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Harry Nilsson

Harry Edward Nilsson III (June 15, 1941 - January 15, 1994) was an American songwriter, singer, pianist and guitarist, most popular during the 1960s and 1970s. For most of his recordings, he did not use his first name, and was credited only as Nilsson. Despite some spectacular successes, including two Grammy Awards, Nilsson's tendency to make broad stylistic jumps from one record to the next and his iconoclastic decisions kept him from capitalizing on those successes. His most well-known recordings are "Without You" and "Everybody's Talkin'".

Biography

Early years

Nilsson was born in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York in 1941. His father, Harry Edward Nilsson, Jr., abandoned the family three years later. An autobiographical reference to this is found in the opening to Nilsson's song "1941":

Now, in 1941, a happy father had a son
But in 1944, the father walked right out the door

Harry grew up with his mother Bette Nilsson and his younger half-sister, periodically moving to California or back to New York, and living with a procession of relatives and stepfathers. One relative who turned out to be an important influence on him was his Uncle John, a mechanic in San Bernadino, California, who taught him to sing properly.

Due to the poor financial situation of his family, Nilsson worked from an early age, including a job at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles. When the Paramount closed (circa 1960), Nilsson applied for a job at a bank, falsely stating he was a high school graduate on his application. (He only made it through 9th grade.) He turned out to have an aptitude for computers, which were just starting to be employed by banks at the time. He did so well, in fact, that the bank kept him on even after discovering the lie about his education.

Musical beginnings

As early as 1958, Nilsson was hooked on the new wave of music, especially rhythm and blues artists like Ray Charles. He had taken early stabs at performing while he was working at the Paramount, forming a vocal duo with his friend Jerry Smith and singing close harmonies in the style of the Everly Brothers.

His job with the bank was on the night shift, so Nilsson spent his days infiltrating Los Angeles music business offices, making friends and developing connections. Uncle John's singing lessons, along with Nilsson's natural talent, surely helped when he got a job singing demos for songwriter Scott Turner in 1960. Turner paid Nilsson five dollars for each track they recorded. (Years later, when Nilsson became famous, Turner decided to release these early recordings, and contacted Nilsson to work out a fair payment. Nilsson replied that he had already been paid -- five dollars a track.)

In 1963, Nilsson began to have some early success as a songwriter, working with John Marascalco on a song for Little Richard. (Little Richard, upon hearing Nilsson sing, reportedly remarked, "My! You sing good for a white boy!") Marascalco also financed some independent singles by Nilsson. One, "Baa Baa Blackseep", was released under the pseudonym Bo Pete to some small local airplay. Another recording, "Donna, I Understand", convinced Mercury Records to offer Nilsson a contract, and release recordings by him under the name Johnny Niles.

In 1964, Nilsson worked with Phil Spector, writing three songs with him. He also established a relationship with songwriter and publisher Perry Botkin, Jr., who began to find a market for Nilsson's songs. His recording contract was picked up by Tower Records, who did nothing with it, but his songs were now being recorded by Glen Campbell, Fred Astaire, The Yardbirds, and many other artists. (Despite this growing success, Nilsson was still working the night shift at the bank.)

Signing with RCA Victor

Nilsson signed with RCA Victor in 1967 and released an album, Pandemonium Shadow Show, which was a critical (if not commercial) success. Music industry insiders were impressed both with the songwriting, and with Nilsson's pure-toned, multi-octave vocals. One such insider was Beatles press officer Derek Taylor, who bought an entire box of copies of the album to share this new sound with others. With a major-label release, and continued songwriting success (The Monkees had a hit with Nilsson's "Cuddly Toy"), Nilsson finally felt secure enough in the music business to quit his job with the bank.

Some of the albums from Derek Taylor's box eventually ended up with the Beatles themselves, who quickly became Nilsson fans. This may have been helped by the track "You Can't Do That", in which Nilsson covered one Beatles song but added 22 others in the multi-tracked background vocals. When John Lennon and Paul McCartney held a press conference in 1968 to announce the formation of Apple Corps, John was asked to name his favorite American artist. He replied, "Nilsson". Paul was then asked to name his favorite American group. He replied, "Nilsson".

Pandemonium Shadow Show was followed in 1968 by Aerial Ballet, an album that included Nilsson's rendition of Fred Neil's song "Everybody's Talkin'". A minor hit at the time of release, the song would become extremely popular a year later when it was featured in the film Midnight Cowboy, and would earn Nilsson his first Grammy Award. Aerial Ballet also contained Nilsson's version of his own composition, "One", which was later taken to the top of the charts by Three Dog Night. Nilsson was also commissioned at this time to write and perform the theme song for the ABC television series The Courtship of Eddie's Father. The result, "Best Friend", was very popular, but Nilsson never released the song on record.

Chart success

Nilsson's next album, Harry (1969), was his first to hit the charts, and also provided a Top 40 single with "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City". While the album still presented Nilsson as primarily a songwriter, his astute choice of cover material included, this time, a song by a little-known composer named Randy Newman. Nilsson was so impressed with Newman's talent that he devoted his entire next album to Newman compositions, with Newman himself playing piano behind Nilsson's multi-tracked vocals. The resuit, Nilsson Sings Newman (1970), was commercially disappointing but was named Record of the Year by Stereo Review magazine, and provided momemtum to Newman's career.

