Let’s say you’re a respected actor whose career began in your teens, picked up steam in the early 1950s, and hit warp speed in the late 1960s, when you landed a meaty co-starring role in a show that, despite low ratings became a massive fan favorite. In it, you portrayed a half-human, half-Vulcan who keeps his cool – his logic, if you will – while those around him are flipping their space wigs. What would your next step be? Your own television series? Feature films? Broadway? Why, obviously, the thing you would do at that point in your career would be to record a song about a Hobbit and lip synch it on the beach while a handful of sprightly teenagers danced a Middle Earth variation of The Frug all around you.
Yep, that’s exactly what Star Trek actor Leonard "Mr. Spock" Nimoy did, as you’ll see in the video below. Pulled from Nimoy’s second album, “The Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy”, the clip shows him in a 1967 appearance on a short-lived show called Malibu U. (Note: The complete video survives in this edited-together version that culls from both a color copy and a black and white copy. If anyone out there has a complete color version of the performance, please let us know. You're sitting on television gold!)
Could he sing? Well, yes he could manage to some degree, as long as things stayed down there in the lower registers. And compared to singtalker (or was he a talksinger?) William Shatner, Nimoy delivered performances that were at least somewhat melodic in nature. His first effort was 1967’s “Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space”, which capitalized on his Spock persona and contained songs with titles such as Aliens, Music to Watch Space Girls By, Where No Man Has Gone Before and A Visit to a Sad Planet. The “Two Sides…” LP, which followed the next year, featured a continuation of the Spock material on side one, with Nimoy’s take on a variety of folk numbers (and the Bilbo song) on side two.
By the time he recorded his third album (and his second to appear in 1968), “The Way I Feel”, Nimoy had dropped the Spock material in favor of contemporary tunes like Sunny, Both Sides Now, If I Had a Hammer and, uh, Billy Don’t Play The Banjo Anymore. By 1970, Nimoy had moved away from his recording career and eventually toward the greener pastures of film.
You can hear snippets of all Nimoy’s recorded output at this fan site devoted solely to his singing career: http://.maidenwine.com/lps.html. The snippets should help you decide if obtaining the works of Leonard Nimoy is a strange new musical world you’d like to explore.
Live long and prosper!