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Nilsson Schmilsson
August 8, 2005 6:06 PM   Subscribe

Have you thought about Harry Nilsson lately? Far be it from me to cast aspersions, but if you haven't, then you ain't nothin'. An amazingly varied discography, friends in high places, and a genuine knack for the bizarre all make Harry a candidate for the Pop Hall of Fame. Oh, and he worked with everybody.
posted by ford and the prefects (42 comments total)

 
Me and my arrow!!

Nice post.
posted by billysumday at 6:21 PM on August 8, 2005 [1 favorite]


In the Wikipedia photo, he looks like Napoleon Dynamite's John Heder.

I always liked him. Great sense of melody, an evident sense of humor, but also a pronouncedly wicked side. When I was a kid, I adored the music for The Point. As an adult, I love the fact that the repeated refrain of the song "You're Breaking My Heart" is "Fuck you."
posted by maxsparber at 6:21 PM on August 8, 2005


Turn on your radio, Baby..Listen to my song,
Turn on you nightlight baby baby, I'm gone.

I think about Harry all the time...
posted by The_Auditor at 6:26 PM on August 8, 2005


I harbor a personal fascination and love of Nilsson. "Without You" is probably the best karaoke song ever. Also, I read an old Playboy interview with him and John Lennon basically kicking it with Keith Moon while going on what they claimed was a three month bender. Fabulous.
posted by Sellersburg/Speed at 6:36 PM on August 8, 2005


Harry Nilsson with the senior citizens of the
Stepney & Pinner Choir--Club No. 6, London, England:

I said dead than wet my bed
Oh, I'd rather be gone--Than carry on
I'd rather go away--Than feel this way
Oh, I'd rather be there--Where you haven't got a care
And you're better off dead--Though it doesn't seem fair

posted by tizzie at 6:43 PM on August 8, 2005


Nilsson is great.
posted by kenko at 6:43 PM on August 8, 2005


*puts lime in coconut*
posted by Vidiot at 6:49 PM on August 8, 2005


"I put the lime in the coconut...I said, Doctor..."

Damn...off to iTunes to blow some money. Thanks.
posted by ericb at 6:53 PM on August 8, 2005


What vidiot said.
posted by ericb at 6:53 PM on August 8, 2005


"The Courtship of Eddie's Father -- 'Best Friend'
People let me tell you 'bout my best friend,
He's a warm hearted person who'll love me till the end.
People let me tell you 'bout my best friend,
He's a one boy cuddly toy, my up, my down, my pride and joy.

People let me tell you 'bout him he's so much fun,
Whether we're talkin' man to man or whether we're talking son to son.
Cause he's my best friend.
Yes, he's my best friend."
posted by ericb at 6:58 PM on August 8, 2005


You just reminded me, ericb: the song "Cuddly Toy" (recorded by the Monkees first) was, supposedly, written about a Hell's Angels gang bang Harry witnessed.

You're not the only cuddly toy
that was ever enjoyed
by any boy

You're not the only choo choo train
that was left out in the rain
the day after Santa came


You're not the only charity light
that was left in the night
who gave up without a fight, yeah

You're not the only cuddly toy
that was ever enjoyed
by any boy

You're not the kind of girl to tell your mother
the kind of company you keep
I never told you that I'd love no other
you must have dreamed it in your sleep, bop bop


Well...yeah. Goddamn, Harry was great! RIP, Mr. Nilsson.
posted by ford and the prefects at 7:11 PM on August 8, 2005


ericb, if you need a suitably demented cover of Coconut, Fred Schneider did a psycho-thrash-punk version. Can clear a room faster than a Diamanda Galas CD turned up to 11 ...
posted by scruss at 7:18 PM on August 8, 2005


Bang bang shoot-em-up destiny.
Bang bang shoot-em-up to the moon.


