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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. The entire 2005 US Club tour sold out in under 10 minutes, with tickets selling on eBay and other sources for more than $200. A little over a month later, the 2-CD anthology he worked on with RCA Victor, Personal Best, was released. Surprisingly, this was done without seeking permission, though NIN is credited in the end credits for the song. He completed the vocal tracks for the album on 15 January 1994, and then died that night of heart failure. The credit sequence for the David Fincher film Seven uses the NIN song "Closer (precursor)". 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. Reznor himself received a "Music Consultant" credit on the film.

His health was also deteriorating, and in 1993, he suffered a massive heart attack. Man on Fire featured clips from six Nine Inch Nails songs: "The Art of Self Destruction, Part One", "Self Destruction, Part Two", and "The Downward Spiral (the bottom)" from Further Down the Spiral; "The Mark Has Been Made" and "The Great Below" from The Fragile; and "The Wretched" from Things Falling Apart. 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. The Fan featured a clip from "The Art of Self Destruction, Part One" from Further Down the Spiral. He joined the Coalition to Stop Handgun Violence and begain making public appearances solely to raise money for their cause. Director Tony Scott has used Nine Inch Nails music in two of his films to date. Nilsson was profoundly affected by the murder of John Lennon in December 1980. Trent Reznor is in possession of John Lennon's mellotron, which he has used on Broken, The Fragile, and Marilyn Manson's second album, Antichrist Superstar.

However, Nilsson increasingly began referring to himself as as a "retired musician". In their early days, NIN used Phantasy as their practice space and it was home for many of their concerts. 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. He assembles different producers, engineers and musicians to assist him in creating new songs, though Reznor writes all of the lyrics himself and is in sole control of the direction of the band. Similarly, Reznor assembles a live backing band for each NIN tour. He wrote a musical play, Zapata, with Perry Botkin, Jr., which got as far as being performed in Connecticut but never moved to Broadway. Trent Reznor is the only official member of the band. Nilsson's musical work after leaving RCA Victor was sporadic. More than likely, Reznor will need to finish the tour for With Teeth before he can find time to work on this project.

This, combined with RCA Victor releasing a Nilsson Greatest Hits collection without consulting him, prompted Nilsson to leave the label. In a response to a question on the official NIN website (http://www.nin.com), Reznor indicated that he would like to release surround sound versions of Pretty Hate Machine and The Fragile, similar to what was done for the 10th anniversary editions of The Downward Spiral. 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. A DVD version of Closure is forthcoming, pending the resolution of some legal troubles. RCA Victor seemed to agree, and promised Nilsson a substantial marketing campaign for the album. This album will be preceded by the release of the single The Hand That Feeds. 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. NIN's fifth major release, With Teeth, is due to be released on May 3, 2005.

Finally, Nilsson recorded what he later considered to be his favorite album, 1977's Knnillssonn. More information on Reznor's work outside of Nine Inch Nails can be found in the Trent Reznor entry. 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. As a tribute to this, the programmers of the game included a nail gun as a weapon, whose ammo boxes bore the NIN logo. The resulting album, Pussy Cats, was a shock for listeners who knew Nilsson as one of the best singers of his generation. NIN created the ambient music for id software's computer game Quake in 1996. 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 band earned a Grammy for "Best Metal Performance" for their live performance of "Happiness in Slavery" when it was included on the 1996 Woodstock '94 double CD set.

In a widely publicized incident, they were ejected from the Troubadour in West Hollywood for drunken heckling of the Smothers Brothers. NIN's mud-soaked performance at Woodstock '94 is one of their most famous moments. However, their time together in California became known much more for heavy drinking and drug use than it did for musical collaboration. It also features the song "Help Me I Am in Hell" set to a black screen and the song "Gave Up" set to scenes within the film. Lennon was intent upon producing Nilsson's next album, much to Nilsson's delight.
Broken, the unreleased short film directed by Peter Christopherson, contains the videos for "Pinion", "Wish" and "Happiness in Slavery". 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. When any of these will be back in print is unknown.

(Nilsson fans still await this film's release in some home video format.). Halo 1, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4 are out of print due to Reznor's conflict with his former label TVT Records. Halo 13, Halo 15 and Still from Halo 17 are also out of print. The session was filmed, and was broadcast as a television special by the BBC in the UK.
Many of these releases are now out of print. 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.
. 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. Official halos are as follows (colors denote main album eras):.

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). Many independent and new wave records follow similar numbering schemes. Still, the album did well, and the single "Spaceman" was a Top 40 hit. The Downward Spiral is also known as Halo 8). 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. Each Nine Inch Nails release is given a sequential number, with the word "Halo" preceding it (eg. 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. Other complaints have been about it's length and overabundence of computer-generated sound.

Nilsson followed quickly with Son of Schmilsson (1972), released while its predecessor was still on the charts. A music video for the North American single was chosen not to be released at the last minute, leading to less media impact than expected. 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. Despite its sprawling size (It was released as a double CD and a triple vinyl), The Fragile is often considered by both fans and critics to be a disapointment. The second single was "Coconut", a novelty calypso number. The Fragile was followed by the remix album Things Falling Apart. 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. Music videos for "We're In This Together", "Into the Void", and "Starfuckers Inc." (retitled as "Starsuckers, Inc.") were aired in the US.

