“Changes” is not a typical Black Sabbath song. It’s piano-based with a Hammond organ hovering in the background. The tempo is slow, and Ozzy Osbourne’s vocals are remarkably restrained. The 1972 recording doesn’t even merit power ballad status and would not sound out of place on soft rock FM radio.
It’s a rare enough thing to get a full covers album based on a conceptual theme. It is a once-in-a-lifetime cover album when that theme is space and the artist is the man who has boldly gone where no man has gone before. Canadian-born actor, musician, author, producer, and director, William Shatner, aka Captain James T. Kirk from the ’60s TV series Star Trek, is that man.
Set for release this Tuesday October 11, Shatner’s Seeking Major Tom will be available as a one volume digital download, two CDs and three vinyl LP set. The album is being released along with his new book Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large.
In the seven years since he released Has Been, the people have requested – nay, demanded – another William Shatner album. You can only replay that “Rocket Man” video so many times before you need something fresh. Well, as we mentioned back in February, that comes in the form of his metal space-themed covers album (that’s the awesome album art up there). Now we’ve got our first listen, in the form of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” It even features ex-Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde shredding away.
In a time when the Middle East is even less stable than usual, Victoria Faiella brings us an Arabian-themed cover of Black Sabbath’s classic anti-war song. Replacing the guitar and bass with sitar and violin changes the tone from angry to haunting, and Faiella’s vocals contribute to this effect, especially when she wails “oh yeah” at the end of the second verse.
Twice a year, the indie chicks of Girl Crisis sit down in a Brooklyn living room to perform a cover. In the summer months, they honor their gender with a song by a female songwriter. Last summer, for instance, they covered Taylor Dayn’s “Tell It to My Heart.” In the winter, they go for the guys. This winter: Ozzy Osbourne, with Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.”
Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.
• For their LateNightTales mixtape, Texas folk rockers Midlake made some not surprising choices: The Band, Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span. As is tradition in the series, for one song they delivered a cover, and that one proves a more surprising choice: Black Sabbath’s “Am I Going Insane.” In their hands, the Sabotage cut blends in naturally.
MP3: Midlake – Am I Going Insane (Black Sabbath cover)
Trekkies, Hessians and absurdists, the day you didn’t know you’d been waiting for has arrived: William Shatner is working on a metal covers album! L.A. Weekly reports that Mike Inez (Alice in Chains), Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society) and Peter Frampton (Peter Frampton) will be manning the bridge. Other probable guest stars include Steve Howe (Yes), Ian Paice (Deep Purple), Brian May (Queen), Bootsy Collins (Parliament-Funkadelic) and the ghost of Ricardo Montalban (we wish).
Apparently all the songs are to have a “space” or “flying in space” theme. They will include “Space Odyssey” (The Byrds), “Iron Man” (Black Sabbath), “Learn to Fly” (Foo Fighters), “She Blinded Me with Science” (Thomas Dolby) and, inexplicably, “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen).