William Shatner will always be known best as Star Trek‘s original Captain James T. Kirk, but the man has also made some significant contributions to the world of music. His particular brand of tune-making isn’t for everyone, but like the best acquired tastes, those who appreciate it do so with their whole hearts. Seriously… there’s an entire Wikipedia page devoted to his musical career.
Shatner hasn’t released an album since 2004’s Has Been, which featured production and arrangements by Ben Folds and musical contributions by Folds, Aimee Mann, Joe Jackson, Henry Rollins, Adrian Below and more. His latest, Searching for Major Tom, was announced a couple of months ago and now the track listing and guest artist lineup has been confirmed on his official website. Shatner has an insanely diverse lineup of cover songs set for the album, with work by everyone from The Police to Hawkwind to Frank Sinatra to U2 to… really folks, it just keeps getting weirder.
That’s the charm of course. If you’re unfamiliar with his musical work, Shatner doesn’t really go for straight-ahead translations. His singing is characterized by the same halting stop-and-start cadence that typified his work on the original Star Trek series, which has been parodied countless times in all corner of pop culture. Elton John’s “Rocket Man” is a particularly famous one, and it will be featured on the upcoming album with former Gong guitarist Steve Hillage.
The other cuts include: “Space Trucking” (by Deep Purple), “She Blinded Me With Science” (by Thomas Dolby), “In A Little While” (by U2), “Empty Glass” (by The Tea Party), “Lost in the Stars” (by Frank Sinatra), “Twilight Zone” (by Golden Earring), “Space Cowboy” (by Steve Miller), “Space Oddity” (by David Bowie), “Spirit in the Sky” (by Norman Greenbaum), “Bohemian Rhapsody” (by Queen), “Silver Machine” (by Hawkwind), “Major Tom” (by Peter Shilling), “Learning to Fly” (by Pink Floyd), “Mr. Spaceman” (by The Byrds), “Iron Man” (by Black Sabbath), “Planet Earth” (by Duran Duran), “Walking On the Moon” (by The Police) and an original track, “Mrs. Major Tom.”
The album will feature musical contributions by Hillage, The Kinks’ Dave Davies, Bootsy Collins, Zakk Wylde, Toots (of Toots & the Maytals), Mike Inez, Peter Frampton, Bill Wetton, Ritchie Blackmore and quite a few others.