Amoeblog

Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him?)

Posted by Miss Ess, November 23, 2010 01:39pm | Post a Comment
who is harry nilsson and why is everybody talkin about him

How could i have forgotten how amazing Harry Nilsson is? His brilliance was buried in my psyche for a few years but now after watching the new documentary Who is Harry Nilsson (and Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him?) I have been reminded and won't soon forget his particular brand of genius again.

Nilsson was a fascinating, sentimental tunesmith who moved to Los Angeles in the '50s to begin a fabled career. Over the years, through success and failure, he covered his serious insecurities with his intense need to be the life of the party. And party he did, with all the entertainment industry luminaries, most notably John Lennon (especially during Lennon's "Lost Weekend") and Ringo Starr (best man at Harry's third wedding). He also wrote lastingly great songs like "One" (on a night when he was listening to the busy signal of his telephone), created his most famous album, Nilsson Schmilsson, and the music and concept for the cartoon The Point (which includes my favorite Nilsson tune, "Think About Your Troubles").


There are so many interesting interviews in the film with members of the creative community like Terry Gilliam, Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, Al Kooper, Derek Taylor's widow, Mickey Dolenz, Paul Williams, May Pang, Yoko Ono, Robin Williams, Randy Newman and many more. Each has a different story to tell about Harry, but most all of them comment on his big heart and, from the mid 70s onward, his being hell bent on self destruction. It's still so upsetting for songwriter Jimmy Webb to talk about Nilsson's eventual self-induced vocal ruin that he gets a rash and tears up. The trajectory of Nilsson's life brings many high highs and low lows, and this film chronicles them all.

Here's the trailer for the film:

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Best of a Rapid Decade: One per year plus a few too good to not mention...

Posted by J. Mark Beaver, January 6, 2010 04:00pm | Post a Comment

In recently trying to fill in a friend on what I'd spent the last year or two listening to, I realized that my personal taste tends to gravitate towards some element of either Folk form (any hint of hill-folk finger-pickin' or Ozark/Appalachian melancholy and I'm in), Psychedelia or the tendency to extend a theme for a good long jam (a category in which I include a lot of the Jazz that I like), or just a great, funky groove.

With those qualifiers in place, the following is a year by year review of the last decade which somehow got past me with out noticing it. I mean, really?!! 2010?!!!  I didn't see it coming: 

2000: Album of the Year

Air's enjoyable and wacky Moon Safari had been on the decks for a couple years before they contracted for the soundtrack to Sofia Coppolla's Virgin Suicides. The resultant score is absolutely sublime and marked the French electronauts as contenders to watch.

For myself, it was the defining sound of the millennium's new year.
















Shelby Lynne released a killer country-soul gem, I Am Shelby Lynne, that echoed early material from the likes of Bonnie Raitt. Thinking that it was a brilliant debut from a talented 32yo unknown, I was eventually shocked to find that it was her 6th album. I listened to it for months.

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