Archive for November 30th, 2010

There’s a new documentary out (actually a re-edited version of a 2006 film) called Who Is Harry Nilsson? (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him) which concerns itself with the life, death and influence of the late American singer/songwriter.  His career was both brilliant and tragic, qualities you can often see in many of his songs. 

 He had a genius for composing beautiful ballads yet often had a bitter edge, throwing in lyrics that catch the listener off guard.  For example, in Don’t Forget Me Nilsson takes a tender song that has a wistful air and suddenly drops a line like “and when we’re older and full of cancer, It doesn’t matter now, Come on, get happy” that disarms you completely.  Neil Diamond perfromed that song on a recent album and changed that lyric, which bothers me in that it alters the whole song.   Or you can choose any of the lines from You’re Breaking My Heart with its happy rhythms and the ultimate punch of its chorus.

I’m hoping that more people will learn more about Nilsson and his talent to keep his music alive.  It has been a staple for film-makers since his Evcerybody’s Talkin’ from Midnight Cowboy  in 1969 captured the essence of  film and its memorable characters.  A personal favorite of mine is Martin Scorsese’s use of Jump Into the Fire from Goodfellas.

So, if you get a chance, take in this documentary or least find a Nilsson song and give it a listen.  I guarantee you will find something in there to like.  Here’s the trailer:

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