: Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Bruce Willis: the Return of Bruno". People Magazine. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  4. ^ "AllMusic Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 340. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ "Bruce Willis Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  7. ^ "Bruce Willis Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  8. ^ "Bruce Willis Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved August 3, 2020.