Three for Free: I heart Harry Nilsson

nilsson is hearPop star crushes – we’ve all had them at some point. For the past several years I’ve been majorly crushed out on Harry Nilsson, the L.A.-based singer-songwriter best known for his hits “Everybody’s Talkin’” (1969), “Coconut” (1971) and “Without You” (1972). I just can’t get enough of his angelic voice and sweeping instrumental arrangements. It’s pure pop perfection!

So you can imagine my delight when I discovered that the vast majority of his discography is available for free download in Freegal.*  Whether you’re a long-time Nilsson fan or just beginning to appreciate his genius, you’ll find some rare gems here. Here are three of my favorite Nilsson songs from albums in Freegal (and not in The Seattle Public Library’s CD collections).

  1. “I Will Take You There” from Skidoo (1968). Nilsson wrote the soundtrack for this zany comedy (directed by Otto Preminger) which satirizes 1960s counterculture. He also had a minor role in the film as a prison guard on LSD and, in a hilarious touch, sings the entire closing credits in a track called “The Cast and Crew.”
  2. “Don’t Leave Me” from Ariel Ballet (1968). Perhaps the catchiest song about desperation ever written, with a nod to The Beatles’ “Drive My Car” in the chorus.    
  3. “Turn Up Your Radio” from Son of Schmilsson (1972). The critics say that this album marked the beginning of Nilsson’s artistic downfall, but I think it contains some of his best work, especially this lovely little ballad.  

To find these songs and others by Harry Nilsson in Freegal, log in with your library card and PIN and search Artists for Harry Nilsson. Then click on the link to his name in the search results and a complete list of his albums will appear.

Not enough Nilsson for you? Make sure to check out the amazing documentary Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everyone Talkin’ about Him)?

Have you found one of your pop star crushes in Freegal? Tell us who in the comments!

*Freegal is a downloadable music service that offers access to approximately three million songs, including the Sony Music catalog. The collection changes daily and covers thousands of artists on over 10,000 labels with music that originates in over 60 countries. Library cardholders can download up to three songs per week on their computer, flash drive or mobile device (via the Freegal app). There is no software to download and song files can be transferred to multiple devices, burned to disc and will never expire. You must have a Seattle Public Library card and PIN in order to access the service.


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One Response to Three for Free: I heart Harry Nilsson

  1. David W says:

    There’s a new Nilsson bio due out in July, I recently noticed: “Nilsson : The Life of a Singer-Songwriter” by Alyn Shipton, describing itself as the “first ever full-length biography” of him – can that be? Too early for reviews, but one to watch, mebbe.

    Also out now on DVD is the Nilsson-scored “The Point,” which we watched over the holidays. Some great sequences, though somehow when I saw it as a child I hadn’t noticed how druggy it was.

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