Nilsson's next project was an animated film, The Point!, created with animation director Fred Wolf, and broadcast on ABC television in 1971. Nilsson's album of songs from The Point! was well-received, and spawned a hit single, "Me and My Arrow". Later that year, Nilsson went to England with producer Richard Perry to record what became the most successful album of his career. Nilsson Schmilsson yielded three hit singles that could not be more stylistically different from each other. The first was a cover of Badfinger's song, "Without You", featuring a highly emotional arrangement and soaring vocals to match, a performance that was rewarded with Nilsson's second Grammy Award. The second single was "Coconut", a novelty calypso number. The third, "Jump Into the Fire", was raucous, screaming rock and roll, including a drum solo by Derek and the Dominos' Jim Gordon and a bass detuning by Herbie Flowers.

Nilsson followed quickly with Son of Schmilsson (1972), released while its predecessor was still on the charts. Besides the problem of competing with himself, Nilsson's decision to give free rein to his bawdiness and bluntness on this release alienated some of his earlier, more conservative fan base. With lyrics like "I sang my balls off for you, baby", "Roll the world over / And give her a kiss and a feel", and the notorious "You're breaking my heart / You're tearing it apart / So f--k you", Nilsson had travelled far afield from his earlier work. Still, the album did well, and the single "Spaceman" was a Top 40 hit.

The maverick

This disregard for commercialism in favor of artistic satisfaction showed itself in Nilsson's next release, A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night (1973). Performing a selection of pop standards by the likes of Irving Berlin and Kalmar & Ruby, Nilsson sang in front of an orchestra arranged and conducted by veteran Gordon Jenkins in sessions produced by his constant supporter Derek Taylor. While in hindsight, the sessions showcased an extremely talented singer in one of his best performances, this was not the sort of thing that was going to burn up the charts in the 1970s. The session was filmed, and was broadcast as a television special by the BBC in the UK. (Nilsson fans still await this film's release in some home video format.)

1974 found Nilsson back in California, and when John Lennon moved there during his separation from Yoko Ono, the two musicians rekindled their earlier friendship. Lennon was intent upon producing Nilsson's next album, much to Nilsson's delight. However, their time together in California became known much more for heavy drinking and drug use than it did for musical collaboration. In a widely publicized incident, they were ejected from the Troubadour in West Hollywood for drunken heckling of the Smothers Brothers. To make matters worse, Nilsson ruptured a vocal cord during the sessions for this album, but hid the fact due to fear that Lennon would call a halt to the production. The resulting album, Pussy Cats, was a shock for listeners who knew Nilsson as one of the best singers of his generation.

Nilsson's voice had mostly recovered by his next release, Duit on Mon Dei (1975), but neither it nor its follow-ups, Sandman and ...That's the Way It Is (both 1976) met with chart success. Finally, Nilsson recorded what he later considered to be his favorite album, 1977's Knnillssonn. With his voice strong again, and his songs exploring musical territory reminiscent of Harry or The Point!, Nilsson had every right to expect Knnillssonn to be a comeback album. RCA Victor seemed to agree, and promised Nilsson a substantial marketing campaign for the album. However, the death of Elvis Presley caused RCA Victor to ignore everything except meeting demand for Presley's back catalog, and the promised marketing push never happened. This, combined with RCA Victor releasing a Nilsson Greatest Hits collection without consulting him, prompted Nilsson to leave the label.

Winding down

Nilsson's musical work after leaving RCA Victor was sporadic. He wrote a musical play, Zapata, with Perry Botkin, Jr., which got as far as being performed in Connecticut but never moved to Broadway. He wrote all the songs for Robert Altman's movie-musical Popeye (1980), and recorded one more album, Flash Harry, which was released in the UK but not in the USA. However, Nilsson increasingly began referring to himself as as a "retired musician".

Nilsson was profoundly affected by the murder of John Lennon in December 1980. He joined the Coalition to Stop Handgun Violence and begain making public appearances solely to raise money for their cause.

Nilsson found himself in a dire financial situation when his trusted financial adviser embezzled all the money he had ever made as a recording artist. His health was also deteriorating, and in 1993, he suffered a massive heart attack. After surviving that, he began pressing his old label, RCA Victor, to release a boxed-set retrospective of his career, and also started recording again, attempting to complete one final album. He completed the vocal tracks for the album on 15 January 1994, and then died that night of heart failure. A little over a month later, the 2-CD anthology he worked on with RCA Victor, Personal Best, was released.

As of 2005, Nilsson's final album, tentatively titled Papa's Got a Brown New Robe, has never been released.

