The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins

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Leonard Nimoy in the music video

"The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" is a song composed by Charles Randolph Grean and performed by Leonard Nimoy, telling the story of Bilbo Baggins and his adventures in J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 novel The Hobbit. The recording was featured on the 1968 album Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy, the second of Nimoy's albums on Dot Records. It was also released as a single (Dot Records Cat. #45-17028) in July 1967, backed with a "modern thought-image" folk song called "Cotton Candy".[1][2][3]

When the single was originally released, Nimoy lip-synched to the recording during a guest appearance on the July 28, 1967 episode of Malibu U, a short-lived variety television series. This segment survives as a "music video" and shows Nimoy (wearing his Star Trek hairstyle as the series was in the midst of production of its second season at the time) and a group of color-coordinated young women, all wearing plastic pointed ears (presumably like Vulcans as Hobbits only had slightly pointed ears in Tolkien's writing), singing and dancing an overtly strange, hopping-waddling dance on a beach. Clothing and random objects would fly up from behind a hill, and a variety of buttons with typical Hobbit/Star Trek slogans ("Hobbits Unite!", "Admit Middle-earth to the U.N.!", "What's a Leonard Nimoy?") were occasionally visible.

Since its rediscovery on the BBC2 documentary Funk Me Up Scotty and propagation over the Internet, it has been treated as an example of 1960s camp. An excerpt from the musical number is included in the documentaries Ringers: Lord of the Fans about The Lord of the Rings fandom, and in For the Love of Spock.[4] The song was also included in the 1993 Nimoy compilation album Highly Illogical.[5][6]

References to the song[edit]

An audio clip of the song was played as part of an answer on an episode of Jeopardy! aired January 5, 2006.[7] The song was sampled by Bentley Rhythm Ace for their track "Theme From 'Gutbuster'" on their album For Your Ears Only, released in 2000. Segments of the song were shown during Bring Back... Star Trek, with Justin Lee Collins citing it as research into Leonard Nimoy.

In a 2013 Audi advertisement featuring Nimoy and Zachary Quinto (who played Spock in the Kelvin timeline films), Nimoy speaks the first few lines of the song, ending with "go Bilbo!".[8]


  1. ^ Krutzler, Steve (October 23, 2003). "Interview: Legendary Leonard Nimoy Chats Candidly About 'Spock', Directing, and Science of TREK". TrekWeb. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  2. ^ Mudhar, Raju (June 14, 2008). "The Star Trek mixtape". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ontario: John Cruickshank. ISSN 0319-0781. OCLC 137342540. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Ideology Of Love Topic Of Leonard Cohen Disc". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida: Nelson Poynter. March 4, 1968. p. 42. OCLC 5920090. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Filmmaker Adam Nimoy's Homage to His Famous Dad". Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  5. ^ Belladonna (January 30, 2005). "More 'Ringers' Photos and Review". Michael Regina, Erica Challis. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Meet .... / Leonard Nimoy". The Miami Herald. Miami, Florida: David Landsberg. February 7, 2003. ISSN 0898-865X. OCLC 2733685. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  7. ^ "J! Archive - Show #1330, aired 1990-05-18". J! Archive. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  8. ^ Zachary Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy: "The Challenge" (YouTube video). Audi of America. 2013. Event occurs at 1 minute 16 seconds. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 2015-08-06.