“That incident ruined my reputation for 10 years. Get one Beatle drunk and look what happens!” — Harry Nilsson

My introduction, as shallow as this may seem, was through Reservoir Dogs. “You put the lime in the coconut”, etc. My brother said to me, “It’s a stupid song, and a little bit racist, and you think it’s just a gimmick or a novelty song, but just try to sing along with him. It sounds so easy, it is not easy. The breath control, and where his voice goes … it’s impossible to sing along with him!” Try it. Bren is right.

It’s Harry Nilsson’s birthday. There he is up above “getting one Beatle drunk” during their four-year-long bender, where they caused a lot of trouble, made music, and heckled people at the Troubadour (getting thrown out for said heckling). Nilsson’s catalog is fascinating. I was recently listening to “Down” and I was just blown away by his vocals.


Nothing I can say can top my brother’s writing on Harry Nilsson. Bren got obsessed over a decade ago after watching a documentary on Nilsson. Bren was not familiar with Nilsson’s work or career (despite being obsessed with the Beatles), and he was blown away by what he discovered. How had this man not become such common knowledge that it took Reservoir Dogs to re-introduce him to a new generation?

Here’s the first piece Bren wrote about him:

The American Beatle

Later, when Bren was in the throes of his Scott Walker obsession, he dug into one of the connections between the two artists, with a little Randy Newman thrown in:

I’ll Be Home, Cowboy: Nilsson, Walker, Newman

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