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For The Love Of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson - Various Artists

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For The Love Of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson (1995) - Various Artists

    Featuring »

Johnny A., Tim Archibald, LaVern Baker, Richard Barone, Gerry Beckley, Beckley/Lamm/Wilson, Adrian Belew, Marc Cohn, John Cowan, Marshall Crenshaw, Doug Dube, Joe Ely (Little Johnny Fader), Steve Forbert, Jellyfish, Al Kooper, Robert (Bobby) Lamm, Bill Lloyd, Brian Maes, Aimee Mann, Roger Manning, Randy (Randall Stuart) Newman, Peter Wolf And The Houseparty 5, Maggie Roche, Terre Roche, Suzzy Roche, Fred Schneider, Ron Sexsmith, Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey), David Stefanelli, Andy Sturmer, The Roches, Jennifer Trynin, Jim(my) Webb, Victoria Williams, Carl (Dean) Wilson, Brian Wilson, Peter Wolf

    Tracklisting »

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  Date Performance: 1994-09-26, Running Time: 2:21
  Comments: by Randy Newman (appears courtesy of Warner Bros. Records)
Turn On Your Radio
  Date Performance: 1994-07-00, Running Time: 3:55
  Comments: by Marc Cohn (appears courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.) Recorded at The Shithole, NYC. Mixed at The Magic Shop, NYC. Thanks to Danny Kapilian, Al Kooper, Steve Rosenthal and Matt Knobel. "I've Got A Feeling" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) All Rights controlled and administered by EMI Blackwood Music, Inc. under license from ATV Music (MacLen Music)
  Date Performance: 1995, Running Time: 3:01
  Comments: by Aimee Mann (appears courtesy of Imago Recording Company) Chris Difford appears courtesy of A & M Records. Recorded at Q Division and Konk Studios. Special Thanks to George Tipton for making really cool records and to Michael Hausman for his help in getting this project together.
  Date Performance: 1995, Running Time: 5:06
  Comments: by Fred Schneider (appears courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc.) Special thanks to the Electric Lady, Baby Monster (Steve Burgh - Owner) Brian & Harold Dessau Studio (for rehearsals), Ultrasound & The Magic Shop Studios, Studio Managers (Mary Campbell - Electric Lady) and Engineers for their generosity and time, S.I.R. & Michael Johnson (for instruments, amps and transportation), Vinny's Music (equipment transportation). Thanks to David Russell, Brent Richardson, Jimmy Vivino, James Wormworth and Renoda Campbell. Special thanks to Danny Kapilian and Harry.
  Date Performance: 1994, Running Time: 3:58
  Comments: by Joe Ely (appears courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.) Recorded at Spur Studios, Austin, TX, Summer, 1994.
Lay Down Your Arms
  Date Performance: 1995-01-17, Running Time: 3:27
  Comments: by Ringo Starr with Stevie Nicks (appears courtesy of Modern/Atlantic Records). Don Was appears courtesy of Phonogram/Capital Fontana. Recorded at The Chomsky Ranch.
Without Her
  Date Performance: 1995, Running Time: 4:28
  Comments: by Beckley/Lamm/Wilson. Recorded at East Wing, NYC; Jesse Schemp Studio, Tarzana, CA; Cocoa-Butt Productions, Culver City, CA. Mixed at East Wing, NYC.
Jump Into The FireLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1995, Running Time: 3:36
  Comments: by LaVern Baker. Engineered at Mission Control Studio, Cape Cod, MA & Sound On Sound, NYC. Barry Marshall plays Gibson guitars. Thanks to Danny Kapilian, John Simon, Dave Amlin at Sound On Sound, Cheryl & D. Anthony Jonzun.
The Moonbeam Song
  Date Performance: 1994-06-00, Running Time: 3:30
  Comments: by Steve Forbert. Recorded at Moondog Music, Nashville. Thanks to Dan Dugmore, Nathan R. Smith, Moondog Music Studio & Barry Marshall. Anthony Crawford appears courtesy of Little Dog Records.
You're Breakin' My Heart
  Date Performance: 1994, Running Time: 1:53
  Comments: by Peter Wolf And The Houseparty 5. Recorded & Mixed at Q Division, Albany Street, Boston, MA, Spring, 1994. Johnny A. & Barry Marshall play Gibson guitars.
Mournin' Glory Story
  Date Performance: 1995, Running Time: 2:55
  Comments: by Jennifer Trynin. Recorded & mixed at Q Division, Boston. Thanks to Danny Kapilian, Bob Bortnick and Q.
Salmon Falls
  Date Performance: 1995, Running Time: 4:42
  Comments: by Al Kooper. Produced, Arranged & Mixed at Stoked Sounds/Nashville. Recorded on Fostex A-DAT's.
The Puppy Song
  Date Performance: 1995-01-02, Running Time: 3:20
  Comments: by Victoria Williams (appears courtesy of Mammoth Records). Dave Pirner appears courtesy of Sony Music. Andrew Williams appears courtesy of Warner Bros. Records. Mark Olson appears courtesy of American Records. Recorded at Pine Tree Manor, Los Angeles, CA.
Don't Forget Me
  Date Performance: 1994-05-00, Running Time: 3:31
  Comments: by Marshall Crenshaw, who "acted alone". Recorded at Squashophonic Sound, Woodstock, NY.
This Could Be The Night
  Date Performance: 1994, Running Time: 2:30
  Comments: by Brian Wilson (appears courtesy of Karambolage/MCA Records). Recorded and Mixed at Your Place Or Mine Location Recording, Glendale, CA, Summer, 1994. Special thanks - Melinda Ledbetter
Think About Your Troubles
  Date Performance: 1994-02-00, Running Time: 2:42
  Comments: by Jellyfish (appear courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.) Recorded at Andy's House.
The Lottery Song
  Date Performance: 1994, Running Time: 2:26
  Comments: by Bill Lloyd. Recorded at home (Def Heffer Studio) on an 8-Track A-DAT.
Good Old Desk
  Date Performance: 1995, Running Time: 2:07
  Comments: by Ron Sexsmith (appears courtesy of Interscope Records). Recorded at Dreamland Studio, Woodstock, NY, Sound Factory & Master Control, Los Angeles, CA. Thank you Michael Dixon & Tony Ferguson.
Me And My ArrowLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1995, Running Time: 3:12
  Comments: by Adrian Belew (appears courtesy of Caroline Records, Inc.). Recorded at home.
I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City
  Date Performance: 1994, Running Time: 2:40
  Comments: by Richard Barone. Gary Lucas appears courtesy of Enemy Records. Recorded at Mix-O-Lyydian Studios, NJ & The Magic Shop, NYC, Summber, 1994. Mixed at The Magic Shop. Special thanks to Vince Mauro for his arrangement concept, Mixo Don, Danny Kapilian and, of course, Harry.
  Date Performance: 1994-12-00, Running Time: 3:41
  Comments: by The Roches with Mark Johnson. The Roches appear courtesy of Rykodisc. Mike Mesaros & Dennis Diken on loan from The Smithereens and appear courtesy of RCA Records. Basic tracks recorded at Pilot Recording Studios, NYC on 12/3/94. Vocals recorded and track mixed at Baby Monster Studio, NYC on 12/28/94. Additional creative mixing at Mad Park Studios, NYC. Special thanks to Will Schillinger, Steve Burgh, Miles Roston, Richard Barone, Carole Hedges, Travis Walton (a real spaceman) and Stewart Lerman.
Don't Leave Me
  Date Performance: 1995, Running Time: 3:56
  Comments: by John Cowan. Produced, arranged & mixed at Stoked Sounds/Nashville. Recorded on Fostex A-DAT's. Special thanks to Bill Lloyd.
  Date Performance: 1994-07-00, Running Time: 4:03
  Comments: by Jimmy Webb. Recorded in NYC.
    Guest Appearances »

