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Transformed Man

81 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 10, 1995
$108.94 $0.70

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 10, 1995)
  • Original Release Date: 1968
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Varese Sarabande
  • ASIN: B0000014WS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,315 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

159 of 170 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 3, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Let me just come right out and say it: I think William Shatner's The Transformed Man is brilliant - brilliant, I say. It's easy to make fun of this album, especially the first few times you hear Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds or Mr. Tambourine Man - hey, I once made fun of Shatner's unique interpretations of these classics myself. The fact that Shatner doesn't actually sing tends to throw one off. When I got the chance to listen to the entire album, though, I was increasingly stunned by the realization that this unique recording was absolutely blowing me away. I have written a number of humorous reviews of very bad items, so I feel compelled to say that this is not one of them. Call it a novelty album if you like, but I sincerely believe this is one of the most underappreciated works of musical genius ever recorded. Heaven help me, but I really and truly love this album.

The Transformed Man is not about Shatner trying to sing (he knows his dramatic reading style is not singing); this is a full-blown concept album of remarkable proportions. I happen to believe Shatner took this album very seriously back in 1968, and that this truly is about the music and not Shatner's ego or ersatz campiness. Shatner didn't just throw this album together; a lot of thought and work went into this. You'll notice that the first five tracks actually consist of two songs apiece. Each two-part track is meant to reflect upon a different aspect of the duality of man. Of course, you don't get this effect when some radio station cues up Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds or Mr. Tambourine Man for comedic purposes; those guys never play the first half of each track, so it's impossible for the listener to know what Shatner was actually trying to do with this album.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By K. Gittins on March 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
First off, understand this is not music in the normal sense. It is (except 2 "songs") William Shatner reading some more-or-less famous literary passages set to unusual music. These include "Romeo and Juliet", and "Hamlet".

Those are kind of interesting on their own, but the gems and real reason to buy this album are the two songs that Shatner "performs". Notice I did not say "sings", for that would imply some musical inclination. Oh, no. Shatner attacks both "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and "Mr. Tambourine Man" with his trade-mark lilting, dramatic delivery, but with the addition of a stalker's intensity (in the case of "Mr. Tambourine Man"), or dreamy manic-depressive (in the case of "Lucy").

"Lucy" starts off more-or-less OK (though "bad"). My favorite part is hearing Shatner growl "a GIRL!" then drift off into the sugary "with kalei-i-i-i-idoscope ey-y-y-y-yes..."

Somehow, Shatner has managed to turn "Mr. Tambourine Man" into something like a stalker's shrieking ramblings. It's beautiful.

No words can sufficiently describe it. It must be heard.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Neal Vincent on August 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD
"The Transformed Man" can make you laugh so hard you feel like you're going to pass out - and when it's over you're left feeling breathless and shell-shocked, similar to the way you might feel when you've pulled over to the side of the road to recover your composure after a near-miss...

Somehow, the album manages to be simultaneously abysmal and sublime. On the scale of badness, the needle goes so far off the scale it comes right back round to the other side and ends up in greatness.

This sonic schizophrenia may even be intentional, what with the album's stated concept of pairing tracks with opposing themes: victory / defeat ; youth / old age ; love found / love lost ; depression / elation. This is best illustrated by the pairing of "Theme from Cyrano" - which makes you feel like you're dozing off in the park on a warm summer's day - and "Mr Tambourine Man" which makes you feel like you've just been woken up again by an angry drunken bum yelling at you.

It's an almost impossible album to rate on any traditional scale because normal reviewing criteria fail to apply here. If music can be said to have geometry then this album is positively non-Euclidian. Still, I'm forced to rate it, so I'm going to give it 5 stars because it's utterly unique, sounds like nothing else on Earth, and it inflicts the full range of emotions on you ... often all at once. You can't say that about many albums.

The only shame here is that they didn't expand this remastered re-release with some of the other vintage Shatner recordings - like his infamous performance of "Rocket Man," or "Taxi," or even his semi-reprise of this album's title track from "William Shatner Live" - none of which are available officially. The inclusion of these as bonus (or should that be malus?) tracks might have made this a definitive collection of pre-"Has Been" Shatner ... but I guess many people would say that the 38 minutes you get here are more than enough, thanks!
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful By David Lerner on January 24, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
That's right, I said it. I love this album, and yet I still give it two stars. Let me explain why.

I am rating this album as I would rate any legitimate album. I do this because I understand that Shatner was being completely serious about this album, and the dramatic interpretations of the two songs/poems/monologues fused together are supposed to symbolize the duality of man, and blah, blah, blah. I get all of that.

But still, the album is horrendous. As you listen to it, you cannot help but firmly believe that Shatner thinks he's pulling off some great artistic feat with this album. However, he is wrong. Horribly wrong. The arrangement of each "song" is sub-par, the backing band of studio musicians on the album has no life, and then there's Shatner himself. With his trademark delivery, Shatner leaves his indelible mark all over every track, and that's really not such a good thing.

This album would be utterly forgettable, if not for the fact that it is such a train wreck that it is an absolute must-have. Let me write that again in bold for the folks that may have skipped over this review: THIS ALBUM WOULD BE UTTERLY FORGETTABLE, IF NOT FOR THE FACT THAT IT IS SUCH A TRAIN WRECK THAT IT IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST-HAVE. I actually bought this CD as a British import twelve years ago for twenty bucks, long before it was in print on CD in the States, and even now, when I could have bought it for half the price, it is still worth every penny I paid for it all those years ago.

You see, whenever I'm feeling blue, I pop The Shatner into my CD player, and everything gets a little bit better. It never fails to bring a smile to my face, especially Mr. Tambourine Man and A Very Good Year.

Honestly, this CD is glorious in it's sheer awfulness.
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