Top positive review
An excellent retrospective
on 4 July 2016
Harry Nilsson once had the high-praised honour of being the favourite American musician of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and this 21 track compilation from RCA in 2002 provides the answer why.
Harry was a wonderfully imaginative, and innovative singer-songwriter, though like many of the greats in music, he often alluded chart success, particularly in Britain. He did however score big in 1969, with his rendition of 'Everybody's Talkin', a song that was delivered so superbly, that it comes as a quite a surprise when you learn that it was in fact a cover. The sentimental 'Without You', though by no means his greatest moment, also provided him with a sizeable hit in 1971.
This 'greatest hits' package contains most of the really important material Harry cut before his untimely death in 1994, following a heart attack. There's the excellent opener '1941', the psychedelic delight 'One', the instantly catchy 'Me and My Arrow', and the incredibly moving-yet darkly humorous, John Lennon produced 'Don't Forget Me', which was covered later by Marianne Faithfull for her live album '20th Century Blues' in 1997. All four of these were originals, but as I've already stated, Nilsson himself, like Faithfull, was a fine interpretor of other people's songs, and his delivery of the old standard 'As Time Goes By', finishes off the album.
A consummately excellent vocal talent, and lyricist. Harry Nilsson has rightly earned his place in popular music. If you want to hear him at his finest, then 'Greatest Hits' is a particularly strong single compilation. It comes with a booklet containing some great pictures of Harry, a biography by Curtis Armstrong, and a handy list of every song, revealing where it was recorded, and which studio album it later appeared on.