Zack Alford, Sweet Pea Atkinson, Richard Barone, Jo(h)n Brion, Sharon Celani, Mike County, Anthony Crawford, Chris Difford, Dennis Diken, Don Dixon, Chris Foley, Mitchell Froom(e), Glen Fukunaga, Phil Galdston, Peter Gordon, Tommy Goss, David Grissom, Lisa Haney, Neil Innes, Chris Irwin, Randy Jacobs, Mark Johnson, Michael Jonzun, Ivan Julian, Bobby B. Keyes, Russell Keyes, John Kimbrough, Al Kooper, Howard Letovsky, John Leventhal, Gary Lucas, Lloyd Maines, Kenny Margolis, Jerry Marotta, Ellie Marshall, Barrie/Barry Marshall, Kevin Marshall, Davis McLarty, Mike Mesaros, Jay Minor, Tom(my) Morgan, Stevie Nicks, Harry Nilsson, Mark Olson, Andy Paley, Jonathan Paley, Lori Perry-Nicks/Perry/Nicks, Dave/David Pirner, Vince Santoro, Jason Scheff, Jerry Obern Scheff, Clayton Peter Scoble, Robin Siegel, Ira Siegel, John (Spier) Simon, Didi Stewart, David Stone, Gar(r)y Tallent, Michael (Hart) Thompson, Robby/Robbie Turner, Dave Vargas, Don Was (Fagenson), Andrew Williams, Tracy Wormworth

    Released »


    Format »

