December 1st, 2012


Five Favorite Bilbo Baggins-Centric Songs

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I've been thinking a lot about Bilbo Baggins, both because of the soon-to-be-released The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey film and in preparation for teaching my "J.R.R. Tolkien: Hobbits, History, and Heroism" seminar at Lenoir-Rhyne University in the spring. Being the fan and student of Tolkien-inspired world music that I am, my thoughts have turned to Bilbo-centric songs.

So here are a few of my favorite Bilbo Baggins-centric (as opposed to merely Tolkien-related) songs from musicians around the world.

(No, Leonard Nimoy's "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" doesn't make the list. Ha!)

1. "Bilbo's Last Song," words by J.R.R. Tolkien, music by Stephen Oliver for the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (British)
The words make this one of my favorite songs, period.

2. "Accanto al Fuoco" (Bilbo's "I Sit Beside the Fire" Song), words by J.R.R. Tolkien translated into Italian, music by Lingalad from Voci dalla Terra di Mezzo (Voices from Middle-earth) (Italian)

3. "Bilbo's Song" (a.k.a. "The Old Walking Song"), words by J.R.R. Tolkien, music by The Tolkien Ensemble from An Evening in Rivendell (Danish)

4. "Eärendil" (Bilbo's poem as performed in the Hall of Fire in Rivendell), words by J.R.R. Tolkien, music by Andi Grimsditch from The Tolkien Song Cycle, Vol. 1 (Argentinian)

This version of "Eärendil" is by far the best, most moving adaptation of Bilbo's poem I've heard. It's heartbreakingly beautiful. (You can hear an excerpt from it here.)

5. "One More Time," lyrics and music by Hobbit (from Bilbo's point of view) from All for the One (U.S.)
(You can hear it here.)

I feel the wind upon my face now.
There's something strange about today.
I have to say, I can't believe this feelin':
A new adventure's gonna come my way.
I think I've found a destiny across the Brandywine.
Yeah, passing undetected, just one more time...

Honorable mention goes to Kevin Henry's U.S. country-folk theme album Bilbo's Great Adventure, which is a hoot and worth a listen here.