Harry Nilsson – In Italiano

One of the many surprises included on the 2013 box set ‘The RCA Albums Collection’ was a number of songs Nilsson had recorded in Italian. Even though the majority of these Italian versions were recorded as far back as 1967, only ‘Cuddly Toy’ would see an initial release. Another song, called ‘Leggenda’ was the B-Side the the Italian language version of ‘Without You’. Leggenda is an Italian folk song that is about catching a butterfly but accidentally killing it. The moral being that you cannot catch your dreams. 

Nilsson would return to recording in Italian in 1971 for his super hit single, ‘Without You’. There is also an interloper on this mini album in that I have included a Spanish language version of ‘Without You’ as well. This follows the trend of records of this type by not being a direct translation but following the feeling of the words instead. In the opening there is no mention of evening, and the first verse is all about a single event of her leaving rather than a longer problem (‘always smile but..’). The second verse is different words but same sentiment – about seeing everything dark in the future so needs her to hear the truth right away. The title of the Spanish version translates as ‘If You Aren’t There’. This matches the chorus which would read ‘Living Isn’t life, if you aren’t there. I can’t exist without your love’. This is also true of the Italian versions where the meaning is similar but not exactly the same.  

The sleeve is a photo of Nilsson from the late 60s with the title and record company logos added. If this were to be released, it would fit nicely onto a 10” record and if was released, it would have been a nice exclusive for the Italian market. 

Side A

  1. Cuddly Toy
  2. You Can’t Do That
  3. Without Her
  4. Per Chi

Side B

  1. It’s Been So Long
  2. Sleep Late, My Lady Friend
  3. Leggenda
  4. Si No Estas Tu

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