The sad passing of Leonard Simon Nimoy will inevitably result in many obituaries re-analysing his film career both in front and behind the career. Quite how many of those same obituaries will go into any depth about his five album music career which stretched from 1967 to 1970 remains to be seen.
Much like his Star Trek co-star William Shatner, Nimoy’s initial forays into his musical career were in the form of novelty records. Nimoy’s debut album, Mr Spock’s Music From Outer Space contains exactly the type of music its title suggests. Sci-fi and monologue heavy, it’s a curio of its time, and one side of its follow up, Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy, offered up some more of the same, however the other side saw a transition towards more standard easy listening material.
Nimoy’s final trilogy of albums saw him gain confidence as a vocalist, as he recorded folk-flavoured covers of songs by some of the most well respected contemporary artists of the day, such as Randy Newman (“I Think it’s Going to Rain Today”), Joni Mitchell (“Both Sides Now”) and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty (“Proud Mary”). While it would be tempting to dismiss these attempts at more serious musical output as similarly novel as his sci-fi informed material, truth be told he had a better singing voice than you’d expect and you got the impression that, unlike Shatner, Nimoy eventually took his singing career relatively seriously.
While Nimoy’s musical output would never be as well known as his acting and directing career, it had its moments of quiet brilliance and anyone with a fondness for Sci-fi-flecked kitsch or easy-listening folk covers could do far worse than check out his albums.
Lets hope that they all receive the deluxe re-mastering treatment soon.