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Harry Nilsson

Estranged Reality

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So, if you haven't heard of him - you are missing out.

He used to hang with Lennon and Ringo. Lennon famously dubbed him "The Fifth Beatle." In my opinion, he's superior to three of the Beatles. He may even edge out Harrison. Yeah, he's that good.

He was doing experimental pop way ahead of anyone else, and he was playing with genres in a way that the Beatles never could have - they would have been at the center of controversy if they had written some of the stuff Nilsson wrote. But, because he was fairly "off the radar," he could churn out beautiful songs like "Everybody's Talkin'" and "Without You" and then turn around and write raunchy tunes.

He had a better voice than Lennon and McCartney and I think most of his songs are more enjoyable. He was just a brilliant artist, way ahead of his time, and I think in many ways no one since has even come close to experimenting with the boundaries of pop the way he did. Only Brian Wilson, really, has pushed the limits of pop so far.

Nilsson died in bankruptcy because his manager stole all his money. He achieved notoriety very briefly for his song in "Midnight Cowboy" and the album "Nilsson Schmilsson" (which charted very well), but after that he just kind of faded out of the mainstream consciousness.

Definitely check out his albums. Get Nilsson Schmilsson, Son of Schmilsson, Nilsson Sings Newman, or one of his retrospective best-of discs.

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Man you're just trying to be controversial aren't you?

No - I've long thought he was brilliant, and the more I listen to what he recorded, the more I think he really was more talented than Lennon and McCartney. They were all great - but both McCartney and Lennon suffered in their solo careers (remember Lennon's Wedding Album with Yoko? Scary.). Nilsson was more consistent. As a whole, The Beatles were better; as individual artists, side-by-side, Nilsson really surpassed most of them.

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