William Shatner recently released a new CD of mostly cover songs called Seeking Major Tom. And yes, to answer your first question, David Bowie’s Space Oddity is, indeed, one of the tracks on the album. To answer your second question… I have no idea why Shatner is releasing another album of spoken word cover songs. But he is. And he’d like to sell some of them, apparently. So he’s doing what any profit-minded entertainer is doing these days: turning to YouTube to tap into the power of viral video.

William Shatner’s Bohemian Rhapsody Goes Viral

Shatner’s no stranger to viral videos. He’s been the subject or star of a few viral hits already in his career. And now he’s the star of another one… the music video for his cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

The song is terrible, of course. Shatner doesn’t have much singing talent… that’s why it’s mostly spoken word. Of course, if you take into account that Shatner knows he’s terrible, knows his audience knows he’s terrible, and does most of this tongue in cheek… well, then, the song is probably great.

The music video is… well, it’s perfect for viral video audiences, I can tell you that, as Shatner’s face appears in the starry sky to serenade a couple teenage lovebirds. It’s funny, strange, creepy, and boring… sometimes all at once.

Take a look:

The music video is three days old (as of this writing) and already has over 600,000 views–not too shabby. And probably enough to propel some actual sales of the album. Whether or not you fit hte description, there are people who will buy this. Some will buy it to be ironic, and will set it right next to their William Hung album and their autographed Jersey Shore photograph. In the YouTube age, even phony and ironic fame is still fame, just ask Rebecca Black.

In some ways this isn’t even fair of Shatner, considering that much of his fame is built around cult followings–heck, his entire career has been one viral moment after another. Just saying his name is like completing half of the equation needed for viral activity. It probably doesn’t even feel like work for him at this point.

But let’s give him props. He knows exactly what he is at this stage of his career, and he’s playing right to the very fans he needs to. He’s willing to accept there’s a bit of irony to his fame–a great many of his fans are only fans because they enjoy making fun of him… they enjoy the spectacle that is Shatner.

Oh, and he’s 80 years old, ladies and gentleman. An 80-year-old has as good a feel for the pulse of YouTube as you and I do. How does that make you feel?