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Aerial Pandemonium Ballet

Harry Nilsson

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Album Review

What is hubris? It is Aerial Pandemonium Ballet, a folly Harry Nilsson crafted after winning a Grammy for "Everybody's Talkin'." Riding upon the goodwill generated by the award, he decided to compress and edit his first two (quite brilliant) albums into one record. He remixed tracks, erased old vocals, over-sang some new ones, edited sections out of certain songs, and slowed others down. Apart from the intros and outros, there are no brand-new items, just old tunes presented in slightly new, slightly off-putting ways. If you're not familiar with the debut, this will be pretty enchanting since the two records weren't that far apart stylistically and, let's face it, he was working with pretty terrific source material. Still, it's no substitute for the originals, and if you have a chance (and you do, with Britain's RCA Camden reissue), pick up the originals.

Biography

Born: 15 June 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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