21 Songs, 1 Hour 1 Minute

EDITORS’ NOTES

Over the course of a bold and highly erratic recording career Harry Nilsson assembled a core list of signature songs, some of which became — against all odds — popular on the radio (“Everybody’s Talkin’,” “Without You,” “Coconut”) and many more of which were made famous by others or simply admired within songwriting circles (“One,” 1941,” “Good Old Desk,” “The Puppy Song,” “Me and My Arrow”). Nilsson was an unrepentant prankster, and he spent most of his life subverting his audience’s expectations, but what comes through time and again is his irrepressible wit, his acidic storytelling, his exquisite melodies, and his faithful, sometimes-angelic voice. Running through all his songs is a deep current of melancholy — sometimes it comes through in the lyrics, sometimes in his voice, and sometimes it’s just in the somber, wistful arrangement, as in “The Moonbeam Song.” Of all the popular songwriters of his generation, Nilsson was the only one that never gave up his war against the obvious.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Over the course of a bold and highly erratic recording career Harry Nilsson assembled a core list of signature songs, some of which became — against all odds — popular on the radio (“Everybody’s Talkin’,” “Without You,” “Coconut”) and many more of which were made famous by others or simply admired within songwriting circles (“One,” 1941,” “Good Old Desk,” “The Puppy Song,” “Me and My Arrow”). Nilsson was an unrepentant prankster, and he spent most of his life subverting his audience’s expectations, but what comes through time and again is his irrepressible wit, his acidic storytelling, his exquisite melodies, and his faithful, sometimes-angelic voice. Running through all his songs is a deep current of melancholy — sometimes it comes through in the lyrics, sometimes in his voice, and sometimes it’s just in the somber, wistful arrangement, as in “The Moonbeam Song.” Of all the popular songwriters of his generation, Nilsson was the only one that never gave up his war against the obvious.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
52 Ratings
52 Ratings
Hestermofet ,

What a titration of torture and talent!...

The guy stacks up easily to any vocalist, and (in my opinion) any songwriter. It all came naturally, and seemed effortless and easy...but other facets of his life weren’t such a breeze. He reminds me in many ways of a Chimera...equal parts Brian Wilson, John Lennon and Sam Kinison. So sad what could have been...human frailty bested and felled ( at days end) a one in a billion level of artistic genius.

Markymarkymarkymarky ,

Just brilliant

Some of the best songs ever

SoulDriver ,

AMG Review

Harry Nilsson was always a maverick artist, following his own sense of style down the byways of pop, turning out carefully crafted -- even baffling -- songs that shared no direct affinity with any other artist of his day. He drew heavily on American Tin Pan Alley traditions, using them to craft his own cracked and ironic view of the human condition, making him, in some ways, a singer stuck out of time. That he had hit records really seems more accidental and circumstantial than by any personal design, and maybe because of that, Nilsson never ended up being simply a musical commodity. This 21-song set has most of his key tracks, including the unique "1941," the deceptively wry "Cuddly Toy," his brilliant cover of Badfinger's "Without You," "One" (a massive hit for Three Dog Night), his wonderfully realized and slightly speeded up rendition of Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'," the infectious "Coconut," and the screaming "Jump into the Fire," making this a perfect single-disc introduction to Nilsson's delicately fractured world.

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