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Pulp goes the Shatner

William Shatner and Ben Folds covering Pulp's Common People.

It's better than you think it might be...

(link gakked from Neil Gaiman's blog)


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 27th, 2004 05:40 am (UTC)
It's more likely he was just talking Nonce Sense.
Jul. 27th, 2004 06:04 am (UTC)
Captain Kirk sings Pulp! – er, beam me up Scotty
from the Sheffield Star, March 2004

AS Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise he was anything other than one of the Common People.

But now William Shatner – actor behind arguably the world's most famous sci-fi hero – is recording an unlikely version of the classic hit by Sheffield band Pulp.
The strange combination comes on a new album of duets the 73-year-old former Star Trek star has made, initially for release in the USA.
Common People – Jarvis Cocker's song about a snooty ex-girlfriend – got Pulp to number two in the singles charts in June 1995. It turned the band into a household name and led to them headlining Glastonbury Festival.
It clearly took the fancy of the retired starship captain, who has been working with a bunch of unlikely collaborators on his new record, including Joe Jackson, outspoken Vietnam veteran-turned-singer and social commentator Henry Rollins and country star Brad Paisley.
The album is being produced by Ben Folds, who once lost his shoes during a night at Sheffield's Leadmill and had to shop barefoot for replacements at Meadowhall the following day.
Shatner has released records before, most notably a rather testing cover of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, which went on to become a kitsch cult classic.
This latest crooning project has the toupe-loving star duetting with a gathering of famous and lesser known singers. Who he sings Common People with is a closely guarded secret.
It is 36 years since Montreal-born Shatner released his first album, The Transformed Man, which included spoken-word cover versions.
Although the actor intended the record to be taken seriously, it became something of a legend in camp circles.
Pulp drummer Nick Banks said he wasn't aware of any official approach by Shatner over Common People, but welcomed news of the sci-fi legend covering their music.
"I am as intrigued as anybody to hear this. I remember hearing some of William Shatner's other songs and they had a, shall we say, unique quality about them," said Nick.
Pulp are currently taking a rest from the music business. Jarvis is living in Paris and enjoying fatherhood while Nick has joined the family ceramics business.
The Hip Surgery Music Guide, an internet site that celebrates offbeat musical genres, says Shatner's songs can be taken as examples of "either impassioned intensity or pompous overacting".
In recent years, he has made a living by spoofing his own overdramatic acting style. In 1998, he played himself in the comedy Free Enterprise and recorded a song called No Tears For Caesar for the soundtrack. Bizarrely, it combined elements of hip hop and a Shakespearean sonnet.
Surely his finest release, however, is the 1997 album Spaced Out! – a collection of songs by Shatner and fellow Trekkie Leonard Nimoy.
More songs Captain Kirk could cover:
Klingon Me Softly With His Song - Roberta Flack
Since You Beam Gone - Rainbow
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Space - Roberta Flack
Beam Me Up Before You Go Go - Wham!
Warped by Red Hot Chilli Peppers
I'm In A Different World - Four Tops
Shooting Star - Flip & Fill
Planet Earth - Duran Duran
Stars - Simply Red
Neutron Dance - Pointer Sisters
Plus anything by 'Dilithium' Crystal Gayle or Space.

Jul. 27th, 2004 06:29 am (UTC)
Re: Captain Kirk sings Pulp! – er, beam me up Scotty
Who he sings Common People with is a closely guarded secret

It sounds a lot like Joe Jackson singing the top notes, or at least that's the theory currently being entertained by Swisstone and myself. In any case, does anyone know if Shatner favours the Rex Harrison singing technique out of affectation, or is it simply that he cannot hold a tune?
Jul. 27th, 2004 08:43 am (UTC)
Ah, but has anyone heard the Peter Wyngarde album "When sex leers its inquisitive head"? Sod The Transformed Man, this is REALLY bizarre. But his cover of psychedelic classic "Neville Thumbcatch" is actually rather good, and one track where he's chatting up some bird he's brought back to his batchelor pad. Also, you can tell what Neil Hannon was listening to when he recorded the Casanova album.

(Deleted comment)
Jul. 27th, 2004 09:01 am (UTC)
That's the one. "Rape" is a ridiculously un-PC song. Leaving aside the fact that it's called "Rape" and has a whole bit where he's shouting "RAPE!" as though from a great distance, it's full of racial stereotyping and all sorts. Ah, the 60s.

Jul. 28th, 2004 05:23 am (UTC)
My mother and I went to see Peter Wyngarde on stage playing the King of Siam in the King and I, back in the early 70s. (We both had a big thing for Department S.) He was rubbish - he had a wonderful silk kimono-type costume with a fabulous embroidered dragon on the back, and someone thought we would rather see that than his face. Almost all the way through. In the days before all musical lead singers were miked.

Amazon uk has the CD for 7:99, http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000024C1V/qid=1091017309/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/202-4379683-5069426

Jul. 28th, 2004 05:37 am (UTC)
He definitely can't sing - it's another Rex Harrison job. Lovely speaking voice, though. It's easy to forget that once upon a time he was actually quite butch (Night of the Eagle, and the Avengers episode A Touch of Brimstone), before he discovered droopy moustaches and kaftans.

A friend of mine once sent me the link to his fan site, which was full of disturbing pictures of PW trying to look seductive. I can provide the URL on request...
Sep. 22nd, 2004 03:23 pm (UTC)
awesome cover, I liked it.
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