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Has Been CD

4.6 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (4 Oct. 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Epic
  • ASIN: B0002XK4CO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,272 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

Famed for his unusually kitsch and incredibly unique approach to music, William Shatner’s Has Been is more of the same. Features the Pulp classic, "Common People", plus ten other tracks.

Amazon.co.uk

Ah, the ultimate musical joke. William Shatner, well known for his 60s Transformed Man LP (containing unequivocally the worst Beatles cover ever), returns to do what he does second-best, creating Has Been with help from his famous conspirators like Joe Jackson, Henry Rollins, Lemon Jelly, and Ben Folds. But the situation seems to be reversed--is Shatner deliberately playing up to his thespian tendencies for laughs?

Part of the appeal of his earlier album was that he was earnest and serious, despite the nonsense poured out. But here, the irony has turned in on itself creating one long paradoxical knot. Here's a 72 year-old actor narrating Pulp's "Common People" a song that defines Britain for anyone currently aged between 25 and 35, complete with a punk-rock middle-eight. It's impossible to discern if he's the joke or the listener is, or both, or neither. Likewise, the poetry by Shatner, backed by Lemon Jelly on "Together"--is this Lemon Jelly's toytown chillout gone too far? Whether it's good, and why depends entirely on the listener--is this the ultimate novelty record or something more credible? As Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel once said "It's such a fine line between stupid and clever" --Thom Allott

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I work in a Library and this CD came up as part of an exchange between library's in the pop section. Those of us who heard it all have differing taste etc, but we just loved this album. Your' gonna die is hilarious and I thank Mr Shatner for bringing such joy to what can sometimes be a world too full of its own self-importance.
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By Jason Mills VINE VOICE on 27 Sept. 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album is funny when it wants to be, serious when it wants to be, brilliant throughout. It's impossible to ridicule Shatner because he does it so well himself; he's got there first.
Ben Folds has created a superb musical environment for these songs(?), whilst Shatner's lyrics are often subtle and always honest. Did you ever see "Dumb & Dumber"? It's like that - it shouldn't work, but it does!
With input from Joe Jackson and Brad Paisley, among others, the album's only problem is that it's so good that it always draws your full attention. You have been warned!
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Format: Audio CD
Anyone aware of Shatner will instantly think of MR TAMBORINE MAAAAAN! or Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, which either arouse hoots of laughter, or immediate hatred from those with no humour.
"Has Been" opens with a cover of Pulp's Common People... while you may think that he's continuing in the same vein as Transformed Man, this is not the case and you cant help but take the album seriously once you're half way into it. Sure there are still smiles to be had, but they're of a different kind.
Produced by Ben Folds (of Ben Folds Five fame) and featuring Adrian Belew, Joe Jackson, Lemon Jelly, Aimee Mann, Brad Paisley and Henry Rollins (amongst others) the musical composition actually oozes class. In Transformed Man, Shatners monologues were back by Star-Trekkish music - this is not the case with 'Has Been' and Shatner can be heard to actually sing correctly with choral or orchestral backgrounds.
Opening with a strong cover of 'Common People' that will have the listener smiling, the album follows with "It Hasn't Happened Yet" which sets the tone for what the album really is - it's about where Shatner is at the moment, and is a fairly personal album.
You'll have time is a strong track 3 designed to provoke thought, will at the least leave you smiling when constantly told that "you're gonna die." Other memorable tracks are the title track "Has Been" which is a stab at armchair critics "I can't Get Behind That" for one of the best last lines of a song ever.
If you liked Transformed Man in any way, this album is far better in every way. You wont be laughing at Shatner shouting familiar lines as if threatening the Klingons as Kirk, but you will come away appreciating the man more. You may not play the album much, but it's worthy of being in a collection.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
4 stars for the extravagant style and for the fantastic cover of Common People.
I found out about Captain Kirk's second life and talent just through this album. Didn't know he used to make bizarre and theatrical covers of famous pop/rock songs already in the 70s.
This one is a great return and must be given a try even only for the fantastic cover of Common People (performed with Joe Jackson), even better than the original one.
Listening to his performances is impressive because it looks like you're watching him acting on stage. It's rare to have such a presence even without showing one's face and body. And it's also kind of surreal and self ironic, I guess
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Format: Audio CD
...and totally succeeding. This album isn't what I expected it to be - after hearing the cover of Pulp's "Common People" (which is funny as anything, but works really well, especially towards the end) I thought it was going to be packed with covers with Bill talking over some of Ben Folds' piano noodlings.
I was wrong. Thankfully.
From start to end, I was totally shocked at how good the record was. From "I Can't Get Behind That", a joint rant between the Shat and Henry Rollins(!) of all people, to "That's Me Trying", a rather poignant piece about a father who'd lost touch with his daughter and was trying to fix it; Shatner's lyrics (poems? stories?) are heartfelt, funny, touching and completely honest, and I've all the more respect for the man for it. Ben Folds' production and performance (as well as the performances from the rest of the guests) are both brilliant, and from your first listen to any track other than "Common People", you can tell it's him behind the desk as well as behind the piano (or Rhodes, or organ, or keyboard, etc etc :D)
All in all, I'd say that if you want something a bit different to listen to, something that veers so far left of the mainstream that it's got its own little river of its own - get this NOW!
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Format: Audio CD
I bought this as a present for my cousin, after listening to the awesome "I can't get behind that" expecting it to be a bit of a novelty and little more.
I was wrong. This is a collection of 10 great songs and one spoken word track (he is an actor after all) That gets repeated listening time and time again in our house.
I hope the partnership of Shatner and Folds will continue to produce music of this remarkable quality. I will certainly buy the next one!
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By A Customer on 4 Jan. 2006
Format: Audio CD
Bought this over Christmas as kind of a joke present for myself, but discovered that it is actually really, really good. Particular stand out tracks are Has Been, I Can't get behind that, and You'll have time. As another reviewer has said, Common people is one of the weaker tracks but I think that is more because I grew up on the original as opposed to it being bad. Buy this Album!
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