Domestic Vinyl/CD Album

    Other Appearances »
Kerry Cunningham (Engineer), Joe Ely (Little Johnny Fader) (Engineer), Chris Irwin (Engineer), Will Schillinger (Engineer), John (Winston/Ono) Lennon(, MBE) (Songwriter), John (Winston/Ono) Lennon(, MBE) (Songwriter), Paul (James) McCartney (Songwriter), Paul (James) McCartney (Songwriter), Harry Nilsson (Songwriter), Phil Spector (Songwriter), Klaus Voorman(n) (Songwriter), Al Kooper (Synth Programming), Steve Corson (Assistant Engineer), Ed(ward) Douglas (Assistant Engineer), Joe Warda (Assistant Engineer), Danny Kapilian (Executive Producer), Al Kooper (Executive Producer), R(obert) Molnar/Mulnar/Mulner (Executive Producer), Mark Lin(n)et(t)(e) (Mix Engineer), Al Kooper (Liner Notes), Derek Taylor (Liner Notes), Laura Grover (Production Coordinator), John Agnello (Produced By), Richard Barone (Produced By), Jo(h)n Brion (Produced By), Marc Cohn (Produced By), Michael/Mike Den(n)een (Produced By), Paul Fox (Produced By), Mitchell Froom(e) (Produced By), Phil Galdston (Produced By), Mark Johnson (Produced By), Michael Jonzun (Produced By), Al Kooper (Produced By), John Leventhal (Produced By), Barrie/Barry Marshall (Produced By), Andy Paley (Produced By), Mike Rathke (Produced By), Gar(r)y Tallent (Produced By), Don Was (Fagenson) (Produced By), Brian Wilson (Produced By), Frank Wolf (Produced By), Peter Wolf (Produced By), Peter Wolf (Produced By), Ian Bryan (Engineered By), Steve Burgh (Engineered By), Michael/Mike Den(n)een (Engineered By), Noah Evens (Engineered By), Michael Jonzun (Engineered By), David Lane (Engineered By), Umbrella (Management), Chris Irwin (Co-Produced By), Jim(my) Webb (Co-Produced By), Tchad Blake (Recorded By), Tim Coats (Recorded By), Marshall Crenshaw (Recorded By), Michael/Mike Den(n)een (Recorded By), Phil Galdston (Recorded By), John Leventhal (Recorded By), Jon Lupfer (Recorded By), Michael/Mike Reiter (Recorded By), Jason Scheff (Recorded By), Michael (Hart) Thompson (Recorded By), Don Was (Fagenson) (Recorded By), Frank Wolf (Recorded By), John Agnello (Mixed By), Stephen Benben (Mixed By), Tchad Blake (Mixed By), Michael/Mike Den(n)een (Mixed By), Phil Galdston (Mixed By), Michael Jonzun (Mixed By), Kevin Killen (Mixed By), Al Kooper (Mixed By), Jon Lupfer (Mixed By), Jack Joseph Puig (Mixed By), Mike Rathke (Mixed By), Michael/Mike Reiter (Mixed By), Steve Rosenthal (Mixed By), Don Was (Fagenson) (Mixed By), Bob Ludwig (Mastered By), Richard Barone (Arranged By), Phil Galdston (Arranged By), Al Kooper (Arranged By), Robert (Bobby) Lamm (Arranged By), Robert (Bobby) Lamm (Arranged By), Fred Schneider (Arranged By), Ian Bryan (Digital Editing), Mark Lin(n)et(t)(e) (Recording Engineer), Tom Gartland (Technical Advisor), (Young) Dan Bosworth (Recording Assisted By), (Young) Dan Bosworth (Mixing Assisted By), Phil Galdston (Drum Programming), Robert (Bobby) Lamm (Drum Programming), Robert (Bobby) Lamm (Drum Programming), Melinda Cody (Coordination), John Agnello (Baby Monster Recording By), Brian Sperber/Spurber (Electric Lady Assistant Engineer), Brian Sperber/Spurber (Sound On Sound Engineering By), Ed(ward) Douglas (Magic Shop Assistant Engineer), Ian Bryan (Baby Monster House Engineer), Bob Kempf (Mission Control Engineering By), Beverly Keel (Studio Mgr.), John Yates (Dreamland Assistant Engineer), John Paterno (Sound Factory Additional Recording), Don Sternecker (Mix-O-Lyydian Recording By), Steve Rosenthal (Magic Shop Recording By), Miles Roston (Additional Creative Mixing By), Bob Gruen (Photo By), Ebet Roberts (Photo By)

    Record Label »

    Catalogue Number »


    Running Time »


    Liner Notes »


Harry Edward Nilsson, born Brooklyn, New York, June 15, 1941; died Agoura Hills, Los Angeles, January 15, 1994.

His death was scarcely unexpected but the shock was terrible. On both sides of the Atlantic, subjective responses brought hundreds of us to the telephone.

Many of his friends visited each other's houses. One of the great night and day beacons had gone out. The laughing had stopped.

The English author Leigh Hunt wrote long ago of another great loss: "The death of a comic artist is felt more than that of a tragedian. He has sympathised more with us in our every day feelings and has given us more amusement.

"It seems a hard thing upon the comic actor to quench his airiness and vivacity, to stop him in his happy career - to make us think of him, on the sudden, with solemnity - and to miss him forever. It is something like losing a merry child."

So in the immediacy as so often, the misery of our bereavement was selfish. We mourned our loss.

We were overwhelmed by the eclipse of that merry child, that comic artist. It was the unassuming over-arching cheerfulness of his elusive aura that obscured Nilsson's dynamism, range and intellectual subtlety from a whole mess of rock mavens, list-makers and annotators. (It's been their loss but it's never too late to learn.)

For every obtuse bystander, there were a hundred active artists, Harry's peers in music and patrons from other fields of entertainment-people of real stature-who knew what he was worth and what they have lost. They/we/all of us will miss getting lost in that huge embrace.

The music we have and this album is living, breathing proof of its capacity to endure. But the man we loved has gone and in the months since that shocking January day, just before the larger earthquake of Los Angeles, many of our better thoughts have been with the family he left who have to bear the real loss and the greater burden.

I have no doubts that far and away the most important contribution he made to late 20th Century culture was in building and sustaining that family with his dear wife Una who now keeps alive the spirit of the "merry child" she lost.

The idea of a tribute album shared by Al Kooper and Danny Kapilian was a good one no matter what "the industry" may feel about their increasing presence in the release lists. Danny's diligence in pulling it all together takes some doing and requires courage and persistence.