Discography

  • Spotlight on Nilsson (1966)
  • Pandemonium Shadow Show (1967)
  • Aerial Ballet (1968)
  • Skidoo (soundtrack) (1968)
  • Harry (1969)
  • Nilsson Sings Newman (1970)
  • The Point! (1971)
  • Aerial Pandemonium Ballet (1971)
  • Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)
  • Son of Schmilsson (1972)
  • A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night (1973)
  • Son of Dracula (1974)
  • Pussy Cats (1974)
  • Duit on Mon Dei (1975)
  • Sandman (1976)
  • ...That's the Way It Is (1976)
  • Knnillssonn (1977)
  • Flash Harry (1980) (not released in USA)

Film and television

  • Skidoo (1968) songs written and performed, soundtrack music composer, actor (bit role)
  • The Courtship of Eddie's Father (TV series, 1969-1972) theme song written and performed, incidental music
  • Midnight Cowboy (1969) new version of "Everybody's Talkin'" performed
  • Jenny (1970) song "Waiting" written and performed
  • The Point! (1971) story, all songs written and performed
  • Son of Dracula (1974) actor (lead role), all songs performed
  • The World's Greatest Lover (1978) song "Ain't It Kinda Wonderful" performed
  • In God We Trust (1980) new version of "Good For God" performed
  • Popeye (1980) all songs written
  • Handgun (1983) song "Lay Down Your Arms" written and performed
  • First Impressions (TV series, 1988) theme song co-written, performed
  • Camp Candy (TV series, animated, 1989-1991) theme song written, and performed with John Candy
  • The Fisher King (1991) song "How About You" performed
  • Me, Myself and I (1992) song "Me, Myself and I" written and performed

Use of Nilsson recordings in films

  • Dusty and Sweets McGee (1971) - "Don't Leave Me"
  • La Mortadella (1971) - "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City"
  • All That Jazz (1979) - "Perfect Day"
  • Real Life (1979) - "Jump Into the Fire"
  • Goodfellas (1990) - "Jump Into the Fire"
  • Reservoir Dogs (1992) - "Coconut"
  • Caroline (animated short, 1993) - "Caroline"
  • Private School for Girls (1993) - "You're Breakin' My Heart"
  • Forrest Gump (1994) - "Everybody's Talkin'"
  • Casino (1995) - "Without You"
  • Angel on My Shoulder (1997)
  • Ellen Foster (1997) - "Remember"
  • The Ice Storm (1997) - "Coconut"
  • Practical Magic (1998) - "Coconut"
  • You've Got Mail (1998) - "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City", "Remember", "The Puppy Song", "Over The Rainbow"
  • High Fidelity (2000) - "The Moonbeam Song"
  • Bridget Jones' Diary (2001) - "Without You"
  • Riding in Cars with Boys (2001) - "Everything's Got 'Em", "Me and My Arrow"
  • Punch-Drunk Love (2002) - "He Needs Me" (Shelley Duvall's version from Popeye)
  • The Rules of Attraction (2002) - "Without You"
  • Shanghai Knights (2003) - "One"
  • Around the Bend (2004) - "Daddy's Song"
  • The Girl Next Door (2004) - "Jump Into the Fire"

Sources

  • Dawn Eden, One Last Touch of Nilsson (Goldmine magazine, April 29, 1994)

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As of 2005, Nilsson's final album, tentatively titled Papa's Got a Brown New Robe, has never been released. Other bands like KoRn, Dream Theater, Velvet Revolver, PROBOT, Kittie, Mushroomhead, Type O Negative, System of a Down, Stone Temple Pilots, David Bowie, Unified Theory, Class of 99 and Wyclef Jean have recorded covers of Pink Floyd. A little over a month later, the 2-CD anthology he worked on with RCA Victor, Personal Best, was released. Luther Wright and the Wrongs made a country/bluegrass version of The Wall titled Rebuild the Wall (http://www.lutherwright.com/thewall.php). He completed the vocal tracks for the album on 15 January 1994, and then died that night of heart failure. Also Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade recorded a complete live performance of the Pink Floyd classic album, Animals on a CD titled Live Frogs Set 2 [2] (http://www.clubbastardo.com/music.html). After surviving that, he began pressing his old label, RCA Victor, to release a boxed-set retrospective of his career, and also started recording again, attempting to complete one final album. In addition, Easy Star All-Stars have recorded a reggae/trip hop 'tribute' to Dark Side of the Moon entitled Dub Side of the Moon [1] (http://www.easystar.com/dubsidemain.html).

His health was also deteriorating, and in 1993, he suffered a massive heart attack. They include:. Nilsson found himself in a dire financial situation when his trusted financial adviser embezzled all the money he had ever made as a recording artist. A multitude of tribute bands for Pink Floyd appeared in the 1990s. He joined the Coalition to Stop Handgun Violence and begain making public appearances solely to raise money for their cause. In the mid-Nineties, several people (supposedly including Trent Reznor and Jim Cauty of the KLF) released bootleg trance remixes of More, Atom Heart Mother, Meddle, Obscured By Clouds, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here (which was later reissued), Animals, The Wall, A Collection of Great Dance Songs, The Final Cut, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, and The Division Bell. Nilsson was profoundly affected by the murder of John Lennon in December 1980. In fact, Thorgerson was involved in all the artwork for every album except for The Wall, for which the band employed Gerald Scarfe, and The Final Cut, the cover of which was designed by Waters himself, using photography made by his then brother-in-law, Willie Christie.

