Why Does Leonard Nimoy Sing About Bilbo Baggins In That Audi Ad?

Now that the Audi of America video featuring Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto has gone virulently viral, picking up nearly 6 million views on YouTube in just a few weeks, it’s time to revisit a little-appreciated detail of the 2-1/2-minute spot.

That detail is “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.” Why was Nimoy singing that obscure song as he drove along in his Mercedes CLS 550 to show up for his golf date after Quinto already had arrived – in his Audi S7?

Few but the most rabid Nimoy fans have a clue. So the inclusion of Nimoy’s rendition of the song in the latest Audi “New Luxury” spot is a tip of the hat to those many thousands of Nimoy followers who have loved his work – all of it – over the years, not just his exploits as one of the most memorable science-fiction characters of all time.

Turns out that “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” is a song Nimoy recorded, including a video, in the late Sixties on a lark suggested by a late producer friend, Charles Grean, as Nimoy told Forbes.com contributor Carol Pinchefsky. In the video, as Forbes.com decribed it, “Nimoy sings about the Hobbit character while several dancers dance around him, well, groovily.”

And when the internet arrived, “Baggins” became something of a viral hit itself, compiling 3 million hits on YouTube in the intervening years.

Still, when Audi requested that he revisit the song in filming the new video, “It just seemed so out of context and so strange,” Nimoy told Pinchefsky. “I didn’t know many people knew about it or cared about it.”

But the response to the Audi video has sent Nimoy a loud and clear message about fans’ love for his “Baggins” riff – and the actor himself.

This story originally appeared on Fourtitude on June 4, 2013, and was republished with permission. Email us with the subject line "Syndication" if you would like to see your own story syndicated here on Jalopnik.