This song is an excellent tune about the subject of leaving this gravity well, and in 1978 it won the 5th annual Science Fiction Film Awards prize for best song. That was the first year the awards ceremony was broadcast, but it is much better known under the name The Saturn Awards. I have no clue who had the idea that William Shatner should be the vocalist for this presentation, but as musical performances go it has a certain amusement value, and is certainly historically interesting. I have to think he played this up for the chuckle value, considering his excellent renditions of other songs, including Common People from Has Been and the Brutus Rap from Free Enterprise.
My personal favorite from the various artists who have rendered it over the years has to be the Kate Bush version. A noticeable percentage of her work were original science fiction songs, such as Experiment Number 4 where the military was developing a musical weapon. Or Lyra, her tribute to the book The Golden Compass, which someone later used footage from the movie to turn into a wonderful video. Or Cloudbusting which depicted the governments reaction to Wilhelm Reich’s Orgone Energy research, and Donald Southerland made a wonderful Reich. If you are a humor fan, be sure to check out her duet with Rowan Atkinson.
Morning Jacket also did a version of the song, but this is the only one I know from them. Someone did a nice but low-rez job of adding space footage to this.
And finally, getting my vote for strangest video for a planetary exploration song, David Fonseca does the entire song backwards and in high heels as Ginger Rogers used to say when explaining why she was a better dancer than Fred Astaire. No, we don’t actually see the high heels in this video, but based on the makeup I would not be surprised at all if he was wearing them, and he did lip-sync the entire song backwards, which is no mean feat.