Some of those phone calls you have to make to engage people, corral, cajole, and coax them can be difficult and without the trophy of Harry's memory, Una's backing, the team-spirit of such as Jimmy Webb and Randy Newman (who top and tail the collection) and all the others (list too long, naming people too invidious) plus Al's starting pistol, this race wouldn't have been on, let alone won.

As it is, there is a wonderful balanced and marvelously mixed bag of Nilssonia. I never could quite understand why there weren't many more "covers" of Nilsson songs but as with Beatles, Dylan, and others with their grip on the idiom and an imprint on the performance that can't be removed, some songs might as well be left with their originators.

HOWEVER, this album shows that out of the thrall of Harry's living presence and with the collective motive of a tribute, something can be done if not to improve the shining hour of Harry's own version, then at least to bring the new interpreter's own qualities to bear on this fascinating treasure chest of material.

In between Harry's adolescence in and around the underbelly of end-to-end America, a 1950's time peopled with all sorts of post-war grotesques and gentler beings, and his eventual semi-retirement from recording in the Bel-Air 1980's, more than twenty albums were released and film and television enterprises and a couple of theatrical efforts brought him to a wide but never mass audience.

His unwillingness to perform in public (there were no real concerts at all so far as I know), diffidence about plugging his own singles and a readiness to blow almost any trumpet other than his own kept him away from the charts to such an extent that reading the statistics recently I've realized that millions of people-indeed, most people-may have heard nothing except "Without You" and "Everybody's Talkin'".

Thus, in global terms he never did become a household name. So be it. Though I tried to make him known far and wide because I believed he was good for the human race, I have come to see that public acclaim is no measure of greatness and has nothing to do with the real stuff of life, and in real life Harry was the real stuff and the right stuff.

In our household he certainly was a name to conjure with. When someone said: "Harry's on his way," it was lighting up time.

I wrote the following for Mojo Magazine not long after Harry died:

"He had a glow around him. He really listened to us, to the children, when we were talking. He was like Father Christmas. He was somehow a toy in himself.' Thus Vanessa Taylor, now an adult, fourth of our six children (Joan's and mine) recalls Harry Nilsson, our friend, who died last month.

Harry Nilsson shone in many of our lives as we caroused in the last years of the 60's and in that decade's long afterglow. I first met him - by design - in Hollywood, early 1968, in the bar of the La Brea Inn, above Sunset, near A&M Studios. I'd heard his song, "1941", and knew immediately that its energy and brilliance put him at one with The Beatles, then the unchallenged occupants of the palace of transcendental excellence.

I bought a box of the album that carried this song (the LP "Pandemonium Shadow Show") and mailed copies off to The Beatles in London, knowing they would immediately see a genius with insights akin to their own, and I presumed that somehow they would welcome him as a Fab-Across-The-Water, a ranking as high as you could get in the pantheon in those days.

Indeed, this recognition did happen, and quickly. All four Beatles adopted this tall, sports-loving quintessentially American composer and singer, welcoming him as friend and equal, and the relationships grew and remained strong until the end. The kid from Brooklyn and the boys from Liverpool matured together, and sort of became one.

At a huge New York press conference in 1968 when Apple was launched as a brave experiment to promote the arts and save the world, John and Paul were asked to name their favorite artist. "Nilsson". And group? "Nilsson". That got him known quicker and more widely than might otherwise have happened but he was already well regarded, writing for Phil Spector, and with his song "Cuddly Toy" covered by the red-hot Monkees. When his music income exceeded his income at the Security First National Bank, he left the bank and became one of the great buccaneers of L.A., New York and London. He never conformed, was never mainstream.

Musically, Harry had it all. He knew and understood American pop back into the mists and he could sing it all - rock, pop, soul and standards. He wrote some very unsilly love songs. One was "Without Her". Al Kooper told Billboard "It drove me nuts. I must have played it a million times." Michael Kamen said of the same song: "It was the first pop song for me that was a legitimate composition - with an extraordinary aria. His writing was complex and deeply personal and not always easy."

Not easy enough for Harry to get in the Top 10 with versions of his own songs. Others wrote the big, big hits "Everybody's Talkin'" and "Without You" but nobody could have taken the latter to such heights.

He always had plans. He was incredibly generous. Stanley Dorfman said you could go to dinner with Harry and embark on an adventure which could take you anywhere - Niagara Falls, perhaps. He could make a basket from halfcourt. He astonished strangers in bars with conjuring tricks and hypnotic games with complicated numbers. He could get you crazy. For most of the 70's he kept a flat in London. It was party time.

In his more obvious modes, singing hits, he was the people's choice and he won Grammies and fame. The most consistent feature of all was that he refused, for reasons he never fully explained to me, to perform in front of an audience. Had he done so, touring in the conventional manner, supporting record releases, he would have been richer, better known and yet no happier. I don't think he liked anything impersonal. He liked it all to be up close.

After John Lennon's murder, Harry became a ferociously strong campaigner for real gun control. He was always a humane and liberal man. Like a lot of us, he drank. But he didn't drink all the time, and he didn't drink at all in the final years. His primary concerns were always for family and friends.

