Some bands make it big. Some bands have huge followings that display an almost religious ferocity in their devotion. There are few people, however, few single-bodied mortal beings that have risen to such status in the world of music and culture. Grateful Dead guitarist and singer Jerry Garcia comes instantly to mind, and I can only really think of one more man who has attained such status: Leonard Nimoy. That’s right, I brought Spock into this, so set your phasers to stun and just hear me out.
Trekies have been known since he dawn of Star Trek in the 1960’s to take fandom to a whole new level of whacked-out-ness, and I think I am about to make the day of those of us who appreciate the finer things in life (and then go to conventions in their mom’s minivan). Not only did Mr. Spock, in the experimental spirit of the era, test the waters of a pop musical career, he did so by evoking the name of another saint of the genres: Bilbo Baggins. The most widespread, or at least the most popular surviving, single of his career was “The ballad of Bilbo Baggins”, a tale recounting the life and adventures of one of the coolest little people in literature. I could go on and examine the music and video, talk about clichés of the decade and this kind of music and make some sarcastic commentary, but I assume you can too. Instead, I’m just gonna sit back and let Spock, his vibrant go-go line, innovative harmonies and his love of all things short, hairy and that just wanna be left alone have their moment as Shire-folk everywhere cringe at that dark time in their history, not when the forces of evil threatened their peaceful way of life, but when Leonard Nimoy shook their world. Rumor has it that every year since Nimoy quit doing music, the Bagginses and the Proudfeet have held an annual Hobbit-kegger where they smoke pipes, shoot fireworks with Gandalf and tell tales of how short-lived and non-prosperous Leonard Nimoy’s pop music career was.
And to those of you who have never heard of this, you’re welcome.
Spock sings about effin’ Hobbits… Seriously.