Harry (album)

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Harry
Studio album by Harry Nilsson
Released August 1969
Genre Pop
Length 40:57
Label RCA Victor
Producer Harry Nilsson, Rick Jarrard
Harry Nilsson chronology
Skidoo (soundtrack)
(1968)
Harry
(1969)
Nilsson Sings Newman
(1970)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]

Harry is Harry Nilsson's third album released August 1969 on RCA. It was his first album to get onto Billboard Magazine's Billboard 200 chart, reaching #120 and remaining there for 15 weeks.[3]

Harry features jazz saxophonist Tom Scott, pianist Mike Melvoin, flutist Jim Horn, session drummer Jim Gordon, Larry Knechtel on bass, and David Cohen and Howard Roberts on guitars.[3]

The album has no one distinctive style but ranges over ballads, show tunes, nostalgic Americana, and tin pan alley-like soft shoe numbers.[4]

William E. Martin, who wrote the songs “Fairfax Rag” and “City Life” that Harry covered on Harry, and who collaborated with Nilsson on the song “Rainmaker,” appears in a picture inside the gatefold version of the album wearing a bear suit that was made of an actual bear.[5]

Details[edit]

The Puppy Song

Nilsson wrote this song at Paul McCartney's request for Mary Hopkin, an 18-year old singer that McCartney had signed to Apple records and whose first album, Post Card, would feature her version of Nilsson's song. Nora Ephron would use Harry's own version for the opening credits of her 1998 film, You've Got Mail. Kenny Loggins covered it on his 2009 album All Join In.

Others have covered "The Puppy Song" as well: David Cassidy sang a cover of it and took it to a UK #1 as a double A-side single with the song "Daydreamer"; Victoria Williams covered it on For the Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson – a tribute album released in 1995; Astrud Gilberto performed a bossa nova lounge version on 2001’s The Girl From Ipanema; and 70’s Australian pop group New World released their cover on their Best of… album in 2002.

Open Your Window

Ella Fitzgerald covered this song on her album Ella, released in 1969, the same year as Harry. She also performed it live on Ella Fitzgerald in Budapest, recorded in May 1970. Louis Bellson recorded a cover for his 1975 album, The Louis Bellson Explosion. In 1973, The 5th Dimension recorded the song for their album Living Together, Growing Together.

Mother Nature's Son

The Beatles once referred to this recording as their favorite Beatles cover song.[citation needed]

Mournin’ Glory Song

This song, about a homeless woman’s confusion and misery, has been covered by Melanie Safka, Bobby Graham, Jennifer Trynin, Jiffipop, and Al Kooper.

Maybe

Barbra Streisand covered this song on her 1971 album Stoney End. Karen Akers recorded a medley of "Maybe" and "Nevertheless, I’m in Love With You" on her 1990 album, In a Very Unusual Way. Richard Barnes recorded a cover for his only album, Richard Barnes, released in 1970.

Marchin’ Down Broadway

This song is based on a song written by Bette Nilsson, Harry’s mother.

I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City

Nilsson wrote this song for the film Midnight Cowboy. Director John Schlesinger had been using Nilsson’s cover of Fred Neil's "Everybody’s Talkin'" as an example of the kind of song he wanted on the final soundtrack, but then decided not to replace it. If "I Guess the Lord..." had been included, it would have been eligible for an Oscar, as it was an original song. Harry Nilsson did win a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Everybody's Talkin'", however. "I Guess the Lord..." was used in a film – 1971's La Mortadella (US title: Lady Liberty), starring Sophia Loren.

In 1969 a popular cover version of the song was released in UK by Eternal Triangle on the Decca Label.

Sinéad O'Connor recorded a cover of the song for the film You've Got Mail, but director Nora Ephron decided to use Nilsson’s original. O’Connor’s version appears on the soundtrack album.

Rainmaker

Co-written with William "Bill" Martin in 1968, this song has been covered by Michael Nesmith (Nevada Fighter, 1971) and The 5th Dimension (Love's Lines, Angles and Rhymes, 1971). Country group the Wright Brothers Band did a medley of this song together with "Dawson", in both studio and live versions, on the albums Cornfield Cowboys and Memorabila Box. The song charted for folk/rock singer Tom Northcott in Canada in 1970. It also appeared on Valdy's debut album Country Man in 1972.

Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear

This is a cover of a song written by Randy Newman and popularized by the Alan Price Set. The song also appeared on an episode of The Muppet Show, performed by Fozzie Bear and Scooter.

Nilsson was impressed by Newman’s talents and his next album was Nilsson Sings Newman, ten covers of songs by Newman, with Newman on piano and Nilsson doing vocals.

In 2000, BMG released a combined CD of Harry and Nilsson Sings Newman.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Harry Nilsson, except where indicated (* = produced by Rick Jarrard)

  1. "The Puppy Song" – 2:43
  2. "Nobody Cares About the Railroads Anymore" – 2:47
  3. "Open Your Window" – 2:08 *
  4. "Mother Nature's Son" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 2:42
  5. "Fairfax Rag" (Bill Martin) – 2:14
  6. "City Life" (Bill Martin) – 2:31
  7. "Mournin' Glory Story" – 2:13 *
  8. "Maybe" – 3:10
  9. "Marchin' Down Broadway" – 1:05 *
  10. "I Guess the Lord Must be in New York City" – 2:44
  11. "Rainmaker" (Nilsson, Bill Martin) - 2:25
  12. "Mr. Bojangles" (Jerry Jeff Walker) – 3:53
  13. "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear" (Randy Newman) – 2:47
BMG's 1997 re-issue contains the following bonus tracks
  1. "I Will Take You There" - 2:35
  2. "Waiting" (non-LP single) - 2:18
  3. "Rainmaker" (alternate single mix) - 2:25

Arranged and conducted by George Tipton

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Harry - Harry Nilsson | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Harry Nilsson". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  3. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Harry - Harry Nilsson | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  5. ^ Smith, Roger: liner notes, BMG re-release CD, 1999