Miami Sound Machine: 16 Best Musical Guest Stars on 'Miami Vice'
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James Brown and Gene Simmons of Kiss. Michael Putland/Getty; Chris Walter/Getty

Cigarette boats, Ferrari Testarossas, pastel suits, postmodern condos, stubble — Miami Vice, which debuted 30 years ago, helped to inspire, popularize and glamorize any number of Reagan-era trends. And when the decade was over, so was this fashionable Sunshine-State cop show: Vice's five-year run ended on cue in 1989, right as the Gipper was leaving office and Seinfeld and The Simpsons were launching. It went from defining the MTV aesthetic on network TV to instantly becoming a shorthand for the excesses of Eighties entertainment.


Music, of course, was integral to Miami Vice in every way — including its casting. Some of the series' most memorable villains were played by moonlighting musicians making their acting debuts, while a diverse cross-section of artists from El Debarge to Suicidal Tendencies were given the platform via performance scenes built into the plot. Here's a look at the show's most memorable musician cameos — the good, the bad and that WTF appearance of the Godfather of Soul.