Star Trek: The musical timeline

With JJ Abrams's reimagineering of Star Trek now beamed into cinemas the galaxywide, we've used this as an excuse to delve through the Trek archives with our MusicRadar hats set on stunning. Sorry.

Anyway, over the next few pages, we've looked at Trek's relationship with the world of music and boldly bring you the great, the not-so-great, the obscure, the cool and the downright brilliant...

And the weird.

Alexander Courage: Star Trek (1966)

Alexander Courage (1919-2008) composes the iconic Star Trek theme. Contrary to popular belief, the lady wailing the theme was in fact a real lady and not a theramin (or a ondes martenot, before you ask). The vocalist was soprano Loulie Jean Norman, with Elin Carlson re-recording said wailing for the 2006 stereo remastering of the series. Courage later cut all ties with Trek creator Gene Roddenberry over Roddenberry's claim for half the royalties, hence Jerry Goldsmith taking over composing duties for The Next Generation.

The Way To Eden (1969)

The otherwise eternally timeless Trek embraces its inner flower child in this sphincter-clenching moment from The Way To Eden. Yes, that is Rambo's pal Commander Murdock (Charles Napier, also a Good Old Boy in The Blues Brothers!) from First Blood on lead and vocals, a claim to fame only equalled by the fact that he also provided the growls for The Incredible Hulk TV series. Now that's a career.

William Shatner: Mr Tamborine Man (1968)

William Shatner tries his hand at music with this 'interesting' version of Bob Dylan's folk classic from Bringing It All Back Home (1965). The Shat went on to release The Transformed Man (1968), a cult covers album that included a bizarro take on Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Shatner's still at it too, recently recording a version of Pulp's Common People with the help of Ben Folds. No, us neither.

Leonard Nimoy: Ballad of Bilbo Baggins (1968)

Not to be outdone by his toupeed co-star expanding his artistic repetoire, Leonard Nimoy recorded this jaunty tribute to the equally-pointy eared star of JR Tolkein's The Hobbit. The album, The Two Sides Of Leonard Nimoy, showed Nimoy to be about as vocally accomplished at Shatner. However, Nimoy has shown himself a kinder man than his co-star by swiftly retiring himself as a singer. Thank Shariel for that.

Next page: Nimoy vs Hoffs and the spawn of Simon Bates

Spizzenergi: Where's Captain Kirk? (1979)

"I was beamed aboard the Starship Enterprise/What I felt what I saw was a total surprise…" Enough officialness - time for a few bands influenced by the show. Without Where's Captain Kirk, English outfit Spizzenergi would likely be forgotten as punk also-rans. With it, they were somehow Rough Trade's first signed band. REM fanboys will point to the Athenians' 1992 cover of the song for a fan club single. Trust us, it's no Radio Free Europe. See for yourself.

The Bangles w/Leonard Nimoy: Going Down To Liverpool (1984)

Leonard Nimoy may have given up the singing but he wasn't adverse to lending his face to this video by The Bangles, as a vaguely disapproving chaffeur. Best bit: when Nimoy turns the stereo off at 1.14s and looks like he'd kill the entire band with but a single nerve pinch. Actually, the best bit is trying to guess what Susanna Hoffs is constantly looking off-camera for. Ah, such a fragrant band... Where were we?

The Firm: Star Trekkin' (1987)

The Firm (otherwise known as session man John O'Connor) had already had a UK hit with novelty song Arthur Daley, E's Alright (1982). However, his reign of terror was not over and he resurfaced in 1987 with this self-pressed novelty hit. Championed on Radio One by Simon Bates, Star Trekkin' spent two weeks at number one and sold over a million copies worldwide. Why? Because this was the 80s and nobody can explain us voting for Thatcher either.

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)

Enough nonsense. For TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Roddenberry turned to Jerry Goldsmith's (1929-2004) theme tune to the 1979 misfire Star Trek The Motion Picture. Goldsmith is mainly known for his music to The Omen and had been nominated for 18 Academy Awards. He continued scoring the Star Trek movies (with a break in the middle) until Star Trek Nemesis in 2002.

Next page: Facial hair, not forgetting about Dre

Spock's Beard: The Light (live)

No rundown would be complete with a clip from this LA prog-pop outfit. Why the Trek-friendly name? According to guitarist Neil Morse, "It was my brother Alan (Morse, ex-vocalist)'s idea. We were having a really weird night, up at a bar. Alan was like, "Man, it's like we're in a parallel universe - it's that one episode in a parallel universe (where) Spock has a beard. Oh, wouldn't that be a funny name for a band?"." The episode in question is the classic Mirror, Mirror, before you ask.

Data: It's A Sin To Tell A Lie (1991)

Brent Spiner was Star Trek: The Next Generation's pasty-faced android Data. However in 1991 this wannabe crooner capitalised on the show's penchant for musical numbers and released an album of granny-pleasing standards, helped along by Trek co-stars Levar Burton, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn. Move along, nothing to see here.

Theme from Enterprise: Faith Of The Heart (2001)

For the final - to date - Star Trek series, the Powers That Be decided to set the show before the time of Kirk and Spock. It was a bold move, but not half as bold as commissioning Trek's first song-based theme tune, a Michael Bolton-like power ballad, Faith Of The Heart, sung by people's tenor Russell Watson. What did the fans think? A click on this online petition will give you a hint, as will the phrase "not fit to be scraped off the bottom of a Klingon's boot".

Eminem: We Made You (2009)

A one-man Saturday Night Live and self-avowed comic book geek (Em swaps comics with Jonathan Ross), it was somehow inevitable that Mr Mathers would take off Star Trek at some point. In this video he dons Spock's ears, eyebrows and tunic and, erm, knocks out Uhura. And yes, that is Dr Dre at the com as Captain 'Chronic' Kirk. Not quite the reinvention that JJ Abrams has just released but somewhere in a Mirror universe, a big budget We Made You is on the big screen and the Star Trek theme is a very, very different beast indeed...

Warp 11: Vulcans In Hell (2009)

Self-styled "intergalactic sci-fi superband" Warp 11 have recently released this collection of Trek-themed college rock nonsense. One for hardcore Trekkies only. Did we really have to say that?

Liked this? Then try:

7 classic sci-fi sounds - and how they were created

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