2/17/15

LUCY IN THE SKY WITH BILL


Our next victim in our relentless search for 'Worst Record Made By An Actor Who Shouldn't Sing" is one of show-businesses most irritating personalities. I refer to the great William Shatner, who in 1967--while Star Trek was at its height--recorded an album called "The Transformed Man." (By the way, it was released by Decca Records, the people who brought you 'Jerry Lewis Just Sings'. Thanks, guys.) Shatner's 'signiture' style was heard for the first time on this abomination, that sort of spoken word thing he does with big pauses and dramatic flourishes and...and...well, listen to his 'take' on "Lucy In The Sky" and you'll feel the magic. As always with Shatner, though, he has that slightly shady way of perhaps putting you on--did he mean this as a straight-up attempt at a pop album? Or was he sending himself up, as he's taken to doing good-naturedly over the past decade or so? Sorry, but I think it's the former. Shatner has never seemed to me to be in on his own joke; he reminds me of a remark made by the famously cranky novelist John O'Hara about another crank novelist Sinclair Lewis. O'Hara thought Lewis was a much poorer writer than his reputation warranted and that people mistook the clumsiness of his characters and dialogue for witty, deadpan satire. "Once they called him a satirist, he woke up and said 'okay, I'm a satirist.' I have a feeling that Shatner, savvy show-biz operator that he is, realized he was being laughed at and decided to go along with it. It certainly didn't hurt Sinclair Lewis, and Shatner is alive and kicking and still relevant in his own queer way. Click on the above and enjoy Big Bill and his encounter with The Beatles. And I'll bet this is the only time/place/blog anywhere where you'll see those four names--Shatner, Lewis, O'Hara and The Beatles--lumped together. Aren't you glad you tuned in?

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