In 1967, it would be a bizarre cultural turning point when Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy comically transitioned into the world of music when to perform ‘The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins’ on the now short-lived television show Malibu U—all without breaking character, dressed as Spock.
Star Trek‘s first season had ended just three months prior to the moment Nimoy decided to capitalise on the success of the much-loved character, something which would become much more common in years to come. Spock treated the show’s avid fanbase to a novelty cash-grab of the highest proportions which was somehow brilliant.
You can’t blame Dot Records for attempting to cash in on the show’s success, signing up Nimoy to make a record in character as Spock despite his complete lack of musical experience—something which seemingly didn’t matter to the label executives. In June 1967, the world was treated to The Beatles Sgt. Pepper as well as the somewhat less decade-defining Leonard Nimoy, Presents Mr Spock’s Music from Outer Space. Upon release, the record even made its way to number 83 on the Billboard album chart.
Dot Records had initially signed Nimoy up to a two-album deal and had managed to secure Spock an appearance on Malibu U to perform his dulcet tones to the nation. The music show only lasted a mere seven episodes in the summer of ’67 but had crammed in some of the best talents that the industry had to offer such as The Doors, Marvin Gaye and, on episode two of the series, viewers were treated to a performance from Buffalo Springfield as well as Leonard Nimoy dressed as Spock, lip-synching.
Nimoy treated viewers to a preview of his 1968 album Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy as he performed ‘The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins’, which was a dream for the unapologetically geeky fanbase that Star Trek had acquired as Nimoy created a hybrid of these two worlds that many of their fans utterly cherished.
Following the unexpected success of his first two albums, Dot Records decided to milk the cow even further and signed him up to make a further three records over the course of the next two years which went down well with the cult fanbase that loved everything associated to the adored character and programme.
Watch the bizarre video for the track, below.