“Do you think we’re alone,” a stargazing girl asks at the beginning of this music video. “I wish someone would just send us a sign.” Someone does, but unfortunately the sign is only William Shatner, appearing in the stars to sing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” No doubt this answered all the girl’s questions.
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.
Ever since we first reported on William Shatner’s new covers album back in February (then the word was it was all-metal), we’ve been dying to find out what it sounded like. Now we know. Captain Kirk chooses all songs about space and brings a ton of special guests along to help on Seeking Major Tom. We’ll have our full review tomorrow, so for now, listen at Soundcloud.
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 just the past few months, we’ve heard an unprecedented number of Foo Fighters covers. We had “Floaty” by a violinist (Petra Haden). European choir Scala and Kolacny Brothers took on an old favorite, “Everlong.” We even heard a rumor that William Shatner will be recording a metal cover of “Learn to Fly.” With this latest reimagining of Foo Fighters’ new hit off of their April release Wasting Light, the Foos continue their streak of being one of the most covered bands we write about!
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).
Last month we posted a lengthy defense of William Shatner’s much-derided “Rocket Man” video. One argument was that Shatner knew perfectly well that it was ridiculous. He wanted you laughing at him. Further proof of his brilliant ability to mock himself came last night on George Lopez when he Rocket Man-ed up Cee-Lo Green’s oft-covered “Fuck You.” Turns out there is no one better at making fun of William Shatner than…William Shatner.
Any artists who have not yet hopped aboard the “Fuck You” locomotive: Sorry, but this train has left the station. Shatner’s deadpan drawl and glorious cursing deliver the definitive cover. It’s Shatner at his finest. This right here is must-see Internet. Check out the video below and, for take-away hilarity, snag the MP3 too.
In Defense takes a second look at a much maligned cover artist or album and asks, “Was it really as bad as all that?” Check out past installments here.
William Shatner’s take on the classic Elton John/Bernie Taupin tune “Rocket Man” has an awesome power—people know it without ever having heard it. It seems to exist in our culture purely as a punchline, a go-to gag to illustrate the depth to which Shatner’s career had fallen post-Star Trek. And this is a joke everybody’s in on—sources as diverse as Beck (in his video for “Where It’s At“), Freakazoid, and Family Guy have all taken a few shots at Shatner for this one. But is it really so awful?
At the very least, there’s no denying that Shatner’s “Rocket Man” is very, very weird. The man who was Captain Kirk performed this song as a tribute to Bernie Taupin at the 1978 Saturn Awards ceremony, and audiences have wondered why ever since. Before we get too far into discussing this strange cover, let’s take a look at the video.