Have a Harry Halloween, everyone

Saw this earlier today on Twitter.

This is another of those records I’ve had forever.

“Nilsson Schmilsson,” its 1971 predecessor, was one of the first few LPs I ever bought. Thinking back, I probably bought it with Christmas money. I know it from front to back. Loved it then, love it now.

So of course when “Son of Schmilsson” came out in the summer of 1972, I bought it right away. Thinking back, I probably bought it with birthday money.

“Son of Schmilsson” fell right into a 15-year-old’s wheelhouse. I was a sophomore-to-be, and this record was sophomoric if nothing else. It’s full of irreverent and rude humor, lapsing into vaguely bad taste well before that notorious belch between songs on Side 2. Oh, yeah, I know this record from front to back, too. We had a lot of fun listening to “Son of Schmilsson” back then.

Listening to it now, though, and knowing how Harry Nilsson’s life unfolded — and of course, unraveled — it’s a little sad.

“It’s a deeply strange record, one which seems to be almost willful self-sabotage in places,” Mr. Andrew Hickey wrote this summer in a fine, must-read breakdown of “Son of Schmilsson” at his blog, Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

That pretty much nails it.

So please enjoy the most elegant cut on “Son of Schmilsson,” a song that went unappreciated by a certain 15-year-old in 1972. All those years later, its poignant message hits home.

Long ago, far away / Life was clear / Close your eyes / Remember …

“Remember (Christmas),” Nilsson, from “Son of Schmilsson,” 1972.

Bonus cover!

“Remember,” Randy Newman, from “For the Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson,” 1995.

The proceeds from this tribute record, which was released after Nilsson’s death in 1994, went to The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Nilsson became passionate about the cause after the shooting death of his friend John Lennon in 1980.

 

 

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2 Comments

Filed under October 2018, Sounds

2 responses to “Have a Harry Halloween, everyone

  1. Thanks for this post, Jeff. Nilsson was one of those artists who fell through the cracks for me, being a Gen-Xer. I knew his big hits, but knew next to nothing about him until much later. I found out about “Jump into the Fire” because of “Goodfellas”, and found out via old Billboard lists (no internet yet!) that it was indeed a Nilsson song. And knowing only the schlocky Randy Newman stuff, which I’m not a fan of, I’m SHOCKED that they worked together! Who knew he was once cool? 😀

  2. Been a Nilsson fan for ages. One of my first albums was a Nilsson’s Aerial Ballet, which my older brother bought me for a birthday present. I played it to death! Also loved Nilsson Schmilsson….and the classic Without You. I think those were by far his best efforts.

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