Harry Nilsson
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Nilsson Schmilsson (1971), 6.5/10
Son Of Schmilsson (1972), 6/10

Harry Nilsson (Nelson) was born in New York but raised in Los Angeles. He began as a songwriter in the 1960s and was soon able to make his first solo album, Pandemonium Shadow Show (RCA, 1967). A bitter moralist, Nilsson displayed a bizarre sense of humour (She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune, Cuddly Toy) that was far more original than most folksingers of the era. Unfortunately, he chose to change style, turning to soft rock, and became a pop star with Aerial Ballet (RCA, 1968) and Harry (1969), thanks to Fred Neil's Everybody's Talking and I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City. He began writing music for tv and cinema, for example The Point (1971), and recorded an album of Randy Newman compositions.

Nilsson Schmilsson (1971) catapulted him to the top of the charts with Badfinger's romantic ballad Without You. But the album was a more serious affair, as Nilsson introduced his alter ego, a sardonic drunkard, and adopted a more aggressive sound. The opening diptyc of Gotta Get Up (arranged for accordion, trombone and player piano) and Driving Alone (that toys with a Beatles-ian melody) set the tone for the rest of the collection, swinging between musichall-style comedy (Coconut), fairy-tale atmospheres (Moonbeam Song) and pop grandeur (I'll Never Leave You). The other highlights were the horns-heavy jump blues of Down and especially the tribal garage jam Jump Into The Fire, that crossed Ted Nugent's Amboy Dukes and Van Morrison's Them. His velvety vocals proved to be oddly effective in crafting sheer melodrama.

Son Of Schmilsson (1972) continued the saga, highlighting the anarchic, the enfant terrible, the angry young man in Nilsson. Musically, he sounds more comfortable ripping off the past than inventing the present. The pounding trombone-driven Take 54 harks back to rhythm'n'blues and boogie woogie with the grittier spirit of black performers of the 1950s. You're Breaking My Heart is also a nod to old-fashioned jump blues. His caustic humour peaks with the grotesque choral singalong I'd Rather Be Dead.
The most "modern" number, and the album's standout, Spacemen, is typical Warren Zevon, all martial tempos and pounding instruments; and the cover of At My Front Door is quintessential Elton John. The piano ballad Remember is a pale copy of Without You.

A Little Touch (1973) was merely a set of standards. Son Of Dracula (1974), Duit On Mon Dei (1975), Sandman (1975), That's the Way It Is (1976) and Knnillssonn (1977) ended his career on a very minor note. Nilsson died of a heart attack in 1994 at the age of 52.

(Translaed by /tradotto da Giovanni Radaelli)

Harry Nilsson (Nelson) nacque a New York, ma crebbe a Los Angeles.

Negli anni ’60 incominciò la sua carriera da cantautore realizzando presto il suo primo album da solista, Pandemonium Shadow Show (RCA, 1967).

Con una amara vena moralistica, Nilsson mostrò un bizzarro senso dell’umorismo (She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune, Cuddly Toy) che si rivelò essere di gran lunga più originale di quella di molti cantanti folk dell’epoca.

Sfortunatamente decise di cambiare stile, dedicandosi al soft rock e diventando presto una pop star con Aerial Ballet (RCA, 1968) e Harry (1969), grazie soprattutto a Everybody's Talking di Freid Neil e a I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City.

Dopo ciò incominciò a scrivere musiche per la TV e per il cinema come, per esempio, The Point (1971) e realizzò un album di composizioni di Randy Newman

Nilsson Schmilsson (1971) lo catapultò in cima alle classifiche con la ballata romantica dei Badfinger, Without You. Lungi dall’essere solo un successo commerciale, l’album era anche un progetto molto serio ed articolato: infatti Nilsson introdusse il suo alter ego, un ubriacone beffardo e utilizzò un sound molto più aggressivo, come si evince nel trittico Gotta Get Up, Driving Alone e Early In The Morning, nell’hard-rock di Jump Into the Fire, e nell’orecchiabile Down e nelle novità di Coconut. La sua voce di velluto si dimostrò particolarmente efficace nel ricreare il suo profondo melodramma.

Son Of Schmilsson (1972) continuò questa saga, mettendo in luce quella componente anarchica, di ragazzo terribile ed arrabbiato che è propria di Nilsson (Spacemen), mentre al contrario A Little Touch (1973) fu solo un set di normali canzoni.

Son Of Dracula (1974), Duit On Mon Dei (1975), Sandman (1975), That's the Way It Is (1976) and Knnillssonn (1977) sono gli ultimi (e di minore fattura) album della sua carriera e della sua vita che terminò per un infarto nel 1994, a soli 52 anni.

What is unique about this music database