Listen – Nilsson – Together – MP3
I hope all is well with you in your little pocket of reality.
The tune I bring you today is one side of a 45 by one of my favorite singers of all time, Harry Nilsson.
Though Nilsson is certainly a well known name, and had a number of hits (including ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ which is a close to a universally known pop song as has ever been issued) I’d say that he is today, almost 15 years after his untimely passing, criminally underappreciated.
Nilsson certainly has (and has had for some time) quite the cult following which can (at certain points in the timeline) be closely tied to his Beatles association. This is occasionally a good thing, in that the Fabs appreciation of his first album (via a little vinyl prosthelytizing by Derek Taylor), but is also a problem in that a lot of folks only know Nilsson for his supporting role in John Lennon’s “lost weekend”.
My appreciation of the man and his music goes back to my childhood, beginning with ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ and ‘Without You’ on AM radio, moving through ‘The Point’ and later on with my discovery of the proto-remix LP ‘Aerial Pandemonium Ballet’, which introduced me to the music on his first two albums.
He was a brilliant songwriter and was possessed of an angelic tenor voice that sends chills up and down my spine whenever I heard it. I’ve always admired his ability to combine pure pop hooks with art-song conventions (in addition to his well tuned ear for old school Tin Pan Alley).
One of his finest songs (from his second RCA album ‘Aerial Ballet’) is today’s selection ‘Together’. ‘Aerial Ballet’ would be a breakthrough for Nilsson, with ‘One’ going on to be covered by Three Dog Night and ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ being included on the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack (and becoming a major hit*). ‘Together’ is a brief, beautiful gem of a song, proof that among Beatle-esque performers, he stood alone in his ability to emulate (recreate?) the Beatles sound without sounding like the Beatles (does that make any sense??). The song features one of my favorite Nilsson melodies and I love the horn arrangement.
I hope you dig it too.
*I always found it terribly ironic that a songwriter of the talent of Nilsson had his biggest hits with other people’s material