However, Nilsson increasingly began referring to himself as as a "retired musician". Many of these images have acquired fame in their own right; notably the famous picture of a man shaking the hand of his burning alter-ego for Wish You Were Here and the refracting prism for Dark Side of the Moon. He wrote all the songs for Robert Altman's movie-musical Popeye (1980), and recorded one more album, Flash Harry, which was released in the UK but not in the USA. Throughout the band's career, this aspect was mainly provided by the talents of photographer and graphic artist Storm Thorgerson. He wrote a musical play, Zapata, with Perry Botkin, Jr., which got as far as being performed in Connecticut but never moved to Broadway. The album covers and sleeve artwork add the emotional impact of the music with vivid and meaningful imagery. Nilsson's musical work after leaving RCA Victor was sporadic. Integral to the music is the artwork which comes with it.

This, combined with RCA Victor releasing a Nilsson Greatest Hits collection without consulting him, prompted Nilsson to leave the label. The show is estimated to be complete by mid 2005. However, the death of Elvis Presley caused RCA Victor to ignore everything except meeting demand for Presley's back catalog, and the promised marketing push never happened. It is, however, unknown what will be done with the songs co-written by Gilmour (Young Lust, Comfortably Numb, and Run Like Hell). RCA Victor seemed to agree, and promised Nilsson a substantial marketing campaign for the album. The broadway version will feature all of the music written by Waters. With his voice strong again, and his songs exploring musical territory reminiscent of Harry or The Point!, Nilsson had every right to expect Knnillssonn to be a comeback album. In 2004, it was announced that contracts had been signed for a Broadway musical version of The Wall, with extra music to be written by Waters.

Finally, Nilsson recorded what he later considered to be his favorite album, 1977's Knnillssonn. In 2002 Q magazine named Pink Floyd as one of the "50 Bands To See Before You Die". Nilsson's voice had mostly recovered by his next release, Duit on Mon Dei (1975), but neither it nor its follow-ups, Sandman and ...That's the Way It Is (both 1976) met with chart success. Rick Wright and Bob Geldof (Pink in The Wall film) make guest appearances. The resulting album, Pussy Cats, was a shock for listeners who knew Nilsson as one of the best singers of his generation. David Gilmour released a solo concert DVD, called David Gilmour in Concert, released in November 2002 and compiled from shows from June 22, 2001, and January 17, 2002, at The Royal Festival Hall in London. To make matters worse, Nilsson ruptured a vocal cord during the sessions for this album, but hid the fact due to fear that Lennon would call a halt to the production. The album Echoes caused some controversy because, on the album, songs segue into each other continuously in a different order than on their original albums and have sometimes had substantial parts removed from them; parts of the songs "Echoes", "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "Marooned" have been removed.

In a widely publicized incident, they were ejected from the Troubadour in West Hollywood for drunken heckling of the Smothers Brothers. Because the band members have gone on to work on various projects (drummer Nick Mason has written a book on his days with the band named "Inside Out" A Personal History of Pink Floyd), and because of the death of longtime manager Steve O' Rourke on October 30, 2003, the future of the band is uncertain. However, their time together in California became known much more for heavy drinking and drug use than it did for musical collaboration. Although rumours are spreading that the threesome Floyd have returned to the studio to make new material, there is no official news to back up any claims to date. Lennon was intent upon producing Nilsson's next album, much to Nilsson's delight. The only band activity since The Division Bell have been the 1995 live album P-U-L-S-E; a live version of The Wall, compiled from their 1980 and 1981 concerts, titled Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 2000; a two-disc set of their greatest hits called Echoes, in 2001; the 30th Anniversary Hybrid SACD reissue of "The Dark Side of the Moon" (2003); and a re-release of The Final Cut with the single "When the Tigers Broke Free" added (2004). 1974 found Nilsson back in California, and when John Lennon moved there during his separation from Yoko Ono, the two musicians rekindled their earlier friendship. Pink Floyd have not released any new studio material since 1994's The Division Bell, and while they have not officially broken up, neither is there any sign of a new album.

(Nilsson fans still await this film's release in some home video format.). Douglas Adams was a personal friend of David Gilmour and made a one-off guest appearance, on guitar, on The Division Bell tour (October 28, 1994). The session was filmed, and was broadcast as a television special by the BBC in the UK. The lavish stage shows were also the basis for Douglas Adams' fictional rock group "Disaster Area" (creators of the loudest noise in the universe, and making use of solar-flares in their stage show) in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. While in hindsight, the sessions showcased an extremely talented singer in one of his best performances, this was not the sort of thing that was going to burn up the charts in the 1970s. This show was re-created (by Waters) and a number of guest artists (including Bryan Adams, The Scorpions, and Van Morrison) assembled around Roger Waters in 1990 amid the ruins of the Berlin Wall. Performing a selection of pop standards by the likes of Irving Berlin and Kalmar & Ruby, Nilsson sang in front of an orchestra arranged and conducted by veteran Gordon Jenkins in sessions produced by his constant supporter Derek Taylor. Later in the show, a huge wall was built between the audience and the band, being demolished, explosively, as the finale.

