Sunday, May 31, 2020

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: William Shatner - Seeking Major Tom (2011)

Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
William Shatner is a Canadian actor, author, producer, and director. In his seven decades of television, Shatner became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, Captain of the USS Enterprise, in the Star Trek franchise. He has written a series of books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk and being a part of Star Trek, and has co-written several novels set in the Star Trek universe. He has written a series of science fiction novels called TekWar, which were adapted for television. Shatner also played the eponymous veteran police sergeant in T. J. Hooker (1982–86) and hosted the reality-based television series, Rescue 911 (1989–96), which won a People's Choice Award for the Favorite New TV Dramatic Series. Shatner also appeared in the NBC series, 3rd Rock from the Sun in seasons 4 and 5 as the role of the "Big Giant Head" whom the alien characters of the Series reported to. From 2004 until 2008, he starred as attorney Denny Crane in the final season of the legal drama The Practice and its spinoff series Boston Legal, a role that earned him two Emmy Awards. Shatner has also worked as a musician, an author, a director, and a celebrity pitchman.

Shatner began his musical career with the spoken-word 1968 album 'The Transformed Man', delivering exaggerated, interpretive recitations of "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." He performed a reading of the Elton John song "Rocket Man" during the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards that has been widely parodied. Ben Folds, who has worked with him several times, produced and co-wrote Shatner's well-received second studio album, Has Been, in 2004. His third studio album, Seeking Major Tom, was released on October 11, 2011. The fourth, Ponder the Mystery, was released in October 2013 on Cleopatra Records, produced and composed by musician Billy Sherwood (member of Yes). Shatner also has done a concert tour with CIRCA:, which includes an ex and current member of Yes, Tony Kaye and Billy Sherwood.

'Seeking Major Tom' is the fourth studio album by William Shatner. It was released October 11, 2011 in the US by Cleopatra Records. The album features many noted musicians, including Sheryl Crow, John Wetton, Patrick Moraz, Ritchie Blackmore, Alan Parsons, Peter Frampton, Warren Haynes, Nick Valensi, Zakk Wylde, Mike Inez, Chris Adler, Steve Hillage, Steve Howe, Michael Schenker, Dave Davies, Johnny Winter, Brad Paisley, Bootsy Collins, Carmine Appice, Ian Paice, and Toots.
Some actors are multi-talented individuals who not only posses the  ability to perform well in front of a camera but are also blessed with musical skills, playing an instrument and/or singing. Some actors have in fact moved from the acting stage to the performing stage to start a whole new successful career. 

Well, this is NOT the case with Mr Shatner folks, and his monologue uttering's on this album are testament to the fact that he should have stuck to acting. In fact, the first thing he should have said on this release was "Beam me up Scotty" !
So this month's WOCK on Vinyl post not only tick's off the Crazy and Korny boxes but also translates to What Offal Captain Kirk.  Ripped from CD to MP3 (320kps), the post also includes full album artwork. The only thing that saves this release is the all-star list of artists backing Mr Shatner's dribble, as listed below.
1. Major Tom (Coming Home) feat. Nick Valensi (The Strokes)
2. Space Oddity feat. Ritchie Blackmore & Candice Night
3. In A Little While feat. Lyle Lovett
4. Space Cowboy feat. Brad Paisley & Steve Miller
5. Space Truckin feat. Ian Paice (Deep Purple) & Johnny Winter
6. Rocket Man feat. Steve Hillage (Gong / System 7)
7. She Blinded Me With Science feat. Bootsy Collins & Patrick Moraz (Moody Blues)
8. Walking On The Moon feat. Toots Hibbert (Toots & The Maytals)
9. Spirit In The Sky feat. Peter Frampton
10. Bohemian Rhapsody feat. John Wetton (King Crimson / Asia)
11. Silver Machine feat. Wayne Kramer (MC5) & Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge / Rod Stewart)
12. Mrs. Major Tom feat. Sheryl Crow

1. Empty Glass feat. Michael Schenker
2. Lost In The Stars feat. Ernie Watts
3. Learning To Fly feat. Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream)
4. Mr. Spaceman feat. Dave Davies (The Kinks)
5. Twilight Zone feat. Warren Haynes (Gov t Mule / Allman Brothers)
6. Struggle (original track William Shatner / Adam Hamilton)
7. Iron Man feat. Zakk Wylde & Mike Inez (Alice In Chains)
8. Planet Earth feat. Steve Howe (Yes / Asia) 


  1. Been there, done that, about William Shatner and his singing prowess. Now go hunt down Has Been (2004), you can read about it on allmusic and wikipedia. His version of "Common people" cuts Jarvis Cocker's. Almost every song is excellent, from memory there is just one filler. It's smart, bitter, sharp, self-deprecating, funny, angry, and sincere. I've had to eat my words, and with your broad taste in music and open-minded approach I think it's probable you will too.

    Never thought I'd be defending Mr Shatner, but there you go. Think of it as correcting the record.


    Candy Sez

  2. Yeah...there's a live version of "Common People" by Shatner that's wonderful...with additional help from Joe Jackson and Ben Folds.