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Harry Nilsson

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The final film from masterful director Otto Preminger, Skidoo is a sendup of Hollywood tropes and counterculture clichés so unapologetically zany that it was ignored upon its release by grown-ups and young folks alike. One person who “got it” was rising singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson, who was enlisted to write the movie’s soundtrack, and also made a cameo as a prison tower guard. Nilsson’s credentials were that his surrealist sense of humor knew no bounds, as proven by “Garbage Can Ballet,” which posits the trash bin as a hub of social harmony. For those in search of straightforward Nilsson there is “I Will Take You There,” but true fans will appreciate the imaginative glee he shows in the instrumental passages. Without utilizing his formidable verbal skills, Nilsson’s wit and imagination come out in full force on “Tony’s Trip” and “Man Wasn’t Meant to Fly.” Though it’s probably destined to remain a curiosity, the album is revealing in the context of Nilsson’s personality. In any case, if you can’t have fun listening to “The Cast and Crew”— Nilsson’s sung rendition of the film’s life force — then you should probably give up on fun entirely.


Born: June 15, 1941 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Although he synthesized disparate elements of both rock and pop traditions, singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson was at heart a maverick whose allegiance belonged to neither. His initial series of albums in the late '60s made him a personal favorite of the Beatles, who found a natural affinity with his knack for catchy melodies, witty lyrics, and extraordinary vocal range. Thought of as a songwriter first and a performer second, he became a pop star himself in the late '60s and early '70s with "Everybody's...
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