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GREATEST HITS ALBUM REVIEW
Released May 23, 2006 on RCA/Legacy Records. Produced by Harry Nilsson, Robin Geoffrey Cable, Rick Jarrard & Richard Perry
Harry Nilsson - Vocals, Piano & other Keyboards
All songs written by Harry Nilsson, except "Everybody's Talkin'", written by Fred Neil, and "Without You" written by Tom Evans & Pete Ham.
Harry Nilsson had one of rock's best voices and vocal ranges up to his 1974 John Lennon produced LP Pussy Cats - which while recording, he ruptured a vocal cord and lost his voice. He never did totally recover from that, and only released a few albums afterwards, leading up to his death in 1994. Too bad, it was a loss for all who loved his special singing style.
This greatest hits LP is one of those that doesn't follow any order as far as the tracks on it go, as it is all over the place. But with the 14 songs found on here you can get to truly appreciate his unique singing. There are four pure tens on this album and all four are so good and strong that it is very hard for me to say which one is better than the other, guess they are all equal to my ears.
Nilsson started out and first became know as a songwriter in the 1960s (and in time would be best known for his writing talents), with several of his songs covered by others. It was his 1967 album, Pandemonium Shadow Show, which became a smash hit for him, yet ironically in time, two of his three biggest hits and best known songs - "Everybody's Talkin' " and "Without You", were actually covers, and "One", which is found on here, was only a big hit (top ten) for the group Three Dog Night, who did a fine job in re-arranging the song.
"Everybody's Talkin' ", sung with so much feeling, was a Grammy-winning song and no question is the first song people think of when they hear Harry's name (guess it should be noted that in the '60s and early '70s he was mainly just know as "Nilsson"). The song is also remembered as the reoccurring theme song in the movie Midnight Cowboy. Yet the song "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City", was what Nilsson wrote for the movie, and its lyrics would have fit into what the movie was about - more so than "Everybody's Talkin' " did; it is even sung a bit better. I'm surprised this song ended up never being used for the soundtrack, but that's how the movie business goes I guess.
"Without You", the other big cover song, became a number one hit in 1971. Again, it was all of Harry's strong vocal output that made this song with simple lyrics so special.
Then we have the "Coconut" song. What a dandy this one is. I must be honest, this song was why I brought this LP, after my 5 year old grandson fell in love with it after hearing it in the Eddie Murphy movie Daddy Daycare. It wasn't meant to be a kid's song, but when you listen to it's lyrics you can surely understand why kids enjoy it. Really, with the way the lyrics were written and sung here, it has a hint of early Jamaican reggae to it, but not so much in its music. Still I must confess, like my grandson, I totally love this little ditty.
There are other excellent songs by Nilsson found in this package, including one I didn't even realize for years that he sang, that being "Jump into the Fire". This song was a minor hit in 1971 and yes, I do remember it from back in those days. But I never heard it again for years, nor remembered it being a Nilsson song till it showed up in the 1990 movie Goodfellas. Heck, I know my music well enough and that kind of memory lapse rarely happens to me, but truth is, until I got my hands on this album a few months ago, I never owned a Harry Nilsson LP. Perhaps I need to get a few now, the dude was very good and looking at a few of his early '70s albums, well I do recall most of the songs - and I do dig all of them, so yes, I think I'm put in an order for Nilsson Schmilsson real soon. If you dig mellow music, maybe you should, too.
- Keno 2006
To listen to some soundclips from EVERYBODY'S TALKING,or to purchase it click on: Everybody's Talkin': Very Best of Harry Nilsson [CD]
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