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Editors’ Notes

1969’s Harry opened a glorious chapter in the career of the singular singer-songwriter, kicking off an astonishing two-year run that would see the release of five classic Nilsson albums. Harry sets the tone for this burst of creativity, displaying a relaxed, intimate attitude that is a departure from the circuslike movement of his early albums. “Open Your Window,” “City Life” and “Mother Nature’s Son” are among his gentlest, prettiest and most lulling moments. Of course, Nilsson’s vaudeville flourishes are still in effect, especially on “The Puppy Song,” “Marchin’ Down Broadway” and “Fairfax Rag,” the last of which is a covert vignette of an early-morning pot bust on a street in West Los Angeles. As a former songwriter-for-hire, he loves sly sendups of genre songs. “Nobody Cares About the Railroads Anymore” and “Rainmaker” function both as parodies and tributes to the rising sound of country rock. The album’s indisputable triumphs include “Maybe,” “Mournin’ Glory Story” and “I Guess the Lord Must Be In New York City,” the last of which was written for Midnight Cowboy, before director John Schlesinger went with Nilsson’s version of “Everybody’s Talking.”

Customer Reviews

Nilsson/Not Nilsson

I'm definitely a Nilsson fan and I suppose this is as good a place to start as any. However, even though the above synopsis mentions Randy Newman, it's important to point out that Nilsson not only attempted and in some ways successfully appropriated Randy's style, but covered some of Newman's catalogue on the plainly titled "Nilsson Plays Newman," assuredly a great album, and covers an early Newman song here as well ("Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear", of which I prefer Newman's version). Lastly, I feel somewhat obliged to point out that Nilsson's real claim-to-fame-single, "Everybody's Talkin'", was also a cover, the original having been written and recorded by the inimitable Fred Neil, one of the great forgotten folk/rock legends of the 20th century who rarely, if ever, gets the credit he deserves.


One of Nilsson's best...if you're just getting into the guy, you're in for one of the best treats of your life. This album is one of the best pop albums of its time, and it's deep, alternately dark and funny, and absolutely spectacular. Buy it as quickly as you can. Harry, we miss you. Let's hope that "Papa's Got A Brown New Robe" gets released soon. I'll buy 10 copies.


i loved this album when i was a teenager, lost it and then found it again and i still love it. open your window and city life are two of my favorites yum.


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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