Song of the day: William Shatner – "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"

October 3, 2009

William Shatner‘s version of The Beatles‘ “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” is indescribable – but I’m going to give it a go anyway:

Imagine Mr. Shatner reciting, in his inimitable Shakespearean (Shatnerian?) manner, some nonsense lyrics as if they were the most profound words ever conceived. Now imagine an unusual but pleasant arrangement of a popular song that appears to be recorded by experienced session musicians who are completely unaware of just who will be performing the lead vocals for that song.

“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” appears on Shatner’s equally indescribable album, The Transformed Man (1968). I’ll try (and fail) to describe the album. This album is an exercise in dementedness. It’s music from a parallel universe. It’s the only album of its kind – anywhere. It’s the product of an utterly unique mind. It’s an album that is impossible to appreciate by reading about it. It’s an album that could have only be made by one particular man. It’s…

Well, you get the picture. Now it’s time to get the Shatner:

William Shatner – “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (1968)


On the album, each song is preceded by words that I can only term ‘words’ – I can’t really call them ‘poetry’, or even ‘lyrics’, and they’re delivered by the only man on Earth who can deliver them in the way they’re delivered. In order to get you straight to the song, I’ve edited out the spoken-word bit.

If you want to get the full effect (you know you do), you definitely need to hear the whole album. It really is one of the most bizarre albums ever recorded.

The original:

The Beatles – “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (1967)


As a bonus (?), here’s William’s version of “Mr. Tambourine Man” which also appears on The Transformed Man. It’s not as Earth-Shatnering (sorry about that) as “Lucy”, but it’s still unbelievably demented:

William Shatner – “Mr. Tambourine Man (1968)


To bring you back to reality, here’s the more familiar version:

The Byrds – “Mr. Tambourine Man (1965)


And here’s the chap who wrote it:

Bob Dylan – “Mr. Tambourine Man (1965)