Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Drinking with Harry

Sometime around '87 I went poking around in my father's record collection. There were some things that I listened to a few times but never really cottoned to (Quicksilver Messenger Service) some things I wasn't quite ready for (200 Motels) and some things that I loved and continue to listen to to this day (Klaatu, Harry Nilsson.) So what is it about Nilsson that caught my ear over twenty-one years ago and still delights me today?

The two albums that drew me in were Nilsson Schmilsson and Son of Schmilsson with their funny titles and strange songs like "Spaceman" and "Coconut." Add to that the fact that he *gasp* swore, and since they were my father's albums it was ok for me to listen to them. So, I would pedal around on my bike delivering newspapers with my walkman on humming "You're breakin' my heart." Twenty-one years later, not much has changed. I was able to get the majority of the Nilsson catalogue and listened to it on my iPod while walking to and from work.

Listening to Harry was like getting back in touch with an old friend you haven't seen for over a decade and discovering that you not only still like the same things, but have all sorts of new things to talk about as well. The two albums mentioned above, and to a lesser extent The Point, were the only ones I was really familiar with and they delighted me just as much as they ever did. But the real discovery for me was the rest of the catalogue. There are so many songs throughout that I found so completely wonderful. And there are some low points to be sure, (Pussy Cats, A little touch of Schmilsson in the night) but they were easily overshadowed by the good stuff.

Now to see if I can find the other few albums I couldn't get ahold of.

1 comment:

Noise Machine said...

Damn! I thought this was about me.