Harry Nilsson – The RCA Albums Collection

The profound musical gifts of Harry Nilsson are on full display in THE RCA ALBUMS COLLECTION. This deluxe 17-CD box set, available now, presents Nilsson’s definitive 14 U.S. albums from RCA. Bonus material on those albums add up to 65 tracks, of which 26 are previously unreleased. Adding to the box set’s historical provenance are three newly-compiled CDs containing 58 tracks, of which an additional 29 tracks are previously unreleased.

Nilsson: The Life Of A Singer-Songwriter

In this first ever full-length biography, author Alyn Shipton traces Harry Nilsson’s life from his Brooklyn childhood to his Los Angeles adolescence and his gradual emergence as a uniquely talented singer-songwriter. With interviews from friends, family, and associates, and material drawn from an unfinished autobiography, Shipton probes beneath the enigma to discover the real Harry Nilsson. The book is in stores now.

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?

A wildly entertaining, star-studded documentary that tells the story of Harry Nilsson. Director John Scheinfeld brings added emotion and intimacy to the story with over 50 Nilsson recordings, rare or never-before-seen film clips, home movies and personal photos. The DVD also contains 93 minutes of Bonus Material Deleted Scenes, Extended Sequences, an Alternate Ending and more.

Music

Aerial Ballet

backIt was a publicist’s dream. During a press conference to introduce The Beatles’ Apple Records to the world, John & Paul casually dropped Nilsson’s name to the media… twice. Overnight, everyone wanted to know about Harry Nilsson. His RCA debut, Pandemonium Shadow Show, started all the fuss, but Aerial Ballet was Nilsson’s tour de force – confident, sophisticated, brimming with Harry’s natural melodic flair and God knows how many voices. For the first time, with all original material (… except, ironically, the album’s sole hit). One of the LP’s highlights, “One,” has inspired generations of singers from Three Dog Night to Al Kooper to Aimee Mann. Still, Harry’s original remains definitive – partly thanks to the atmospheric keyboard, partly arranger George Tipton’s sparse, “Eleanor Rigby”-style strings, but mostly it’s those perfect pop vocals.


Aerial Ballet had smart commercial instincts, proven hooks and a pleasing, eccentric diversity… but it failed to make the charts. A hit would have made all the difference. But it took another year before Midnight Cowboy would popularize “Everybody’s Talkin,'” and in the meantime, “One” had its thunder stolen by Three Dog Night’s Top 10 cover. “Daddy’s Song” was actually pulled from the LP after it was released, just to avoid competing with The Monkees’ version. And worst of all… the outstanding “Girlfriend,” a song that would later morph into one of the hookiest TV themes ever, “Best Friend” from The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, was simply left in the can. That’s what it takes to turn a top tier classic album into a cult footnote. Years later, in 1971, Harry would revisit Aerial Ballet, and his debut, Pandemonium Shadow Show, to remix, re-tool and re-release them both as one LP, Aerial Pandemonium Ballet.


Track listing:
Daddy’s Song
Good Old Desk
Don’t Leave Me
Mr. Richland’s Favorite Song
Little Cowboy 1
Together
Everybody’s Talkin’
I Said Goodbye To Me
Little Cowboy #2 (Mono)
Mr. Tinker
One
The Wailing Of The Willow
Bath


Related images including Feb. 28, 1897 Los Angeles Times advertisement for “Nilsson’s Aerial Ballet… The Original Flying Ballet.”

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