He was a good son and brother. He had a loved son Zak from his first marriage, to Diane. He was a vivid devoted husband to Una and an involved, loving father to their six children Beau, Ben, Annie, Olivia, Kief and Oscar and it was at home with them that he died in his sleep.

There was other work with animators and his friend and last producer, Mark Hudson, encouraged enough songs out of him to make a new, fresh posthumous CD. RCA has worked on a boxed set. It was planned during Harry's lifetime, I'm glad to say. Actually, everything he did should be re-released,

I have no doubt he was one of the great American figures of international popular music and a powerful life-force in the second half of the century. Musicians and friends and people who passed in the night could bear witness to their own admiration - have done so already - and we can all recall with delight that glow, that illuminating brightness that he carried around, no matter how wrecked he might have been.

I'm finding Harry's death quite unbearable, the more so as the days and weeks pass and as no man is an island. I know that the bit of me that was Harry has died with him."


Well, I guess the key word in the title of this project is "love", because if you had ever met Harry, you would have loved him too.

In 1967, his single "Without Her" never left my turntable and I eventually covered it on the album CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN, which was recorded in December of that year. Shortly thereafter, a meeting was arranged on a trip to Los Angeles, and a friendship was struck. This was the unbearded Harry, the comparatively innocent one, and I was hooked. My next album was my first solo album, and Harry's song "One" was included in that package. And in 1969, when I cut my second solo album, an a cappella version of "Mournin' Glory Story" was included for good luck.

As co-executive producer of this collection, I am glad to see the latter compositions included here and I thank the artists involved for having the good taste to select them. And I must thank Danny Kapilian, my collaborator, for selecting those artists, who selected those songs, who were eaten by some fishes and swallowed by a whale of a good time.

Harry and I had many good times together but there is one evening that stands out and is worth recapitulating:

It was a Wednesday afternoon and Billboard's chart positions for the next week had just come out. Harry's "Without You" would be #1 the very next week for the very first time. Richard Perry (his producer) called and invited me to a small dinner to celebrate this event. We were to adjourn at The Captain's Table on La Cienega Blvd. in Hollywood the next evening and it would be Richard, Harry, myself and the women of our choice.

I called a young lady who had recently come back into my life after an absence of six years or so. This was to be our first "date" since our rediscovery. Her name was Arlene and she accompanied me to The Captain's Table that evening. The choice of only these particular male participants was because we were all in London together when the single and album from whence it came were conceived. We were extremely ugly Americans to most everyone around us that summer, but we did keep their ribs hurting from laughter, thereby avoiding imprisonment or banishment barely through this simple device. And so again at dinner this Thursday eve, we laughed and stuffed ourselves like pigs in this high class establishment, much to the chagrin of those around us.

When it came time to pay the check, a good-natured battle began over who would "grease the garcon". I reached into my inside jacket pocket, to make sure I had the plastic to back up my bravado, and lo & behold, a curious surprise awaited me. I had forgotten that that very morning, I had visited a magicians shop on Hollywood Blvd. and secured a cache of flash paper. This tissue-like issue is used by magicians to conjure up that flash of orange light to climax some feat of prestidigitation, but must be discharged from the hand rather quickly to avoid burning oneself. The paper disappears into thin air after the orange blast. The particular type of paper I had purchased that morning was made up to look like fifty dollar bills and was different than my usual purchase in that it had printing on it.

Grinning cheshire-like, I rose from the table - "I shall be the one to pay the check" I shouted, "because I... to burn". As everyone in the establishment turned to my raised voice, I reached into my pocket, pulled out the bogus bill and set it aflame with the candelabra on the table, carefully tossing it in the air, with my usual flourish and timing. However, because for the first time in my magician's career, there was ink printing on the paper, the burn-up time was increased immeasurably, and the burning bill floated down like that feather in "Forrest Gump" gently onto the top of Arlene's head quickly setting her hair on fire.

Harry reached over instantly and patted out the inferno on my companion's head to the applause of everyone in the restaurant. I, for one, had immediately taken on the persona of a man in a suit, completely drenched in perspiration, not unlike one who has stood under a shower fully clothed. Embarrassed? That's an understatement. Arlene, after ten minutes of well meaning-artificial grins, excused herself to go to the powder room (no pun intended) in order to survey the damage. And, my patient readers, it was then and only then, as the ladies room door slowly closed behind her, that gentleman Harry, screamed & roared with laughter, doubling over onto the floor of said establishment, letting loose big kahuna waves of amusement he had contained miraculously in deference to poor Arlene's plight for a full ten minutes until she left the room. Because that's the kinda guy Harry was.

The concept of this Harry-vival started in Nilsson's lifetime. Word reached me that he was seriously ill. I made sure that I visited with him out West, and upon arriving back home, I was chatting with Danny Kapilian about Harry's plight. We decided to round up a bunch of Harry's friends and fans and record an album of his songs, not only to cheer him up, but to remind the world about one of its great treasures.

"Why not, indeed?" we thought and called David Spero, Harry's manager at the time, to see what he thought. He suggested I call Harry and run it by him. Nervously, I dialed Harry and had one of the most heartwarming conversations of this half century I have suffered walking the face of this Earth. He was thrilled! He was flattered! He suggested a favorite band of his, Jellyfish, be included. This was all the impetus Danny and I needed.