All hail Harry!
posted by joe lisboa at 7:22 PM on August 8, 2005


Bah.... Nilsson Schmilsson... That's what I say... BAH!
posted by CG at 7:44 PM on August 8, 2005


Always loved Randy Newman, personally, so Harry's Nilsson Sings Newman was a favorite. Look it up if you're a fan of either, it's really quite good.
posted by jonson at 7:46 PM on August 8, 2005


One coke,
Two straws.
Three o'clock I'm gonna walk you home.
For you I'll carry books.
Five blocks isn't very long.
Six days a week I do without you,
Seven days a week I need you.
Eight o'clock we had a date,
910 on the street, I wasn't late.


Who can argue with that kind of brilliance?
posted by Robot Johnny at 7:49 PM on August 8, 2005


Great post, thought sad that he's no longer with us (not fun, especially atop the passing of Peter Jennings)....

I remember being 14 or 15 and hearing taped interviews of John Lennon mentioning him. Did the two collaborate much?
posted by ParisParamus at 7:56 PM on August 8, 2005


"You're breaking my heart" is the best breakup song!

You stepped on my ass
You're breaking my glasses too
You wanna drive my car
Buy a lot of stuff
I've had enough
Of you--ooh!

posted by footnote at 7:57 PM on August 8, 2005


"I guess the Lord must be in New York City" has been on my internal play list for 36 years . Thanks for the post.
posted by hortense at 8:25 PM on August 8, 2005


I remember being 14 or 15 and hearing taped interviews of John Lennon mentioning him. Did the two collaborate much?

There was that whole "lost weekend" thing.
posted by kenko at 8:42 PM on August 8, 2005


Sit beside the breakfast table, think about your troubles,
Pour yourself a cup of tea and think about the bubbles...
posted by cookie-k at 9:42 PM on August 8, 2005 [1 favorite]


Count me as another Nilsson lover. Like, seriously. I have a painting of him on my wall, by steve keane. my good friend and ex-housemate used to listen to the point every day, and planned to do a performance of it, but that never quite happened. I even named my fantasy basketball league "nilsson schmilsson."

why am i posting this?
posted by TonyRobots at 9:58 PM on August 8, 2005


.
posted by pointilist at 10:06 PM on August 8, 2005


Alright, but lets be honest. When you are listening to Schmilsson , you skip right to "Jump Into the Fire," or is that just me?

Love the guy, second the Nilsson Sings Newman recommendation (probably my favourite of his albums).

to PP: (from his allmusic bio)

Much of Nilsson's notoriety stems from a period in the mid-'70s when he was a drinking buddy of John Lennon in Los Angeles (where Lennon was living during a separation from Yoko Ono). The drunken pair were thrown out of L.A.'s Troubadour club in a well-publicized incident, following which Lennon offered to produce Nilsson's next album. The timing was not opportune; Nilsson lost his voice during the sessions, rupturing one of his vocal cords, keeping it a secret out of fear that Lennon would abandon the project. Released as Pussy Cats, it was his last album to make the Top 100. During the same period, he also embarked on a project with another L.A.-based ex-Beatle, Ringo Starr, acting and writing music for the little-seen Son of Dracula film.
posted by Quartermass at 10:50 PM on August 8, 2005


his first two albums are really damn good. (you can buy them packaged together on CD) the indian song rocks my socks.

what about the zombies!
posted by Satapher at 12:23 AM on August 9, 2005


actually that packaging was the 2nd and 3rd albums.
posted by Satapher at 12:25 AM on August 9, 2005


I grew up with Nilson Schmilson as a soundtrack in the background. But I'm sorry.....I would never deign to characterize 'Without You' as being "the best karaoke song" *shudder*. Goodonya Harry and thanks for the reminder ford and the prefects.
posted by peacay at 4:14 AM on August 9, 2005


Sadly missed
posted by Joeforking at 6:22 AM on August 9, 2005


Alright, but lets be honest. When you are listening to Schmilsson , you skip right to "Jump Into the Fire," or is that just me?