Nilsson Schmilsson yielded three hit singles that could not be more stylistically different from each other. It produced three singles, one released in the US ("The Day the World Went Away"), one in the UK ("We're In This Together") and one in Japan and Australia ("Into The Void"). Later that year, Nilsson went to England with producer Richard Perry to record what became the most successful album of his career. NIN's fourth major release was The Fragile (1999). Nilsson's album of songs from The Point! was well-received, and spawned a hit single, "Me and My Arrow". A remastered version of the album was released in February 2005, with an accompanying CD of b-sides and rarities. Nilsson's next project was an animated film, The Point!, created with animation director Fred Wolf, and broadcast on ABC television in 1971. The Downward Spiral was followed by the remix EP Further Down the Spiral.

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 album's final track, "Hurt", would enjoy success once again when it was covered, with slight alterations to the lyrics, by Johnny Cash in 2003. 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. Music videos were made for the singles "March of the Pigs", "Closer", and "Hurt", with the edited MTV version of "Closer" becoming very successful. 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. One of the singles, "The Downward Spiral" was only released to radio. 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". There were four singles released, "March of the Pigs", "Closer", "Hurt", and "The Downward Spiral".

The result, "Best Friend", was very popular, but Nilsson never released the song on record. It went quadruple platinum and is often considered by critics to be NIN's best work. 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. NIN's second full album and third major release was The Downward Spiral ( 1994). 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. Broken was followed by the remix EP Fixed. 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 full length video informally called The Broken Movie was also made by Sleazy, but has not seen an official release.

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 video for "Pinion" aired twice on MTV before being banned for its objectionable content, although images from it did become a fixture in the opening title sequence of the MTV show 120 Minutes. He replied, "Nilsson". The video depicts performance artist Bob Flanagan strapping himself to a machine that subsequently pleasures, tortures and kills him. Paul was then asked to name his favorite American group. Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson of Coil directed a music video for "Happiness in Slavery," which was universally banned due to its graphic content. He replied, "Nilsson". The song "Wish" won a Grammy in the "metal" category.

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. It was later released as one CD, with the bonus songs as "hidden" tracks 98 and 99. 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. It was originally released in a fold-out format, containing the first six tracks on a regular CD and an additional three-inch minidisc with the remaining bonus tracks. 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. NIN's second major release was Broken (1992), an EP of six tracks plus two bonus tracks. 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. It went triple platinum in the US and produced the singles "Head Like a Hole," "Down in It" and "Sin." Music videos were made for these three tracks, but only the videos for "Head Like a Hole" and "Down in It" were ever completed and released.

Music industry insiders were impressed both with the songwriting, and with Nilsson's pure-toned, multi-octave vocals. NIN's debut album, Pretty Hate Machine (1989), largely consists of studio versions of demo recordings. Nilsson signed with RCA Victor in 1967 and released an album, Pandemonium Shadow Show, which was a critical (if not commercial) success. "The Perfect Drug" has the flavor of drum and bass, "Down in It" is essentially a rap, "Happiness in Slavery" is industrial, "The Frail" is a melancholy piano piece, and most of Pretty Hate Machine could be considered dark synth pop. (Despite this growing success, Nilsson was still working the night shift at the bank.). NIN's songs cover a range of genres; as a body of work, they cannot be pigeonholed. 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. So, I'd say I've borrowed from certain styles and bands like that." [2] (http://www.theninhotline.net/archives/articles/axc94a.shtml).

He also established a relationship with songwriter and publisher Perry Botkin, Jr., who began to find a market for Nilsson's songs. And because someone didn't come up with a new name that separates those two somewhat unrelated genres, it tends to irritate all the old school fans waving their flags of alternativeness and obscurity. In 1964, Nilsson worked with Phil Spector, writing three songs with him. I'm working in the context of a pop song structure whereas those bands didn't. Another recording, "Donna, I Understand", convinced Mercury Records to offer Nilsson a contract, and release recordings by him under the name Johnny Niles. We have very little to do with it other than there is noise in my music and there is noise in theirs. One, "Baa Baa Blackseep", was released under the pseudonym Bo Pete to some small local airplay. "What was originally called industrial music was about 20 years ago Throbbing Gristle and Test Department.

(Little Richard, upon hearing Nilsson sing, reportedly remarked, "My! You sing good for a white boy!") Marascalco also financed some independent singles by Nilsson. NIN's sound has variously been described as alternative, electronica, heavy metal, rock, synth pop, or, most commonly, industrial. Regarding his music being categorized as industrial, Reznor had this to say in a 1994 Axcess magazine interview:. In 1963, Nilsson began to have some early success as a songwriter, working with John Marascalco on a song for Little Richard. [In his best he-man voice] Tough and manly! It's a curse trying to come up with band names." [1] (http://www.theninhotline.net/archives/articles/axc94a.shtml). Nilsson replied that he had already been paid -- five dollars a track.). It seemed kind of frightening. (Years later, when Nilsson became famous, Turner decided to release these early recordings, and contacted Nilsson to work out a fair payment. It really doesn't have any literal meaning.

