|Compilation produced by Rob Santos|
|Released on March 19, 2002|
|no chart information|
|Find it at GEMM|
[high resolution scan]
W hile we don’t have Harry Nilsson to kick around anymore, that doesn’t stop each new generation from resurrecting the discussion of Nilsson as the great lost songwriter. Such discussions are usually contained to the late 60s and early 70s, after which Harry’s flawless pop songs began to show signs of cracking under the pressure. In 1978, RCA released Nilsson’s first Greatest Hits album, which conveniently cut the cord after 1974’s “Daybreak.” In 2002, RCA (via BMG Heritage) repeated the exercise while adding nine new tracks, again none of them venturing past Daybreak. Instead, in what essentially amounts to an expanded reissue of the 1978 album, RCA has added more of Harry’s early songs: “Good Old Desk,” “1941,” “Cuddly Toy.” The reluctance after all these years to lift the veil beyond Daybreak is telling, as it reveals a need to idealize Nilsson. The closest parallel would be the work of Cat Stevens, where again you encounter an almost physical resistance to anything beyond 1975. Wondr’ing aloud, maybe it’s because both artists “disappeared” after significant success and, like Donovan, are now inextricably preserved in the amber of a lost golden age. Anyway, a serious discussion for an artist who rarely took himself (or his music) as seriously as his fans and critics. Even in an eclectic songbook like this, there are two constants: the elevation of the material through Nilsson’s three-octave voice, and its subsequent deflation through silly nonsense syllables. In nearly every example here, Nilsson strips away the seriousness of his own artistry by breaking the song down to its basic, beautiful melody and made-up wordsounds. It’s a glimpse into the genesis of these gifts, Nilsson undermining perfection with the crudity of creation. Like Paul McCartney, Nilsson’s familiarity with his own muse results in the kind of offhand genius that most songwriters struggle to achieve. Sir Paul, however, took better care of his muse than Harry, and so the one is lovingly worn from overuse while the other remains sealed in plastic to be examined and admired from a now impassable distance.
Curtis Armstrong -- compilation, liner notes
Glenn Korman -- compilation
John Hudson -- product manager
Mathieu Bitton -- art direction & design
return to HARRY NILSSON discography
|REGION||RELEASE DATE||LABEL||MEDIA||ID NUMBER||FEATURES|
|US||March 19, 2002||RCA/BMG Heritage||CD||65107-2|
For more discographies visit...
© 2010 Connolly & Company. All rights reserved.