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Stuff We Love: Leonard Nimoy’s Ballad of Bilbo Baggins is the trippiest Tolkien tribute ever

Contributed by
Jan 23, 2018

As much as I am devoted to J.R.R. Tolkien, and as much as this trippy music video probably makes the high king of high fantasy turn in his grave, you really can’t get more entertaining than a Vulcan mind-meld of aliens, hobbits, and a flying pair of pants. This is The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.

Those Andy Warhol-esque pop art versions of Leonard Nimoy as Spock in the beginning are not to be missed, even though they apparently have nothing to do with the rest of the video, or Bilbo Baggins. Perched on what appears to be a space rock—he boldly went further than the Misty Mountains for sure—the First Officer himself (not without those ears) begins the ballad about the bravest little hobbit of them all. You should sense that something is odd right away. There is no Starfleet uniform or hairy rubber hobbit feet. Spock is in a suit, or something vaguely resembling a suit, considering that real suits don’t normally consist of a navy jacket, white turtleneck, and blindingly white slacks. Just when you could start making a case for the ears possibly being Elven instead of Vulcan, the real weirdness ensues.

 

Who are these rainbow space cadets with Gidget hair and pointed ears? Are they human? Are they Vulcan? Hybrids? What are all these huge round buttons they’re wearing with messages like "Hobbits Unite," "Hobbits Forever," "Frodo Lives," and, for no apparent reason, "What is a Leonard Nimoy?" Why are they doing a peculiar squatting dance with creepy hand motions, which channels Gollum more than anybody from the Shire? Why does someone throw a random pair of pants in the air as Nimoy sings about Bilbo battling the trolls? Is that a roll of toilet paper standing in for the Ring, which has long since met its demise on Mount Doom? Are the space rocks actually supposed to be a dormant Mount Doom? Why has this starship suddenly plunged headlong into ‘60s unicorn vomit psychedelia? Where is Gandalf in all this?

Whatever this video is really about, and whatever planet it landed from, it’s bizarrely awesome.

Now you know there was actually a predecessor to Led Zeppelin’s Misty Mountain Hop, and that Gollum dance may quite possibly be what spawned the sick moves for the Gangnam Style parody, Gandalf Style. My deepest apologies to the ghost of J.R.R. Tolkien.