This disregard for commercialism in favor of artistic satisfaction showed itself in Nilsson's next release, A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night (1973). Pink Floyd mounted their most elaborate stage show in conjunction with the tour of The Wall, in which a band of session musicians played the first song, wearing rubber face masks (proving successfully that the members of the band were not known for their individual personalities). Still, the album did well, and the single "Spaceman" was a Top 40 hit. Later, additional special effects were added to the show, including lasers, pyrotechnics, and oversized balloons, notably a giant pig balloon which floated over the audience during performances of "Pigs" from the Animals album. With lyrics like "I sang my balls off for you, baby", "Roll the world over / And give her a kiss and a feel", and the notorious "You're breaking my heart / You're tearing it apart / So f--k you", Nilsson had travelled far afield from his earlier work. Screen"). Besides the problem of competing with himself, Nilsson's decision to give free rein to his bawdiness and bluntness on this release alienated some of his earlier, more conservative fan base. In their early days, Pink Floyd were among the first bands to use a dedicated traveling light show in conjunction with their performances, projecting slides, film clips, and psychedelic patterns onto a large circular screen (dubbed "Mr.

Nilsson followed quickly with Son of Schmilsson (1972), released while its predecessor was still on the charts. Pink Floyd are renowned for their lavish stage shows, combining over-the-top visual experiences with their music to create a show in which the artists themselves are almost secondary. The third, "Jump Into the Fire", was raucous, screaming rock and roll, including a drum solo by Derek and the Dominos' Jim Gordon and a bass detuning by Herbie Flowers. Waters' Amused To Death was the most praised of these albums, though it was met with mixed reviews. The second single was "Coconut", a novelty calypso number. All of the members of Pink Floyd have released solo albums which have met with varying degrees of commercial and critical success. The first was a cover of Badfinger's song, "Without You", featuring a highly emotional arrangement and soaring vocals to match, a performance that was rewarded with Nilsson's second Grammy Award. Richard Wright re-joined during the recording sessions of A Momentary Lapse of Reason first as a session musician, paid a weekly salary, and later reinstated as a full-fledged member of the band for the 1994 release of The Division Bell and its subsequent tour, which was promoted by legendary Canadian concert impressario Michael Cohl and became the highest-grossing tour in rock history to that date.

Nilsson Schmilsson yielded three hit singles that could not be more stylistically different from each other. The band under Gilmour returned to the studio with producer Bob Ezrin. Later that year, Nilsson went to England with producer Richard Perry to record what became the most successful album of his career. A bitter legal dispute with Roger Waters (who left the band in 1985) ensued, but Gilmour and Mason were upheld in their contention that they had the legal right to continue as Pink Floyd (Waters, however, gained the rights to some traditional Pink Floyd imagery, including almost all of the Wall props and characters and all of the rights to "The Final Cut"). Nilsson's album of songs from The Point! was well-received, and spawned a hit single, "Me and My Arrow". After The Final Cut, the band members went their separate ways, each releasing solo albums, until 1987, when Gilmour and Mason began to revive the band. Nilsson's next project was an animated film, The Point!, created with animation director Fred Wolf, and broadcast on ABC television in 1971. There was no tour, and the band unofficially disbanded in 1983.

The resuit, Nilsson Sings Newman (1970), was commercially disappointing but was named Record of the Year by Stereo Review magazine, and provided momemtum to Newman's career. The arguing between Waters and Gilmour by this stage was rumoured to be so bad that they were never seen in the recording studio simultaneously. Nilsson was so impressed with Newman's talent that he devoted his entire next album to Newman compositions, with Newman himself playing piano behind Nilsson's multi-tracked vocals. Only moderately successful by Floyd standards, the album yielded only one rock radio hit, "Not Now John". While the album still presented Nilsson as primarily a songwriter, his astute choice of cover material included, this time, a song by a little-known composer named Randy Newman. Though released as a Pink Floyd album, the project was clearly dominated by Waters and became a prototype in sound and form for later Waters solo projects. Nilsson's next album, Harry (1969), was his first to hit the charts, and also provided a Top 40 single with "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City". Wright's absence meant this album lacked the keyboard effects seen in previous Floyd works, although guests Michael Kamen and Andy Bown both contributed keyboard work.

