It bothers Shatner that it flopped. He meant it as part of a two-song performance piece about drugs.
"You need to hear the two pieces," he said. "But they don't want me to do two pieces. They want me to do one, so I do 'Mr. Tambourine Man.' 'What the hell is he doing?' [people thought]. Because they don't get it in context."
Now, bravely, Shatner is releasing a new spoken-word album called "Seeking Major Tom," a musical voyage that imagines what happens after the David Bowie song "Space Oddity." On it he also intones the lyrics to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
"I don't sing the way Freddie Mercury sings 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' but I'm an actor, and I love the spoken word," he said. "I love the musicality of the word and I love the rhythm of the word and so, in a way, speaking can become musical -- iambic pentameter."
He is serious.
"There's a record that you might laugh at, but I don't mean you to laugh at," he said. "But it's on the edge. In fact, it's so on the edge that some people will laugh at it, mock it."
"To the extent that this Shatner is a joke, I'll join in," he said. But he quickly added, sitting taller in the saddle: "This is me. Right here on this horse."