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Those familiar with William Shatner's Golden Throats covers of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Mr. Tambourine Man" from his Star Trek days may be surprised by the emotional depth on this album. Produced by fan and friend Ben Folds, Has Been evokes an unexpected pathos and sincerity, akin to that of Bill Murray's Bob Harris in Lost in Translation: a silver-haired man trying to come to terms with the mess of his life, baring warts and all. The erstwhile Captain Kirk expresses self-doubt and regret on "It Hasn't Happened Yet," and he answers his Trekkie fans, who have always had trouble separating the man from the myth, with "Real," a country-rock ballad written by and sung with Brad Paisley, where Shatner admits, "Just because you've seen me on your TV / Doesn't mean I'm any more enlightened than you." A gospel-soaked admonition to make the most of every moment, "You'll Have Time" finds Shatner pointing a finger with such lines as "Live like you're gonna die / Because you are," his resignation tempered only by the enthusiasm of the delivery and the sizzle of the gospel chorus echoing his words. But few cuts tug the heartstrings like "That's Me Trying," co-written by Folds and author Nick Hornby. With Folds and Aimee Mann adding warm-hued harmonies, Shatner offers an aching monologue from a father trying to reconnect with an estranged daughter. That's not to say he ignores his humorous side, venting his spleen alongside Henry Rollins on "I Can't Get Behind That" and renewing the spark in Pulp's effusive class commentary "Common People," with Joe Jackson chiming in. Stylistically, Shatner is all over the map -- from the garage rockfueled "Ideal Woman" to the loungy tones of "Together," a collaboration with Lemon Jelly -- but his delivery, always on the cusp of irony but never quite there, makes the songs gel, proving that even at 73, he's far from a has-been.
Performance CreditsWilliam Shatner Primary Artist,Vocals
Adrian Belew Guitar
Joe Jackson Piano,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Henry Rollins Vocals,Guest Appearance
Webb Wilder Choir, Chorus
Aimee Mann Vocals,Guest Appearance
Jon Auer Guitar,Background Vocals
Matt Chamberlain Percussion,Drums
John Mark Painter Bass,Guitar,Trumpet,Bass Guitar,Background Vocals,Guitar (Baritone)
Carmella Ramsey Choir, Chorus
Kim Richey Choir, Chorus
Sebastian Steinberg Bass,Vocals,Upright Bass
Ben Folds Organ,Synthesizer,Bass,Piano,Drums,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Electric Piano,Vocals,Background Vocals,Wurlitzer,Tack Piano,Guest Appearance
Lindsay Jamieson Drums
Fleming McWilliams Voices
Brad Paisley Guitar,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Lemon Jelly Various
Laurie Wheeler Choir, Chorus
John Davis & the Georgia Sea Island Singers Choir, Chorus
Jared Reynolds Choir, Chorus
Curt Bol Choir, Chorus
Benita Hill Choir, Chorus
Louisville Common People's Choir Background Vocals
Technical CreditsHenry Rollins Composer
William Shatner Composer
Nick Banks Composer
Jarvis Cocker Composer
Candida Doyle Composer
Russell Senior Composer
Ben Folds Arranger,Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Art Direction,Audio Production
Joe Costa Engineer
Alan Wolmark Executive Producer
Brad Paisley Composer
Lemon Jelly Composer,Programming,Instrumentation
Steve Mackey Composer
Nick Hornby Composer
Elizabeth Shatner Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Shatner is no Has Been on this album. Instead he's funny, witty, and I swear there's something on this to appeal to everyone. I've recommended it to a ton of people already, and I just can't say enough about how much "I Want You To Be You" really says about true love!
Yea this is the best cd i have heard in forever! I actually had to have my boyfriendhide it on me so i wouldn't make myself sick of it.
William Shatner is hilariously wonderful in this album. I love his version of Common People. You'll Have Time is dreadfully depressing and hilarious at the same time. Bill has done it again.
I listened to this cd for the first time sitting in my office and I couldn't believe how...different this was. Finally a breath of something NEW and heartfelt and so much of Mr. Shatner was poured into this SUPRISINGLY dramatic yet at the same time facetious cd. I think it's Brillant.