Turner paid Nilsson five dollars for each track they recorded. Nine Inch Nails lasted the two week test, looked great in print, and could be abbreviated easily. 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. I had about 200 of those. 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. "I don't know if you've ever tried to think of band names, but usually you think you have a great one and you look at it the next day and it's stupid. 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. They asked him how he came up with the name Nine Inch Nails and this was his reply:.

As early as 1958, Nilsson was hooked on the new wave of music, especially rhythm and blues artists like Ray Charles. Axcess magazine interviewed Reznor after the release of The Downward Spiral in 1994. He did so well, in fact, that the bank kept him on even after discovering the lie about his education. Nine Inch Nails (NIИ, the second "N" is flipped horizontally on album and promotional art) is a critically and commercially successful American band formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1988 by Trent Reznor. (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. Jeordie White - Bass, Guitar. 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. Aaron North - Guitar.

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. Jerome Dillon - Drums. 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. Alessandro Cortini - Keyboard. 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. Danny Lohner - Bass, Guitar, Keyboard. An autobiographical reference to this is found in the opening to Nilsson's song "1941":. Robin Finck - Guitar, Keyboard.

His father, Harry Edward Nilsson, Jr., abandoned the family three years later. Jerome Dillon - Drums. Nilsson was born in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York in 1941. Charlie Clouser - Keyboard, Theremin. His most well-known recordings are "Without You" and "Everybody's Talkin'". Charlie Clouser - Keyboards, 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. Chris Vrenna - Drums.

For most of his recordings, he did not use his first name, and was credited only as Nilsson. Danny Lohner - Bass, Guitar, Keyboard. 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. Robin Finck - Guitar, Keyboard. Dawn Eden, One Last Touch of Nilsson (Goldmine magazine, April 29, 1994). Charlie Clouser - Keyboard (1995). The Girl Next Door (2004) - "Jump Into the Fire". James Woolley - Keyboard (1994).

Around the Bend (2004) - "Daddy's Song". Chris Vrenna - Drums. Shanghai Knights (2003) - "One". Danny Lohner - Bass, Guitar, Keyboard. The Rules of Attraction (2002) - "Without You". Robin Finck - Guitar, Keyboard. Punch-Drunk Love (2002) - "He Needs Me" (Shelley Duvall's version from Popeye). James Woolley - Keyboard.

Riding in Cars with Boys (2001) - "Everything's Got 'Em", "Me and My Arrow". Chris Vrenna - Drums (remainder of tour). Bridget Jones' Diary (2001) - "Without You". Jeff Ward - Drums (beginning of tour). High Fidelity (2000) - "The Moonbeam Song". Richard Patrick - Guitar. You've Got Mail (1998) - "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City", "Remember", "The Puppy Song", "Over The Rainbow". "Deep" appears on the soundtrack for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001).

Practical Magic (1998) - "Coconut". The soundtrack also contains two songs credited only to Trent Reznor. The Ice Storm (1997) - "Coconut". "The Perfect Drug" appears on the soundtrack for Lost Highway (1997), which Reznor also produced. Ellen Foster (1997) - "Remember". "Burn," "Something I Can Never Have" and "A Warm Place" appear on the soundtrack for Natural Born Killers (1994), which Reznor also produced. Angel on My Shoulder (1997). "Dead Souls," NIN's cover of the Joy Division song, appears on the soundtrack for The Crow (1994).

Casino (1995) - "Without You". Forrest Gump (1994) - "Everybody's Talkin'". Private School for Girls (1993) - "You're Breakin' My Heart". Caroline (animated short, 1993) - "Caroline".

Reservoir Dogs (1992) - "Coconut". Goodfellas (1990) - "Jump Into the Fire". Real Life (1979) - "Jump Into the Fire". All That Jazz (1979) - "Perfect Day".

La Mortadella (1971) - "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City". Dusty and Sweets McGee (1971) - "Don't Leave Me". Me, Myself and I (1992) song "Me, Myself and I" written and performed. The Fisher King (1991) song "How About You" performed.

Camp Candy (TV series, animated, 1989-1991) theme song written, and performed with John Candy. First Impressions (TV series, 1988) theme song co-written, performed. Handgun (1983) song "Lay Down Your Arms" written and performed. Popeye (1980) all songs written.

In God We Trust (1980) new version of "Good For God" performed. The World's Greatest Lover (1978) song "Ain't It Kinda Wonderful" performed. Son of Dracula (1974) actor (lead role), all songs performed. The Point! (1971) story, all songs written and performed.

Jenny (1970) song "Waiting" written and performed. Midnight Cowboy (1969) new version of "Everybody's Talkin'" performed. The Courtship of Eddie's Father (TV series, 1969-1972) theme song written and performed, incidental music. Skidoo (1968) songs written and performed, soundtrack music composer, actor (bit role).

Flash Harry (1980) (not released in USA). Knnillssonn (1977). ...That's the Way It Is (1976). Sandman (1976).

Duit on Mon Dei (1975). Pussy Cats (1974). Son of Dracula (1974). 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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