Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TVD Class of '72 | Nilsson "Son of Schmilsson"

We trust you, faithful TVD visitor, have seen that Jon is giving away some copies of a documentary about Harry Nilsson.

But you must comment on that post to be eligible to win. Don't know as much about Nilsson as you'd like? Relax. We've made the trip from the '70s to be your guide.

You may know Nilsson for these singles: "Everybody's Talkin'" (a Fred Neil cover; you know it from the "Midnight Cowboy" soundtrack) or for "Me and My Arrow," from "The Point," a 1971 animated film. You may know Nilsson for these 1972 singles: The smash "Without You" (a Badfinger cover) and the irreverent "Coconut." You may even know "Jump Into the Fire," which features Jim Gordon's thunderous 45-second drum solo.

We trust you have heard them all on the oldies stream.

The latter three tunes are off "Nilsson Schmilsson," a 1971 release full of sunny pop goodness. Because it is so well known, we bring something else from the '70s.

"Son of Schmilsson"was the follow-up LP, released in 1972. It is by turns charming, eccentric, rude and in questionable taste. It suggests a guy struggling to keep his balance as waves of fame crash over him.

One song starts: "You're breakin' my heart/You're tearin' it apart/So fuck you."

Another song starts, then ends abruptly when Nilsson belches, then careens into the next song.

Still another starts: "I'd rather be dead/I'd rather be dead/I'd rather be dead/Than wet my bed." Performed with a British senior citizens glee club which had to be in on the joke.

The record ends this way, set as if in the last scene of an elegant Disney cartoon: "Tell her she's beautiful/Roll the world over/And give her a kiss/And a feel."

That was the dark side of Harry Nilsson. Here is more of that sunny pop goodness.

Nilsson - Remember (Mp3)
Nilsson - Joy (Mp3)
Nilsson - Spaceman (Mp3)

"Son of Schmilsson" is out of print but is available digitally.

Harry Nilsson was so loved among his peers that a tribute CD released in 1995, a year after his death, counted 23 covers by an astonishing array of talent. Here are three.

Randy Newman - Remember (Mp3)

Joe Ely - Joy (Mp3)
The Roches - Spaceman (Mp3)
(with Mark Johnson on guitar and the Smithereens' Mike Mesaros on bass and Dennis Diken on drums)

"For The Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson" is out of print but also available digitally.


jesselun said...

THis helped...now I wanna win

Anonymous said...

Saw the Nilsson film - it is great. And the more songs I hear by him the more I appreciate what an incredible talent he was. If I was to somehow end up with a copy of the film (read: win it), I'll be sure to put it on late night when friends are hanging out so that more people will know why everyone is talking about him.

Daniel Trakell said...

LCD Soundsystem do a great cover of Jump Into the Fire too. I've been looking forward to the doco for a while too, hoping for a not too distant Australian release!