THE TRANSFORMED MAN is a cultural landmark in Shatner history. Over the years, some people have debated whether Bill was trying to be campy or not. If you read the 1968 liner notes with his extensive comments, it's plain that he was serious.
And a lot of Star Trek
fans took the album seriously right through 1970s, on its own terms as a daring artistic creation. If you were a young person who hadn't been exposed to much actual highbrow material, this was
high culture from a top theatrical artist. It was pretty cool. And it still bears listening, no matter how much we and the world have changed.
When fans got more cynical and "hip" around the '80s and Shatner found that people were laughing at the album, he obviously rolled with the punches as a secure, well-adjusted performer. It might even have been a nudge toward his big turn to comedy.
Comic Book Guy still rates it among the best albums ever
. So how bad can it be?
Leonard Nimoy mixed a little humor into his albums deliberately, but he was serious about his singing voice. He put out a surprising number of LPs. I have the Varese CD of Mr. Spock's Music
that has bonus tracks from The Two Sides
While this material is worlds away from Shatner's album, it too is quite good. The instrumentals have to be taken as very '60s vintage, very hipster, rather than very dated, but give him that and you're off and running.
DeForest Kelley's LP was so unknown to me that when I learned of its existence, I wondered if it was an Internet mockup. A lot of fake LP covers get created in Photoshop. But this is real. I just haven't heard it. Anybody?