We struck a deal with the label I was signed to at the time (and still am). MusicMasters came aboard in the same spirit that Danny and I had embraced. The concept was simple: each artist would choose their favorite Nilsson song and deliver the track at their own expense, performed exactly the way they saw fit, with no meddling by these particular exec producers. I called my good friend Derek Taylor who had produced one of Harry's best albums, and brought him aboard. Derek was our "fountain of wisdom", and any decisions that needed to be made were always tempered by that wisdom.

One of Danny's assets is that he has one of the best rolodexes in the business. He knows everyone. At a time when I had chosen to drop out of the music business, Danny was very much still in it and he was given free reign to contact whomever he saw fit to be included in this heartfelt mission. We soon found out we had bitten off quite a chunk, and a mere four months into our mission, we lost Harry. Una suggested that the royalties from the album be turned over to The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence; a charity that Harry had championed and campaigned vigorously for ever since the death of his friend, John Lennon. We agreed and we understood.

"Cross Ted Nugent off the artist contact sheet" I said to Danny, and we forged ahead.

As the next year went by, the first selections trickled in: Jellyfish was the first and one of the best. Then came Marshall Crenshaw. Marc Cohn was next and he and John Leventhal surely did some amazing work on "Turn On Your Radio". Through Danny's amazing detective work, many of our top choices were contacted and happily came aboard: Jimmy Webb and Randy Newman, close personal friends of Harry's, were chosen to bookend the album. Why, even the reclusive Brian Wilson paid his respects!

When the smoke cleared after our deadline, more than 23 artists had given of their talent, time and money to put together a most eclectic, and from the-heart collection. The task was then allocated to Allan Tucker of Foothill Digital Mastering to take in these 23 disparate islands and to make them into a solid landmass where the flag of Harry could be proudly flown. Four days later, after many sequencing "discussions" between Danny and myself, "FOR THE LOVE OF HARRY" was finally hatched. The proud parents smiled (actually) & lit up cigars (figuratively not in the budget!).

There are so many people to thank that I shall leave that for other pages. Ultimately it is the artists that I once again tip my hat to for their refreshing unselfishness. I am truly sorry that this album arrives amidst a plethora of unnecessary business-driven "tribute albums", because none of these artists or their record companies will be financially remunerated for their work. You see, it was all done for the love of Harry...


In the months that followed Al's calling Harry about our project, I compiled an extensive list of artists we considered appropriate for this album. There were many wonderful musicians and bands who might have contributed a track - let me say "thanks' here to those who for any number of reasons didn't make it on board, but nonetheless contributed in spirit. You know who you are. As for the artists and musicians and studios who did contribute the 23 tracks included here this album should almost be simply titled "THANKS FROM HARRY, DANNY & AL".

In that original long list of possible contributors, one of the first names mentioned was Randy Newman. Randy was an up and coming songwriter when, in 1970, Nilsson recorded an entire album of his songs entitled "Nilsson Sings Newman". That record won great praise, including the Stereo Review Album Of The Year Award, To my knowledge, Randy had never recorded a Nilsson tune. For various reasons, I pursued other artists for tracks first. First came Jellyfish, then Marshall Crenshaw, then Al got Bill the spring came Marc Cohn, Adrian Belew and Peter Wolf. Summer came and I couldn't get Randy out of my head. I'd worked with many great songwriters and performers, but I'd never met Randy and had no direct ties to him. Plus, I admit, I was a bit intimidated. I'm a big fan.

I called my friend Bill Bentley at Warner Brothers in L.A. - a mensch in the record business if there ever was one - to pick his brain about how to pursue Randy. He suggested I get help from his department head, Bob Merlis another mensch, and an old friend of Randy's. Bob faxed an enthusiastic endorsement on my behalf to Cathy Kerr at Peter Asher Management. In early July, Cathy called me to say that they'd get back to me soon. Three weeks went by and not a word.

Randy was going to be playing the venerable Newport Folk Festivel in Rhode Island on Saturday, August 6th. I had been a staff producer for the company that presents the Newport Festivel, so (knowing that I could get in) I decided to drive up from New York to meet Randy backstage without telling Randy's office ahead of time that I was coming, I guess I was seeking serendipity.

It was a warm and beautiful day as I drove north on Interstate 95 - so nice, in fact, that the abominable summer weekend traffic set me back by some two hours. When I finally crossed the Newport Bridge into downtown Newport, I checked the time and realized that Randy was starting his set, I still had a ten-mile drive through town and around to the other side of the harbor, and traffic had come to a dead stop, On this gorgeous August afternoon, all of New England's weekend vacationers had converged to block my meeting with Randy Newman.

I was smack in the middle of the worst of it. Couldn't move out of this tie-up in any direction, The voice in my head was now sounding a bit frantic... "What to do?.. What to do?.. How did this happen?.. nobody knows I came up here, so nobody will know that I blew it if I miss him..." Then I suddenly remembered, just ahead of me the turn-off for the Festival shuttle ferry provided for those in just my predicament. I managed to pull up over the curb, drove down the sidewalk (don't ask) and into an illegal spot (they would never tow, only ticket, I figured). I grabbed my bag containing all of my "For The Love Of Harry" notes, and ran to the pier, only to watch the ferry pull away as I reached the end of the jetty. "NOOOO! COME BACK, YOU SON-OF-A-BITCH'" But my screams went unheeded. There I was at the end of the pier in my suit (yes, a linen summer suit - I wanted to make a good impression on Randy) holding my travel bag and looking first across beautiful Newport Harbor to the unreachable festival site, then around me at the fabulous yachts lining both sides of the pier (this was Newport, after all). I couldn't have been more dejected. I was truly all dressed up with nowhere to go, and I felt I'd made an ass of myself by missing Randy.

