Harry Nilsson – Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)
Unbelievable USA logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming
When did you first hear about Harry Nilsson?
Was it during the pre-The Little Drummer Boy / Peace On Earth conversation between the unlikely pairing of Bing Crosby & David Bowie?
Bing: “Do you ever listen to any of the older fellas?”
Bowie: “Yeah, sure. I like John Lennon. And the other one with the (strokes imaginary beard), Harry Nilsson.”
Bing: “Oh you go back that far, huh?”
A little self-deprecation goes a long way in my books.
Therefore, by dismissively naming his album Nilsson Schmilsson, even before I heard a note, Harry was off to a terrific start.
And that momentum continued through side one. The staccato chords in Gotta Get Up, the Beatle-y guitars/bleak lyrics juxtaposition in Driving Along, The Moonbeam Song‘s Brian Wilson-esque vocal harmonies; no wonder David Bowie name-checked him on Bing Crosby’s Christmas Special!
Things get a bit more polarizing on side two.
While Without You may have been quite moving at the time, it now feels like a song that’s been irreversibly taken out of its original context. Though likely intended as a heartfelt ballad, it is now more likely to appear in commercials &/or romantic comedy parodies.
Then there’s the matter of Coconut, a track that I’d imagine listeners either view as an album peak or as an irritating novelty.
But listeners should return to consensus with the penultimate track, Jump Into The Fire: a 7-minute gem, regardless of whom you ask!
Verbalize The Positive