Long before the Internet treated us to daily doses of celebrities behaving oddly, William Shatner released his infamous spoken-word cover of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Included on his 1968 camp classic The Transformed Man, the song has set a high-water mark for low culture, routinely appearing on “worst of” lists. Though to be fair to the Captain, it’s not as weird as Leonard Nimoy’s ode to Middle Earth, “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.”
The man who was Kirk (and to a lesser extent T.J. Hooker) adds another chapter to his way-out-there-in-the-blue singing career with a cover of the Cramps’ 1980 song “Garbageman.” The track will be included on a forthcoming 64-track compilation from the novelty-record king Dr. Demento, entitled Covered In Punk. The two-CD/three-vinyl set will include punk rock-flavored covers from a wide variety of artists, including Elvira, Moon Unit Zappa, “Weird Al” Yankovic and the original Batman himself, Adam West.
Shatner’s choice of tune fits in well with his legacy as a sex symbol from the flower-power decade. The opening riff from the Cramps’ original sounds like it could have been the theme song to a low-budget ‘60s cop show and includes lyrics from other tracks from the era, such as “Louie, Louie” and “Surfin’ Bird.” Shatner delivers a version that is surprisingly straightforward. He feels like he’s giving a bit of a Dirty Harry impression when he says the word “punk,” but it’s otherwise a perfectly respectable cover. Given Shatner’s usual standards, one cannot help but feel a bit disappointed.
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