William Shatner has released his first Christmas album, and he got a little help from a surprising list of famous friends. Shatner Claus: The Christmas Album features the 87-year-old Star Trek legend performing holiday standards alongside unlikely collaborators like punk/spoken word legend Henry Rollins (“Jingle Bells”), Stooges frontman Iggy Pop (“Silent Night”), country singer Brad Paisley (“Blue Christmas”), and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”).
In addition, members of Jethro Tull, Yes, and more are also included on Shatner’s first-ever the holiday album, Rolling Stone reports. King Crimson saxophone player Mel Collins turns up on the record, as does Judy singer Judy Collins, legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle, and the Cars guitarist Elliot Easton. The 14-song album features one original song, “One for You, One for Me,” which Shatner performs solo.
Shatner Claus: The Christmas Album comes exactly 50 years after the sci-fi icon’s career in the music industry began. In 1968, at the height of his Captain Kirk fame, William Shatner released his first album, titled The Transformed Man. The spoken would LP featured the Star Trek star comparing contemporary rock and pop songs of the era to the works of William Shakespeare. Shatner cleverly wove in lyrics from ’60s hits like the Beatles “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” to dramatic Shakespeare readings, ultimately becoming a master of the theatrical spoken-word rock cover. Shatner Claus is the star’s 10th album release and his first in the holiday genre.
While his latest “guest” list includes some very big names, William Shatner is no stranger to collaborations with famous rock stars, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. In 2013, Yes bassist Billy Sherwood produced the actor’s prog-rock concept LP, Ponder the Mystery, which also featured guest spots from guitar legend Steve Vai and the Doors’ Robby Krieger. Shatner has also frequently collaborated with singer-songwriter and music producer Ben Folds. Some of the Captain of the USS Enterprise’s most notable covers over the past 50 years include interpretations of Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and just about everything on his 2011 David Bowie covers album, Seeking Major Tom.
Shatner Claus is actually William Shatner’s second album release of 2018. Over the summer, the actor dropped a country-themed album, Why Not Me?, with Alabama’s Jeff Cook.
You can hear “Jingle Bells” as you’ve never heard it before with William Shatner and guest artist Henry Rollins below.
Shatner Claus: The Christmas Album is available now from Cleopatra Records.