The result, "Best Friend", was very popular, but Nilsson never released the song on record. Even darker in tone than The Wall, this album re-examined many of the themes of that album while also addressing then-current events, including Waters' anger at Britain's participation in the Falklands War ("The Fletcher Memorial Home") and his cynicism toward, and fear of, nuclear war ("Two Suns in the Sunset"). Nilsson was also commissioned at this time to write and perform the theme song for the ABC television series The Courtship of Eddie's Father. 1983 saw the release of The Final Cut. Aerial Ballet also contained Nilsson's version of his own composition, "One", which was later taken to the top of the charts by Three Dog Night. The creation of the film saw a further deterioration of the Waters/Gilmour relationship, as Waters came to completely dominate the band. A minor hit at the time of release, the song would become extremely popular a year later when it was featured in the film Midnight Cowboy, and would earn Nilsson his first Grammy Award. A film entitled Pink Floyd The Wall starring Boomtown Rats founder Bob Geldof was adapted from it in 1982, written by Waters and directed by Alan Parker, and featuring striking animation by noted British cartoonist Gerald Scarfe.

Pandemonium Shadow Show was followed in 1968 by Aerial Ballet, an album that included Nilsson's rendition of Fred Neil's song "Everybody's Talkin'". The Wall remained on best-selling-album lists for 14 years. He replied, "Nilsson". The album was co-produced by Bob Ezrin, a friend of Waters who shared songwriting credits on "The Trial" and whom Waters then kicked out of the Floyd camp after Ezrin inadvertently talked about the album to a journalist relative. Paul was then asked to name his favorite American group. Ironically, he was the only member of Pink Floyd to make any money from the "Wall" shows, the rest having to cover the excessive costs. He replied, "Nilsson". Wright returned, on a fixed wage, for the album's few live concerts.

When John Lennon and Paul McCartney held a press conference in 1968 to announce the formation of Apple Corps, John was asked to name his favorite American artist. During this time, Waters increased his artistic influence and leadership over the band, prompting frequent conflicts with the other members and even leading to the firing of Wright from the band. Some of the albums from Derek Taylor's box eventually ended up with the Beatles themselves, who quickly became Nilsson fans. This may have been helped by the track "You Can't Do That", in which Nilsson covered one Beatles song but added 22 others in the multi-tracked background vocals. The album also became a vastly expensive and money-losing tour/stage show, although the album's sales got the band out of the financial hole they were in. With a major-label release, and continued songwriting success (The Monkees had a hit with Nilsson's "Cuddly Toy"), Nilsson finally felt secure enough in the music business to quit his job with the bank. It is also one of a very small number of songs on Pink Floyd's first four concept albums not to segue at either the beginning or end. One such insider was Beatles press officer Derek Taylor, who bought an entire box of copies of the album to share this new sound with others. 1979's epic rock opera, The Wall, conceived mainly by Waters, gave Pink Floyd renewed acclaim and another hit single with their foray into critical pedagogy - "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II." It also included "Comfortably Numb," which, though never released as a single, became a cornerstone of AOR and classic-rock radio playlists and is today one of the group's best-known songs.

Music industry insiders were impressed both with the songwriting, and with Nilsson's pure-toned, multi-octave vocals. Animals was a lot more guitar-driven than the previous albums and marked the start of tensions between Waters and Wright. Nilsson signed with RCA Victor in 1967 and released an album, Pandemonium Shadow Show, which was a critical (if not commercial) success. Animals contained more lengthy songs tied to a theme, taken in part from George Orwell's Animal Farm, using pigs, dogs and sheep as metaphors for members of contemporary society. (Despite this growing success, Nilsson was still working the night shift at the bank.). By 1977, and the release of Animals, the band's music came under increasing criticism from some quarters in the new punk rock sphere as being too flabby and pretentious, having lost its way from the simplicity of early rock and roll. His recording contract was picked up by Tower Records, who did nothing with it, but his songs were now being recorded by Glen Campbell, Fred Astaire, The Yardbirds, and many other artists. The album also includes the epics "Welcome to the Machine" and "Have a Cigar.".

He also established a relationship with songwriter and publisher Perry Botkin, Jr., who began to find a market for Nilsson's songs. In addition to the classic title track, "Wish You Were Here" includes the critically acclaimed, mostly instrumental nine-part "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", a tribute to Barrett in which the lyrics deal explicitly with the aftermath of his breakdown. In 1964, Nilsson worked with Phil Spector, writing three songs with him. The first of those, Wish You Were Here, released in 1975, is a theme album about absence. Another recording, "Donna, I Understand", convinced Mercury Records to offer Nilsson a contract, and release recordings by him under the name Johnny Niles. Dark Side of the Moon and the three following albums (Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall) are held up by some fans as the peak of Pink Floyd's career. One, "Baa Baa Blackseep", was released under the pseudonym Bo Pete to some small local airplay. Thanks to the use of new 16-track recording equipment at Abbey Road Studios and the investment of an enormous amount of time by engineer Alan Parsons, the album set new standards for sound fidelity.

