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Sunday Stupid: Leonard Nimoy sings about Bilbo Baggins, signalling the end of days!

December 7, 2014

The still nascent Sunday Stupid feature has seen its share of crooning celebrities already: Carl Lewis humiliated himself in a music video featuring bubbles and horny old ladies in oversized sunglasses, while Telly Savalas and his rich baritone and goofy outfits made hearts melt — maybe? — with the spoken word “If.” But they have nothing on Leonard Nimoy and the most bizarre turn in his ill-advised singing career. “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” is pure 1960s camp, and Spock is about as out of place in it as Nixon would be in an Annette Funicello beach movie.

Like costar/friend/rival William Shatner, Nimoy has always been a bit of a renaissance man, adding other public interests — photography, directing, writing — to his acting resume. And like Shatner, he’s at times fancied himself a recording artist. And, like Shatner again, he’s way, way off the mark with that self-assessment. Because the man can’t really sing. Nimoy has a nice voice, but it’s not a singing voice. It’s built for relaying information in a cool, even, dare we say logical manner. Not harmonizing. About twenty seconds of his rendition of “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” can tell you that. And if you remain unconvinced, “If I Had a Hammer” will drive the last nail into that coffin.

During the original run of Star Trek, Nimoy recorded a number of tunes, and “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” was among them. Written by Charles Randolph Grean, this bouncy ditty likely would have been consigned along with other Nimoy tracks to the back shelf of recording oddities if not for the video above. Produced for a contemporary variety show, Spock-haired Nimoy lip-synced his way through the song as bimbos bounced and cavorted around him on rocky, hilly terrain that made it look like Kirk was karate-chopping the Gorn just around the corner. Remember that episode where Spock was blasted in the face by a space-flower that made him love-struck and carefree? How odd it was to see the stiff Vulcan smiling and relaxed? Similar thing here. Nimoy, bright colors and J.R.R. Tolkien don’t mix.

Will this clip work its way into the final chapter of Peter Jackson’s interminable — and I mean interminable — Hobbit saga? Doubtful. But it lives on in the minds and nightmares of Star Trek fans and horrified lovers of music.

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