According to this page on William Shatner’s web site:
The Line Up For “Searching For Major Tom” Has Been Announced. WilliamShatner.Com Is Happy To Report That The Album Due Out Later In 2011 On The Cleopatra Records Label Will Have The Following Songs…
Now as something of a self-professed expert on music, and also an amateur but avid Shatnerologist, I feel that I am qualified to say that the mere potential of this album qualifies as album-of-the-year material before the album actually even exists.
You put your mortal soul at peril if you dare disagree with the previous statement.
Now obviously the Shat is going for a space theme here, with the Major Tom title and the song selection. But I think that selection is far from gratuitous. So let’s go through this song by song and explore how these songs will be enhanced by the unique vocal stylings of everyone’s favorite starship captain.
Deep Purple – Space Trucking “Come on! Come on! Let’s go space trucking!” …And right off the bat, Bill has thrown us a curveball. I don’t see the heavy rhythmic psychedelic blast of this Deep Purple classic fitting neatly into the Shatner model. But daring to be different while still being 100% himself is what the Shatner musical experience is all about. I can’t wait to see what he does with this song because I can’t begin to imagine it.
Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me With Science “SCIENCE!” This one should be a classic Shatner track. I can already hear his voice intoning “She… BLINDED me… WITH SCIENCE.” It just seems to lend itself perfectly to his delivery. But Bill isn’t settling for just doing the same old Bill thing. Bootsy Collins on bass should send this track straight to the mothership.
U2 – In a Little While I have to be honest: I don’t give a rat crap about U2. Never heard this song before just now, and still don’t give a rat crap about it. Bono’s falsetto crooning makes me want to claw my own ears out. There’s no way that Shatner can NOT improve this song
The Tea Party – Empty Glass This is another song with which I have zero familiarity. After hearing it, I am neutral, musically speaking. Lyrically, there is the obvious Major Tom mention that is the apparent reason for its inclusion. For a song with lyrics that consist entirely of David Bowie references, there are no musical David Bowie references to speak of. But I am willing–eager, actually–aroused, even–to hear Bill repeat so many Bowie song titles in a row.
Frank Sinatra – Lost in the Stars I have a friend whose hero worship of the Shat is rivaled only by his intense manlove for Frank Sinatra. Well, and maybe a couple other celebrity obsessions he has. I think this track might put him through the roof–if Bruce Campbell were also guesting on it I would fear for his pulmonary health. He, well, he doesn’t get much fresh air or exercise.
Golden Earring – Twilight Zone Remember that episode of Twilight Zone, Nightmare at 20000 Feet, when Bill played the salesman recovering from a nervous breakdown, who sees the gremlin on the plane wing tearing up the mechanisms? And freaks out? And spends the episode chewing up so much scenery you’re surprised there’s any set left? Oh man that was a good episode. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the selection of this song though.
Steve Miller Band – Space Cowboy Isn’t this song actually called The Joker? Anyway this is another one that should fit Shatner’s delivery to a T. And Brad Paisley has worked with Bill previously to fantastic effect–he wrote and co-performed a song on Bill’s 2004 release Has Been, the fantastic album closer “Real.” Only time will tell if this track becomes a staple of midwestern pool hall jukeboxes the way the original did.
Elton John – Rocketman This is a can’t-miss proposition. Bill has famously performed this song before to great accolades. “I’M A ROCK. IT. MAN.”
David Bowie – Space Oddity Of course you can’t have a Major Tom themed album without this song, the genesis of Major Tom. Though I guess you can leave out Ashes to Ashes wherein Major Tom is a junkie because ewww, junkies.
Norman Greenbaum – Spirit in the Sky Is there a better use for William Shatner’s unique instrument than psychedelic space gospel?
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody OK I’ll admit, this one throws me for a loop. Musically, the song features a lot of 4-part harmonies, and thematically it doesn’t really seem to have anything to do with the rest of the songs on the album. However, as Bill himself said in the underrated 1999 romantic comedy Free Enterprise, “…I think I can pull it off.” It’s certainly epic and theatrical in a way that fits.
Hawkwind – Silver Machine I’d heard that the next William Shatner album would be his “metal” album. He’s certainly hitting up a lot of late 60s / early 70s psychedelic hard rock. Now obviously Bill’s vocal delivery will be spot-on, so the success of this track will depend entirely on the instrumental players. So bring your A game, Carmine Appice!
Peter Shilling – Major Tom The other well-known “Major Tom” reference. This will be Bill’s first foray into 80s German synthpop, at least that I am aware of. There may be private recordings I haven’t heard.
Pink Floyd – Learning to Fly “Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I” Cannot wait to hear the Shat’s take on this lyric. Not because I am a big fan of the song or anything, it’s just the kind of thing he will wrap in the most exuberant of wide-eyed stage whispers. It will be KICKASS.
The Byrds – Mr. Spaceman What a fun little song. I believe this recording will most aptly be described as a “playful romp.” I anticipate twinkly-eyed jocularity will abound.
Black Sabbath – Iron Man Now we get to the meat of the album. Are you kidding me? MOTHERFUCKING IRON MAN. I am dumbfounded by the potential awesomeness of this track. Will we… dare I ask? Will we get the robotic-voiced “I. AM. IRON MAN!!!!” to start the track? Can I possibly survive it if we do? I mean, we are talking about a collision of eldritch powers here. Imagine the chthonic horror of a Black Sabbath headed by the Shat! Cthulhu himself would be driven mad by such extravagance!
Duran Duran – Planet Earth For a long time, this was my favorite Duran Duran song. In recent years, I have drifted more toward some of the other classic early 80s Duran Duran tracks, like “Rio” or “New Moon on Monday.” I can see this one clawing its way back to the top, given a sizable boost by the mellifluous, nay unctuous tones of the golden throat of Shatner.
The Police – Walking on the Moon “Giant Steps. Arrrrrrrrreeeeee….. whatyoutake. Walking…. on the MOON!” The Police are another of my favorite bands from back in the day. This is another surefire hit.
Mrs. Major Tom
Obviously this is an original song they anticipate doing. Some “music expert” I am! Apparently this is an actual song by an electronica artist called K.I.A. about whom I know very little. But given the sheer quality of the tracks up to this point, I cannot imagine this one failing!
So much awesome. I cannot imagine them putting this many quality tracks all on one CD without the plastic exploding from sheer exhaustion. Clearly we are looking at some kind of quadruple album at the very minimum. Possibly with a making-of DVD included. I give it 15 stars out of 10 and project that it will break every album sales record in the history of everything.