Then I spied to one side, down in the water, a local fisherman in a six-foot blow-up dinghy with a hand-held motor...just piddling around the huge magnificent yachts. Without thinking what I was doing, I pulled a bill from my wallet, and yelled out to him "YO! EXCUSE ME...I DESPERATELY NEED TO GET ACROSS TO THE FESTIVAL IMMEDIATELY...WOULD YOU TAKE ME OVER FOR TWENTY BUCKS? I wouldn't guess what he might have thought, but he looked up at me with his eyes squinting in the waning sun and said "Hmmm...yeah, sure...why not?!" Down I jumped - in my suit, travel bag in hand - and off we went. I can still feel the cool salty spray of that crossing now. I got plenty wet, and my heart pounded with excitement as I felt that was finally going to catch up with greater purpose...that I would not be denied after all.

On the other side, I gave the boatman his money and thanked him (wondering in a flash whether he had a receipt), and raced to the ticket window. I got my pass right away and ran to the back stage path. I didn't hear any music, and asked the security guard if Randy's set was over. "Yep, he finished about twenty minutes ago". "Oh, shit!" I thought. I didn't want to think about missing him by mere minutes. Running past all the backstage crew and staff I knew without saying hello, I found the trailer with Randy's name on it, and knocked...all out of breath. The door opened. It was someone in the middle of saying goodbye to Randy, who was right inside, just collecting his things to leave.

"Hi Randy", I huffed and puffed, suit wet and hair ridiculous. "I'm Danny Kapilian and I wrote you about the Harry Nilsson project, and..." Randy cut in, "Oh, Danny, hi! I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner. I've just been so busy. Please come in." Randy was gracious and patient, and introduced me to Cathy Kerr. Randy said "I'm happy to help in any way I can!" Then he said goodbye, and I turned and collapsed on a seat backstage next to the great photographer David Gahr, who listened to the whole story and laughed out loud.

Cathy called two days later from L.A. "Please send a tape right away with songs you'd like Randy to choose from, and he'll narrow it down and cut a song for you". I did, and a short time later a fax came: "He's narrowed it down to 'Remember', '1941', or 'I'd Rather Be Dead'. Please send the sheet music". I found the long-out-of-print sheet music, and one month later got a DAT recording of Randy performing "Remember".

The first time I heard it, 1 called Al Kooper and said "No matter what other tracks come in, Al, this must be the opening song on the album". Randy's performance was so real and intimate and unmistakable - straight from the heart.

Four months later, in early January '95, 1 visited Harry's widow, Una. She had generously offered me the opportunity to look through literally thousands of photos to pick out a few for the CD booklet and cover. Later that rainy day, we visited Harry's grave. There on that simple grey stone, alongside a lovely ingrained photo portrait of him, and the words HARRY NILSSON - BELOVED HUSBAND, FATHER, BROTHER AND FRIEND - was a staff of music. On it were the opening notes to Harry's song "Remember", with the word REMEMBER underneath it.


There are so many individuals to thank for this album, this most genuine of all possible tributes. The most extraordinary thanks goes to all of the recording artists who contributed their creativity, time, and 100% of their royalties. Unthinkable. This also extends to all the musicians and studio technicians who donated their own time and effort in the making of these 23 tracks. Extraordinary thanks goes to Jeffrey Nissim, the president of MusicMasters, for his great heart and vision and unselfish assistance. His donation of 100% of the profits on the sales of this album is an inspiration.

Extraordinary thanks must also go to a few especially remarkable people who gave selflessly whenever they were approached for their assistance. This album would never have been made without their amazing help:

Una Nilsson for her utterly remarkable dignity, generosity, and kindness ... and for her phone call to Monaco on behalf of this album.

Derek Taylor for being Derek Taylor. A true friend who provided the most brilliant, helpful and hilarious insight in every conversation and every fax.

Lee Blackman for being a great friend to both the Nilsson family and to this project.

Steve Rosenthal, the owner and chief engineer of The Magic Shop recording studio in New York, who through endless oddities and distractions inherent in a Kapilian/Kooper production maintained his belief and kindness in donating his professional facilities and services for the tracks by Marc Cohn, Fred Schneider, Victoria Williams, and Richard Barone.

Stanley Dorfman for his great talent common sense, and his love of Harry. Everyone should see Stanley's brilliant BBC-TV productions of Harry performing in London in 1972 and 1973.

David Spero for his special insight and generosity when it was really needed. Thanks again for that sheet music!

Mike Goldsmith for his personal and legal guidance ... a real friend.

Shonen Knife, who recorded a fantastic rendition of the early Nilsson/Phil Spector composition "Paradise" in Osaka for this album, but due to an insurmountable dilemma the track could not be included here. Let's Knife!

The greatest thanks and deepest appreciation go to all of the following who said "yes, I'm happy to help", and donated their time and creative effort:

John Agnello, Robert Mulner and Richard Barone, for cracking that "Coconut".

