William Shatner is the Rocket Man (1978)

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When it comes right down to it, there are very few people who haven’t sat in their car and sang Elton John’s 1972 classic hit “Rocket Man” when it comes on the radio. Peaking at #6 on the US Billboard Pop Singles chart and ranked #242 of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, the musical tale of a Mars-bound astronaut’s ambivalence towards his job is simply legendary.

On the other hand, infamous might be the word to describe William Shatner’s take on the song.

During the 1978 Saturn Awards ceremony, Star Trek’s Captain Kirk himself performed what can most accurately be described as a bizarre spoken-word rendition of the classic Elton John tune. Decked out in a full tuxedo, ruffled shirt and all, Shatner smokes and dances his way through the song, while chroma key video techniques simultaneously portray three different views of Shatner — allegedly to represent the different facets of the “Rocket Man” character. Ahem.

Regardless of its intended purpose or intent, this version of the song has never quite left the public consciousness, and Shatner even re-recorded the song for his 2011 album Seeking Major Tom.

Here’s the Rocket Man himself in all his… glory.

Captain Kirk does “Rocket Man”


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