Above the Fold

A digital 'zine by Original Fuzz about creativity and making stuff.

★  Apr 19, 2024  ★

Who Is Harry Nilsson?

Who is Harry Nilsson? And why is everybody talking about him? This weekend I watched a good rock doc that attempts to answer those questions.

Most people either have a strong reaction to the name Harry Nilsson or have no idea who you're talking about. And, if they have heard of him, they might know him as the guy who sings the theme song to Midnight Cowboy or John Lennon's drinking buddy during his "lost weekend."

His peers–The Beatles, Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman, Al Kooper, Micky Dolenz from The Monkees, Brian Wilson, Richard Perry, among many others–considered him the best vocalist of his generation, the closest thing to an American version of The Beatles. He was a raconteur who, when he showed up at your house to take you out, wouldn't return you for three days. Al Kooper once said:

He just came onto the scene, you know, blasted onto the scene, and he just started influencing people. I'm sure he influenced The Beatles as much as The Beatles influenced him.

He was a great writer. A true poet that could back up his songs with a killer voice, and a dark, self-destructive edge that he acquired from an alcoholic mother and a father who abandoned him as a young child. He was a prototypical 70s pop star.

So if you're curious and you need something to watch on Netflix tonight definitely check out Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?

Harry Nilsson poses in front of a promotional billboard

Harry Nilsson with John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Harry Nilsson smokes a cigarette while recording piano

Ringo Starr with a Harry Nilsson t-shirt