(Little Richard, upon hearing Nilsson sing, reportedly remarked, "My! You sing good for a white boy!") Marascalco also financed some independent singles by Nilsson. Dark Side of the Moon was a concept album dealing with themes of insanity, neurosis and fame. In 1963, Nilsson began to have some early success as a songwriter, working with John Marascalco on a song for Little Richard. Despite their never having been a hit-single-driven group, their massively successful 1973 album, Dark Side of the Moon, featured a US number Top 20 track ("Money"), and more importantly remained in the top 100 for over a decade, breaking many records on the way, and making it one of the top selling albums of all time. Nilsson replied that he had already been paid -- five dollars a track.). A less-well-known album, Obscured By Clouds, was released in 1972, as the soundtrack for the film "La Vallee" and was the band's first US Top 50 album. (Years later, when Nilsson became famous, Turner decided to release these early recordings, and contacted Nilsson to work out a fair payment. Their taste for experimentation was expressed on "Seamus" (earlier, "Mademoiselle Nobs"), a pure-blues number featuring lead vocals by a Russian wolfhound.

Turner paid Nilsson five dollars for each track they recorded. This album also included the atmospheric "One of These Days" (a concert classic, with a distorted, disembodied one-line vocal, "One of these days, I'm going to cut you into little pieces"-courtesy of drummer Nick Mason, his only released vocal performance) and the pop-jazz stylings of "San Tropez". Uncle John's singing lessons, along with Nilsson's natural talent, surely helped when he got a job singing demos for songwriter Scott Turner in 1960. The band's sound was considerably more focused on Meddle (1971), with the 23-minute epic "Echoes" (in this track the band used the Zinovieff's VCS3 synth for the first time) . His job with the bank was on the night shift, so Nilsson spent his days infiltrating Los Angeles music business offices, making friends and developing connections. The title piece owes much to orchestration by Ron Geesin. He had taken early stabs at performing while he was working at the Paramount, forming a vocal duo with his friend Jerry Smith and singing close harmonies in the style of the Everly Brothers. 1970's Atom Heart Mother, a UK number one album, is somewhat dated and has been described by Gilmour as the sound of a band "blundering about in the dark".

As early as 1958, Nilsson was hooked on the new wave of music, especially rhythm and blues artists like Ray Charles. After the film soundtrack More, the next record, the double album Ummagumma (part recorded at Mothers Rock Club, Birmingham, and in Manchester in 1969), was a mix of live recordings and unchecked studio experimentation by the band members, with each recording half a side of vinyl as a solo project (Mason's wife makes an uncredited contribution as a flautist). He did so well, in fact, that the bank kept him on even after discovering the lie about his education. Whilst Barrett had written the bulk of the first record, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967), he contributed just one song 'Jugband Blues' to the second A Saucerful of Secrets (1968). (He only made it through 9th grade.) He turned out to have an aptitude for computers, which were just starting to be employed by banks at the time. Once Barrett's departure was formalised, Jenner and King decided to remain with him, and the six-way Blackhill partnership was dissolved. When the Paramount closed (circa 1960), Nilsson applied for a job at a bank, falsely stating he was a high school graduate on his application. The band's live shows became increasingly ramshackle until, eventually, the other band members simply stopped taking him to the concerts.

Due to the poor financial situation of his family, Nilsson worked from an early age, including a job at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles. With Barrett's behaviour becoming less and less predictable, and use of LSD almost constant, he became very unstable, often staring into space while the rest of the band performed. One relative who turned out to be an important influence on him was his Uncle John, a mechanic in San Bernadino, California, who taught him to sing properly. In 1968, guitarist David Gilmour joined the band to carry out the playing and singing duties of Barrett, whose mental health was deteriorating, but nevertheless was intended to remain as the band's figurehead and songwriter. Harry grew up with his mother Bette Nilsson and his younger half-sister, periodically moving to California or back to New York, and living with a procession of relatives and stepfathers. The album's tracks showcase an eclectic mixture of music, from the avant garde free form piece 'Interstellar Overdrive' to whimsical songs, such as 'Scarecrow', a melancholic song inspired by the Fenlands, the rural region surrounding Barrett's home town of Cambridge. An autobiographical reference to this is found in the opening to Nilsson's song "1941":. Released in 1967, the band's debut The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is considered to be a prime example of English psychedelic music.

His father, Harry Edward Nilsson, Jr., abandoned the family three years later. The band formed Blackhill Enterprises, a six-way business partnership with their managers, Peter Jenner and Andrew King. Nilsson was born in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York in 1941. They covered rhythm and blues staples such as "Louie, Louie". As Barrett started writing tunes more influenced by American surf music, psychedelic rock, and British whimsy, humour and literature, the heavily jazz-oriented Klose departed and left a rather stable foursome. His most well-known recordings are "Without You" and "Everybody's Talkin'". Pink Floyd originally consisted of Bob Klose (lead guitar), Syd Barrett (vocals, rhythm guitar), Richard Wright (keyboards, vocals), Roger Waters (bass, vocals) and Nick Mason (drums). Despite some spectacular successes, including two Grammy Awards, Nilsson's tendency to make broad stylistic jumps from one record to the next and his iconoclastic decisions kept him from capitalizing on those successes. The definite article was dropped by the time their debut album was released.

