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Aerial Ballet

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iTunes Review

Even though it was recorded just a few months after his debut, Aerial Ballet was a leap forward for Harry Nilsson. Aside from the centerpiece reading of Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talking,” the album features only original compositions, and Nilsson has largely turned away from the circus pastiche of Pandemonium Shadow Show and embraced a more refined, mainstream brand of pop. “Everybody’s Talking” showcased the naked emotionality of Nilsson’s voice, and the song went on to greater renown when it was used two years later as the theme to Midnight Cowboy. As for his own songs, Nilsson’s specialty was writing tapping, singsong melodies and spiking them with a twist of lemon. Having proven his mastery of this particular style, you can hear Nilsson expanding into new territory on “The Wailing Willow,” “I Said Goodbye To Me,” and “Don’t Leave,” all of which embrace more confessional lyrics and arrangements. The crown jewel is “One,” Nilsson’s most perfect song up to that time. Though it has been covered dozens of times over the years, no one can touch the quiet peril and subtlety of this, its original incarnation.

Customer Reviews

harry's the best

harry nilsson was a turning point for me in 1970....i hold his music close to my heart....what a voice & sense of humor..unmatchable..

The beginning of a beautiful friendship

It was a sticker on the clear plastic covering that drove me to buy this record in 1968 at a college bookstore in Huntsville, Texas. It quoted John Lennon, something to the effect that Nilsson was his favorite singer. Soon thereafter he was one of my favorites too. There isn't a weak track on this album. I've always considered it his masterpiece, although I realize others sold better. A year later, "Everybody's Talkin'" shows up in the film "Midnight Cowboy," and everyone knows him from that point on. Funny that it's the album's only song not composed by Nilsson. But he had knack for making hit singles out of other people's songs.


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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