Friday, December 17, 2010

Who is Harry Nilsson?

Over the past couple weeks I've been listening to Harry Nilsson's greatest hits. Who is Harry Nilsson, you ask? I wondered the same thing, and really enjoyed the documentary with the same title (watch it on Netflix here). I figured if The Beatles claimed him as their favorite artist, then I should probably check him out.

Listening through his career's work, I feel like I'm hearing a songwriter's catalog rather than that of a boxed-in, formulated artist. What I mean is that he goes from singing "Everybody's Talkin'" to "Coconut" to "One" (which Three Dog Night made famous) without blinking an eye. He also does an amazing version of the standard "As Time Goes By" with Sinatra's orchestrator.

And one of my all-time favorite YouTube videos is from Hungarian Idol where a woman phonetically butchers Nilsson's hit "Without You" (also made famous by Mariah Carey).

Below is Nilsson singing a live version of his song "Without Her." I love how his phrasing sounds so conversational and syncopated, similar to the style of "The Girl From Ipanema."

Keep writing,


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