Not just you--me too! Y'know, for the longest time, until I got the CD, I thought it was by the James Gang ... I myself get the dry heaves when I hear "Without You."
posted by scratch at 6:25 AM on August 9, 2005


"One" is the lonliest number. . .
posted by DBAPaul at 7:07 AM on August 9, 2005


"You put the lime in the Coke, you nut." I hope his estate got paid for that trainwreck.
posted by shoepal at 7:14 AM on August 9, 2005


"You put the lime in the Coke, you nut."
Oh god. I must havbe blocked that from my memory.
posted by Quartermass at 7:38 AM on August 9, 2005


I just watched the Point again a couple of months ago and was struck again by how great it was. Sure, it makes little or no sense but - it's just wonderful anyway. You been messin' with the bees?
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:41 AM on August 9, 2005 [1 favorite]


A point in every direction is the same as no point at all. The first album I ever remember listening to is The Point. I must have gazed at the large booklet that came with the record while listening to the music for hours. And for some reason that part where the whale dies during "Think About Your Troubles" always creeped me out. Now that I think about it, that's where I learned about death, after asking my parents what 'decomposed' meant.
posted by JT at 8:26 AM on August 9, 2005


I just watched the Point again a couple of months ago and was struck again by how great it was. Sure, it makes little or no sense

Are you saying it's... pointless?
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:13 AM on August 9, 2005


Nilsson, Nilsson... sigh

I have almost all of his stuff and enjoy it quite a bit. There was a tribute album awhile back on which Newman sings a Nilsson song, the two of them could sound a lot alike when they tried.

I have always admired Nilsson and am glad happy whenever someone mentions him. didn't he do an older song in Terry Gilliam's Fisher King?
posted by edgeways at 12:05 PM on August 9, 2005


I grew up on the Point--not the DVD of course, which i watched for the first time two years ago, but the record, which I still own, and played on the turntable probably every day from age 4 till MTV arrived. I still love those songs.
posted by Lady Penelope at 12:38 PM on August 9, 2005


When you are listening to Schmilsson , you skip right to "Jump Into the Fire," or is that just me?

dude, like, totally.
posted by 3.2.3 at 1:34 PM on August 9, 2005


didn't he do an older song in Terry Gilliam's Fisher King?

Yep ... called How About You?
posted by ericb at 2:59 PM on August 9, 2005


I have always admired Nilsson and am glad happy whenever someone mentions him. didn't he do an older song in Terry Gilliam's Fisher King?

"How About You" - it plays at the end of the film.

-- Roger
http://www.harrynilsson.com/
posted by jadebox at 7:41 AM on August 10, 2005


Just want to say I'm really enjoying reading these comments.

I "discovered" Nilsson through an 8-track of Pussy Cats I found in a cut-out bin for 25 cents. I bought the tape because of John Lennon on the cover. Later I found Nilsson's Pandemonium Shadow Show in the same bin and I was hooked!

I started the Harry Nilsson web pages a long time ago as a single page about Harry because I couldn't find anything on the 'net about him. I actually thought that I was his only fan. Then I started getting emails from others who told me that they were suprised to find the site because they felt they were his only fan! Since then I've had the pleasure of meeting many other fans - as well as friends and family of Harry's. It's been wonderful.

-- Roger
posted by jadebox at 7:50 AM on August 10, 2005


his first two albums are really damn good. (you can buy them packaged together on CD) the indian song rocks my socks.
[...]
actually that packaging was the 2nd and 3rd albums.
posted by Satapher at 12:25 AM PST on August 9 [!]


Harry Nilsson's first two RCA albums and his fifth (or sixth if you count Skidoo) are in one 2-CD set, Pandemonium Shadow Show / Aerial Ballet / Aerial Pandemonium Ballet. The liner notes for the CD are by Andrea Sheridan who was a fan of Harry's ... and later a friend of his.

-- Roger
posted by jadebox at 2:02 PM on August 10, 2005


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