Shatner's 'Transformed Man' Reborn
Actor William Shatner's infamous 1968 album "The Transformed Man" will be reissued Dec. 7 by Geffen.Actor William Shatner's infamous 1968 album "The Transformed Man" will be reissued Dec. 7 by Geffen. The set, which features the venerable Capt. Kirk reading poetry over ultra-serious musical accompaniment and covering such contemporary classics as Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" and the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," has been remastered from the original tapes.
Rhino has previously fanned the flames of cult adoration for "The Transformed Man" by featuring tracks from it on three of its "Golden Throats" compilations. The original album never charted on The Billboard 200 and although it was available for many years via Varese Saraband, it has sold just 8,000 copies in the United States since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. The set has been out of print since early 2001.
Shatner reprised his deadpan delivery on a series of 2000 commercials for Priceline.com, which found him reciting the lyrics to such songs as C.W. McCall's "Convoy" and the Animals' "We Gotta Get Out of This Place."
"I knew all along that we were treading a very fine line between buffoonery and bravery, and I have in fact found people who say, 'What a buffoon!'," Shatner told Billboard at the time. "But we knew what we had by the time we did the second grouping [of commercials], and I could put more assurance into the performance knowing that maybe they wouldn't make me the laughingstock of the Western world."
His zest for music having been thusly reactivated, the actor recently returned to the studio to record the Shout Factory album "Has Been," which was produced by Ben Folds.
"I've attempted to show the relationship of classical literature to modern literature -- in the form of lyrics to songs -- by tying in the spoken word with music," Shatner recently told Billboard. "I'm doing word-jazz -- expressing in jazz form words that come from my soul, aided and abetted by Ben Folds' musical soul."