Dave Amlin, owner of Sound On Sound recording studio in New York.

Bill Bentley and Bob Merlis, for their assistance with Randy Newman.

Jon Brion and Michael Hausman, for bringing Aimee on board.

Steve Burgh, owner and chief engineer of Baby Monster studio in New York.

Mary Campbell, manager of Electric Lady studio in New York.

Melanie Ciccone and Tony Ferguson, for delivering Ron Sexsmith.

Brandon Cruz and Mickey Dolenz for being with us in spirit.

Mike Denneen, owner and chief engineer of Q Division recording studio in Boston, for his services and for Jen, Paul Fox, Victoria's producer, for getting it done.

Phil Galdston and Jack Lichtenberg, for making Beckley/Lamm/Wilson a reality.

E.J. Gold and Morgan Fox for their timely contributions.

Arlene Hodder, for being a real trouper and putting up with all of this.

Michael Jonzun, for the facilities and services of his studio for Lavern Baker.

Cathy Kerr, a caring and diligent friend to Randy and this project.

John Leventhal, producer, musician and arranger extraordinaire with Marc Cohn.

Barry Marshall, who came through like he said he would ... twice.

The MusicMasters Art Department, for their patience, diligence and caring.

Andy Paley and Julia Thompson, for all their help with Brian Wilson.

Miles Rostin, who donated time to remix The Roches on stupidly short notice.

Will Schillinger, owner and chief engineer of Pilot recording studio in New York.

Steve Schoen, the marketing man and inside track at MusicMasters.

Robin Siegel, for helping Jimmy Webb to come up with the perfect closer.

John Simon, who raced into New York on no notice to play great piano for Lavern.

Don Was, who delivered Ringo and Stevie ... on time!

All photographs courtesy of Una Nilsson.

Danny Kapilian wishes to thank Al Kooper for the belief and the leeway to see this vision through, virtually with out compromise ... and thanks for Derek! Danny also thanks Sandy Sawotka, his wife, for patience, intelligent ears, uncommon sense, peace love and understanding. Oh, and thanks, HARRY, for the music!

Al Kooper wishes to thank Alan Tucker at Foothill Digital for his usual great mastering work; and he would like to bless Sir Harry for birthing these compositions and so many men that make life tolerable for the rest of us stuck here on this cold black Earth where he left us in/with the wink of an eye.


WASHINGTON, D.C. 20002-5625
TELEPHONE: 202-544-7190

We recommend that if you enjoyed this album please make sure you investigate the originator.


Radio photo from Radios Redux: Listening In Style by Phillip Collins. Photography by Sam Sargent (C) 1991, published by Chronicle Books.

(P) (C) 1995 MusicMasters, Inc. Rock "Where the music matters" Distributed in the USA by BMG Music

Made in the USA

Compact Disc Digital Audio


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Interesting cast but no standout performances
Review written by John Fitzgerald, January 18th, 2005

"Lay down your arms" is billed on this release as "Ringo Starr with Stevie Nicks" and you do hear Stevie good on the chorus chants and better in general throughout the song as it goes along but it's basically a toy reggae track. In fact, there are many big name artists included here which is impressive in itself but the bottom line for me is that there aren't really any standout tracks. Randy Newman's "Remember" is a typical piano only track with croaking Newman vocals. Marc Cohn's "Turn on your radio" is a skipping moaner and Aimee Mann's "One" is an electric piano chunking version of the Nilsson penned track that became a large hit for Three Dog Night. The B52's Fred Schneider does "Coconut" here in a punkish fuzzy gruff rocking way. Joe Ely's Joy is a crooning waltz swayer, the Beckley/Lamm/Wilson track "Without her" is a dancy bouncer, Lavern Baker's version of "Jump into the fire" here is a boogie turned gospel rave up, Steve Forbert's "The moonbeam song" is a piano tinkling stroll, Peter Wolf And The Houseparty 5's "You're breakin' my heart" has the J. Geils front man in stomping clap mode on this short rocker, Jennifer Trynin's "Mournin' glory story" is slow grunge rock, Al Kooper's "Salmon falls" is an organ led chirper, Victoria Williams tries to give us her best Macy Gray (predating Gray of course but failing nonetheless) in "The puppy song" which is a New Orleans tasting mope, Marshall Crenshaw's "Don't forget me" is a mid tempo strummer and Brian Wilson's "This could be the night" predictably gives us the "wall of Beach Boys sound" (a la "Little Saint Nick"). Jellyfish's "Think about your troubles" is a strutting acoustic blues stroll, Bill Lloyd's "The lottery song" is mandolin tinged pep, Ron Sexsmith's "Good old desk" is a piano led horse clopper, Adrian Belew is oddly straightforward here in his faithful cover of "Me and my arrow", Richard Barone's "I guess the lord must be in New York City" is another acoustic strummer, The Roches With Mark Johnson perform "Spaceman" here as a restrained stomp, John Cowan's "Don't leave me" is slow plink and Jimmy Webb's "Lifeline" is a gargling melter. This CD is generally harder to find than many of Nicks' V/A artifacts so if nothing else, this should make for an interesting addition to your collection, even if you don't really end up listening to it that often.

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This album is a tribute to Harry Nilsson.

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Discography entry submitted by John Kinney & Jeff Kenney.