We put this together and posted it at For The Love Of Harry today to celebrate the man’s 70th birthday. It features a number of wonderful tributes to Harry from a variety of artists, both old and new. Click the artist’s names to visit our original posts, where you can read more about them and find links to their activities.
The comp kicks off, naturally, with Todd McHatton’s charming, self-released digital single, “Happy Birthday Harry.” Veteran writer/popster, Seth Swirsky, offers the irresistible “(I Never Knew You) Harry,” maybe my personal favorite of the bunch. Drew Smith (in 2008) and Paul Williams (in 1974) both penned tunes with the title “Nilsson Sings Newman.” Williams’ is but a snippet, but both are righteous tributes to Nilsson’s style. Jim Boggia’s “The Harry Nilsson Song” takes its cue from Nilsson’s re-imagination of The Beatles’ “You Can’t Do That,” by intertwining Harry’s own melodies into something uniquely new. Ringo’s “Harry’s Song” is a touching shuffle dedicated to his old friend, while Monty Python’s Eric Idle, and Charlie Dore, offer up the ultimate Nilsson theme song, “Harry” – released as the lead off track of Nilsson’s Flash Harry, but originally created by Idle as a private joke (which explains its frankness). Included are two birthday greetings from Harry himself. First, the sweet demo for his son Beau’s 10th birthday, then the just-surfaced “Happy Birthday Richard Perry,” which finds Harry sending greetings to his Schmilsson/Son Of producer. Todd McHatton returns to bookend this collection with “A Christmas Song For Harry Nilsson.” For you completist types, we decided to leave off a couple of long-known tunes by Little Sue and James Kirk (both entitled “Nilsson”) since they don’t lyrically reference the man himself. This really is a fun listen and highly recommended. Just one spin and you’re guaranteed to have a perfectly Harry day.
TODD McHATTON Happy Birthday Harry (0:52) Digital Single, 2010
SETH SWIRSKY (I Never Knew You) Harry (3:31) Watercolor Day, 2010
DREW SMITH Nilsson Sings Newman (2:32) Drew Smith’s Lonely Choir, 2008
JIM BOGGIA The Harry Nilsson Song (2:35) 4 Sketches, 2002
RINGO STARR Harry’s Song (4:01) Liverpool 8, 2008
PAUL WILLIAMS Nilsson Sings Newman (0:54) Here Comes Inspiration, 1974
ERIC IDLE & CHARLIE DORE Harry (2:22) Flash Harry, 1980
HARRY NILSSON Happy Birthday Richard Perry (2:04) Son Of Harrities 4, 1972
HARRY NILSSON Here Comes That Beau Again (5:15) Unreleased Demo, 1986
TODD McHATTON A Christmas Song For Harry Nilsson (2:11) Christmas Songs, 2009
A video from Harry’s son, Kief O. Nilsson, who – as fate would have it – was born on the same day as his dad, June 15th. Kief states, “Many of you may know that it is my dad’s birthday today. What you might not know however is that it is also my birthday. So, I decided to goof around with the world’s worst song.” Enjoy Kief’s nimble instrumental treatment of “Happy Birthday,” below, and click here to view Kief singing some of his dad’s songs.