HENRY GAFFNEY On Again Off Again (1978)

On Again Off Again (1978)
No… It’s Not Harry Nilsson!

He only released two albums, but Henry Gaffney made some varied impressions during his years in the music business. With only modest success as a singer, he eventually made his mark as an in-demand pop composer, as well as gaining respect for his film scores (Sidewalk Stories) & television music (Fame), before becoming a professor of music (Berklee & NYU). But, Henry Gaffney is very well-known in a few smaller circles as a result of an ancient misunderstanding. Way back when, a writer for some magazine (I wish I could remember which one) attributed an uncredited test pressing of Gaffney’s second album, 1978’s On Again Off Again, to Harry Nilsson. For reasons you’ll hear below, the writer’s flub was actually kind of understandable (pre-information superhighway, remember), as Gaffney’s sole cover, “Mack The Knife,” hearkened back to Nilsson’s A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night / standards phase, and even contains a whistling introduction (a Nilsson trademark) prior to Henry’s very Harry-like vocal chops. Over the years, the erroneous attribution was picked up by other news sources, including a respected record collector’s bible, Discoveries, that perpetuated the myth even further. In reality, Gaffney was a solid, atmospheric, MOR songwriter in the pop vein, with an angelic voice and smart instincts. He just couldn’t (or didn’t want to) compete on the charts and, instead, went behind the scenes. Never released on CD, this is vinyl rip of Gaffney’s last album, a curiously mired release that probably should have fared much better than it did. Gaffney passed away in 2010. Not currently at Amazon, HERE.

Mack The Knife (3:32)
City Lights (3:24)
Breakout (2:51)
There’s No Sound (3:08)
On Again Off Again (3:15)
This Is It (4:08)
Lady (3:56)
There’s A Train (3:38)
Mannequin (3:45)
Happy End (3:48)


  • Willard
    December 8, 2011 - 08:13 | Permalink

    Search HERE

    • Kelly
      August 28, 2014 - 11:57 | Permalink

      Would love to have access. Would this be the way to inquire?

      • Willard
        August 28, 2014 - 12:13 | Permalink

        Oops, sorry.

        Link is now fixed.

        Also… always try MediaFire links more than once. They sometimes give false negatives.


  • Duncanmusic
    December 8, 2011 - 13:19 | Permalink

    God, Willard. Did you buy my whole collection when I sold it back in 1993? I LOVED this Lp and if I hadn’t been so in a panic to sell all my rekkids back then would have thought to save this. I used to play (as a DJ) his version of Mack The Knife, mostly because he sang the ‘forbidden’ verses that Bobby Darin couldn’t (on record at least). What a great voice and I can’t compliment you enough for posting this. Though I figure I DL 60-75% of what you post w/o exception. Good taste is timeless, my friend.

    • Willard
      December 8, 2011 - 14:04 | Permalink

      Cool. I figured this would be roundly ignored.

  • ger
    December 8, 2011 - 17:50 | Permalink

    and as CD released in korea?!?
    “Korean Exlcusive CD Release Housed in Mini LP Sleeve
    Officially Released by BIG PINK Music
    catalogue number ;BIGPINK142”


    • Willard
      December 9, 2011 - 03:22 | Permalink

      Gee, wonder if it’s legit?

  • ger
    December 9, 2011 - 13:02 | Permalink

    i hope, i hope!!
    whats with the another album?
    you got it, too?

    • Willard
      December 9, 2011 - 13:25 | Permalink

      Sorry. My interest was limited to the Nilsson connection. Even then, it was donated. But, I just gave a cursory look… and there were more links to get the guy’s “addresses, emails and phone numbers” than Waiting For A Wind. I see why you’re anxious.

  • Tollie
    December 9, 2011 - 23:47 | Permalink

    Wouldn’t mind getting his phone number myself, he’s a dish!

  • Beth
    May 29, 2012 - 12:08 | Permalink

    YouTube has several of his songs from both albums. He’s wonderful.

  • Leave a Reply