For most of his recordings, he did not use his first name, and was credited only as Nilsson. The band was again renamed The Pink Floyd Sound and then simply The Pink Floyd (after two blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council). Harry Edward Nilsson III (June 15, 1941 - January 15, 1994) was an American songwriter, singer, pianist and guitarist, most popular during the 1960s and 1970s. Pink Floyd formed in 1964 from earlier bands whose names included Sigma 6, T-Set, Meggadeaths, The Screaming Abdabs, The Architectural Abdabs, and The Abdabs. Dawn Eden, One Last Touch of Nilsson (Goldmine magazine, April 29, 1994). Pink Floyd is one of rock's most successful acts, ranking seventh in number of albums sold worldwide. The Girl Next Door (2004) - "Jump Into the Fire". Pink Floyd is a British progressive band famous for its songwriting, harmonic classical rock compositions, bombastic style, striking album art and elaborate live shows.

Around the Bend (2004) - "Daddy's Song". Floydian Slip. Shanghai Knights (2003) - "One". Final Cut (German Band). The Rules of Attraction (2002) - "Without You". Pink Froyd. Punch-Drunk Love (2002) - "He Needs Me" (Shelley Duvall's version from Popeye). Off The Wall (http://offthewall.info/).

Riding in Cars with Boys (2001) - "Everything's Got 'Em", "Me and My Arrow". Pink Void. Bridget Jones' Diary (2001) - "Without You". Think Floyd. High Fidelity (2000) - "The Moonbeam Song". The Pink Floyd Experience. You've Got Mail (1998) - "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City", "Remember", "The Puppy Song", "Over The Rainbow". The Great Gig in the Sky.

Practical Magic (1998) - "Coconut". The Machine. The Ice Storm (1997) - "Coconut". The Australian Pink Floyd Show. Ellen Foster (1997) - "Remember". Which One's Pink? (http://whichonespink.com/). Angel on My Shoulder (1997). Pig Floyd http://pigfloyd.com.

Casino (1995) - "Without You". For about ten years from 1982, a fanzine, "The Amazing Pudding" documented the band's activities. Forrest Gump (1994) - "Everybody's Talkin'". Live at Pompeii: Directors Cut (2003) (DVD with live performance pre-DSOTM; previously available on video cassette, laserdisc, and video CD). Private School for Girls (1993) - "You're Breakin' My Heart". Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980-81 (2000) (live). Caroline (animated short, 1993) - "Caroline". P-U-L-S-E (1995) (2CD, live, also on VHS).

Reservoir Dogs (1992) - "Coconut". London '66-'67 (1995, not sanctioned by the band). Goodfellas (1990) - "Jump Into the Fire". Delicate Sound of Thunder (1988) (live, also on VHS). Real Life (1979) - "Jump Into the Fire". Tonite Let's all make Love in London (1967). All That Jazz (1979) - "Perfect Day". Echoes (2001) (2CD best-of compilation).

La Mortadella (1971) - "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City". Shine On (1992) (compilation, CD box set). Dusty and Sweets McGee (1971) - "Don't Leave Me". Works (1983) (compilation). Me, Myself and I (1992) song "Me, Myself and I" written and performed. A Collection of Great Dance Songs (1981) (compilation). The Fisher King (1991) song "How About You" performed. A Nice Pair (1973) (compilation).

Camp Candy (TV series, animated, 1989-1991) theme song written, and performed with John Candy. Masters of Rock (1973 or 1974) (compilation). First Impressions (TV series, 1988) theme song co-written, performed. Obscured By Clouds (1972). Handgun (1983) song "Lay Down Your Arms" written and performed. Zabriskie Point (1970) (soundtrack; various artists)]. Popeye (1980) all songs written. Music From the Film More (1969).

In God We Trust (1980) new version of "Good For God" performed. The Final Cut - Reissue (2004). The World's Greatest Lover (1978) song "Ain't It Kinda Wonderful" performed. Dark Side of the Moon (30th anniversary edition) (2003). Son of Dracula (1974) actor (lead role), all songs performed. The Division Bell (1994). The Point! (1971) story, all songs written and performed. A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987).

Jenny (1970) song "Waiting" written and performed. The Final Cut (1983). Midnight Cowboy (1969) new version of "Everybody's Talkin'" performed. The Wall (1979) (2LP). The Courtship of Eddie's Father (TV series, 1969-1972) theme song written and performed, incidental music. Animals (1977). Skidoo (1968) songs written and performed, soundtrack music composer, actor (bit role). Wish You Were Here (1975).

Flash Harry (1980) (not released in USA). Dark Side of the Moon (1973). Knnillssonn (1977). Relics (1971) (out-takes and b-sides). ...That's the Way It Is (1976). Meddle (1971). Sandman (1976). Atom Heart Mother (1970).

Duit on Mon Dei (1975). Ummagumma (1969) (2LP, live and studio). Pussy Cats (1974). A Saucerful of Secrets (1968). Son of Dracula (1974). The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967). A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night (1973).

Son of Schmilsson (1972). Nilsson Schmilsson (1971). Aerial Pandemonium Ballet (1971). The Point! (1971).

Nilsson Sings Newman (1970). Harry (1969). Skidoo (soundtrack) (1968). Aerial Ballet (1968).

Pandemonium Shadow Show (1967). Spotlight on Nilsson (1966).

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