Harry Nilsson – Songs by Other People

On 15th January 1994, Harry Nilsson passed away. With this in mind, I had a think about about how I could celebrate the life of the great man, especially as I have already posted a good deal of Nilsson related material of late. Well, this is what I came up with.

Nilsson wasn’t just a great singer, he was also an innovative songwriter who could work in many genres. Nilsson was also that prolific with only the ‘Skidoo’ Soundtrack, ‘The Point’, ‘Duit On Mon Dei’ and ‘Knnillssonn’ albums having no cover versions on them. It could be argued that the songs Nilsson is best known for were both covers; ‘Without You’ and ‘Everybody’s Talkin’. He even produced an album that was a show case for another songwriter in the then up and coming Randy Newman. I therefore thought that it would be an interesting exercise to put together a What-If release containing all of the covers that Nilsson recorded whilst on the RCA label.

I decided not to include any songs from ‘Nilsson Sings Newman’, as this was designed to be an album completely made up of covers. The same with ‘A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night’. This was a standards album and therefore designed to be made up of from the Great American Songbook, none of which Nilsson wrote. I also did not include covers from his pre-RCA days (as these have already been covered in previous posts), nor from ‘Flash Harry’. Including songs from those albums would have made this project too big and unwieldy. As it turns out, it is quite big enough as it is as it would have to be a three LP set and ‘Flash Harry’ was on a different label to everything else on this collection so we will go for the fact that a rights issues meant they weren’t included. 

On the version I made for myself, I included a couple of edits. There is a spoken outdo to ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ which has nothing to do with the song, but everything to do with how the parent album ‘Pandemonium Shadow Show’ starts. I also edited out the fluffed take of ‘Sweet Lorraine’ but kept in the second half of the song as it meant that the sides of that disc matched up more closely. ON Spotify though. these edits could not be made. Nilsson also covered ‘Ballin’ The Jack’ in 1970 and 1976, but I decided to include both as they are significantly different to each other. For the completist, I included an alternative version of ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ that was the closing track on the original soundtrack album of ‘Midnight Cowboy’.  The songs included from 1967 and 1968 were the mono version, as these would not have been as well known as their stereo equivalents. The Italian song ‘Leggenda’ is repeated here from the previous post, but it is a cover version so it needed to be included. 

Side A

  1. She Sings Hymns Out Of Tune (Mono)
  2. You Can’t Do That (Mono)
  3. She’s Leaving Home (Mono)
  4. There Will Never Be (Mono)
  5. Freckles (Mono)
  6. River Deep – Mountain High (Mono)
  7. As I Wander Lonely (Mono)
  8. Leggenda (Mono)
  9. She’s Just Laughing At Me (Mono)

Side B

  1. Everybody’s Talking (Mono)
  2. Searchin’ 
  3. Fairfax Rag
  4. Mother Nature’s Son
  5. Mr Bojangles
  6. Simon Smith & The Amazing Dancing Bear
  7. Ballin’ The Jack (1970 Version)
  8. Blackbird
  9. Lucille

Side C

  1. Early In the Morning 
  2. Let The Good Times Roll
  3. Isolation
  4. Without You
  5. Walk Right Back
  6. At My Front Door
  7. Campo De Enchino

Side D

  1. Save The Last Dance For Me
  2. Many Rivers To Cross
  3. Subterranean Homesick Blues
  4. Loop De Loop
  5. Rock Around The Clock
  6. I’ll Take A Tango

Side E

  1. Just One Look/Baby I’m Yours
  2. That Is All
  3. I Need You
  4. Sail Away
  5. Shuffle Off To Buffalo
  6. Zombie Jamboree (Back To Back)
  7. That Is All (Reprise)

Side F

  1. Ballin’ The Jack (1976 Version)
  2. A Thousand Miles Away
  3. She Sits Down On Me
  4. Sweet Lorraine
  5. Ain’t It Kinda Wonderful
  6. Everybody’s Talkin’ (Soundtrack Version)

The sleeve is adapted from Belle Ghoul’s release called ‘Songs By Other People’. The title was perfect. If only my computer skills were as good. 

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