Everybody's Talkin' - October 1996
I guess I am starting a trend - after apologizing for the lateness of the last issue of ET, this issue is also late. One of the reasons for the lateness is that I took a trip to the Los Angeles, California, area where I had the pleasure of meeting Curtis Armstrong, the source of much of the information in this issue of ET, and Zak and Leslie Nilsson, who had recently moved to the warmer climate of Southern California (oh, and they got married!). Another reason for the lateness is that I have spent some time working on the web pages. The new Harry Nilsson Web Pages are now online at:
Roger Smithor through the Internet at email@example.com.
ET asked Tommy Edwards, Program Director of Arrow 93 FM in Los Angeles, about the jingle Harry created for them. Here's Mr. Edward's response:
Early on after the launch of Arrow 93FM (Sept 10, 1993), I received a telephone call from a gentleman who said he represented Harry and he wanted us to know that Harry was really enjoying the radio station. He said Harry drives around all the time listening to the station. I knew that Harry lived in Agoura Hills. Anyway, a couple of days later this same representative called and said that Harry wanted to give us a gift. He arranged for me to pick up a tape that was left in the lobby and we were to understand that it was a no strings attached gift from Harry to Arrow. It was a DAT Tape and when my tech staff played it for me, I heard a mix-out of "Me And My Arrow" sung:
By Curtis Armstrong
Los Angeles - Floyd Mutrux's 1971 film, Dusty and Sweets McGee, long unseen, just
completed a special week's run here. The movie, described by the Los Angeles Times as
"a lyrical, but clear-eyed take on the Hollywood hard drug scene," was acted almost
exclusively by real addicts - using only their first names. When originally released, the
movie received enthusiastic reviews. However, following a Time Magazine review that
said the film was "too much absorbed by the mechanics of addiction," the studio got cold
feet and the film disappeared almost without a trace. The main characters, portrayed by real
addicts and a few actors (including Billy Grey - Bud in the "Father Knows Best" TV series),
go through the motions of scoring, shooting, and hustling. Beyond that, there is virtually
no story line and little emphasis on the reasons behind the dope addictions. The film plods
along at times, but for the most part, the people on the screen are so real it is
impossible not to keep watching. What makes the film especially notable to Schmilssonians,
though, is that it features (on a packed soundtrack) Harry's recording of
"Don't Leave Me". The film received a splendid review in the Times, and it's
reappearance in theaters may indicate a move to cable or video, so watch for it. Nilsson
completists should know that a soundtrack album was released (Dusty And Sweets McGee (soundtrack) - Warner Bros 1936) which also
includes songs by Van Morrison, Blues Image, Little Eva and others.
During her recent concert tour, Marianne Faithfull has been telling some strange
stories about Harry's death while introducing her performance of Harry's
"Don't Forget Me." The latest story is that Harry's body was lost when his casket fell
into a crevice which opened below the funeral home during the Northridge Earthquake.
Although, there is no truth to this and the other stories she has been telling, she has
garnered a lot of publicity because of the tales. Perhaps Harry would have borrowed a line
from his friend John Lennon, "whatever gets you through the night," and shrugged it
off. He may even be getting a good laugh out of it right now. But many of us who care about
how Harry is remembered are not very amused.
What Schmilssonian has not thrilled to the dramatic, ominous prelude which opens Harry's
masterful pastiche of Agatha Christian mayhem, "Who Done It?". That intro, through
the crashing thunder and leading up to the loping bass line, is the only music on
Knnillssonn not actually written by Nilsson. It is the Maestros-Allegro movement of
Beethoven's String Quartet No. 12 in E Flat, Opus 127. (Harry only nicked from the best.)
I had the pleasure recently of meeting Bob Segarini through the Internet. Bob wrote that "[Harry] and I go way back ... 1965-66 when I introduced him to the president of my LA fan club, Diane Clatworthy, who became his first wife. "The band I was in was called The Family Tree and Harry and I co-wrote 'Miss Butter's Lament' for the Tree's Miss Butters LP. I never knew until recently that he had recorded a version.
"Harry wrote most of 'One' on my old upright piano on a visit to Stockton, California, to show me the result of his first big royalty check - a used Jaguar sedan. He was so proud of that piece of shit he drove over 400 miles just to show it off.
"Shortly after our mutual friend Patty Farrella introduced Harry to Derek Taylor, Harry and I had a falling out and, except for a chance meeting in line at the Carnegie Deli years later in New York, we never got another chance to get together. The last single I did at RCA was a song called 'He Spins Around.' It was about Harry."
After The Family Tree, Bob formed Roxy with Randy Bishop and recorded for Elektra. After Roxy, Bob and Randy Bishop formed The Wackers which released three critically acclaimed albums on Elektra. In 1974, Segarini formed The Dudes who opened for The Bee Gees. When The Dudes broke up, Bob moved to Toronto and produced The Romantics' first single on Bomb Records. In 1979, Bomb Records released Gotta Hove Pop, Segarini's first solo album. In August of this year, Permanent Press records reissued Gotta Have Pop on CD (PPCD 52703).
BMG's Camden label in England has issued a new CD containing the complete "A Little Touch Of Schmilsson in the Night" sessions. The CD is titled As Time Goes By ... the complete Schmilsson in the night. Although the CD is budget-priced (I bought my copy for $14 here in the US), it contains over 50 minutes of music and is packaged very nicely with liner notes by Rob Burt who, back in 1988, remixed several of the songs for the A Touch More Schmilsson in the Night album.
In my humble opinion, the added songs make this album more enjoyable than A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night It gives to album more of a feeling of a complete, unified, work.
As Time Goes By contains the following songs:
The CD reissue of Ringo Starr's Stop and Smell the Roses album includes a bonus track of messages Ringo recorded to support Harry's efforts to stop gun violence. Matt Hurwitz, the publisher of Good Day Sunshine, tells how he helped uncover the recording:
When I was researching the album, I met with Rick Riccio, Harry's engineer, at the Evergreen Recording Studios (now called "Ground Control") in Burbank - the very studio where the session took place, which is how I knew how big it was. It's a very big, very busy facility, with lots of studios. It's housed in what used to be a very big movie theater. This studio was one of the largest in the facility, and is currently used to record, among other things, the orchestral music for each episode of "The Simpsons" (which Riccio records!). I met with him before a "Simpsons" session, and we listened to the three tracks from the album, and he told me everything he remembered about each one. He also brought along some tapes he had dug up from his own collection "out in the garage." He opened one box which had a 1/4" mix on it and said, "What's this?" He put it on, and we heard the Gun Control things, to which he went, "Oh, yeah, I know what this is."Good Day Sunshine is America's top Beatles magazine. Each large (usually 80 pages or more) issue contains a wealth of Beatles news and information. A five-issue subscription is $15.00 ($24.00 for VIP service through 1st Class Mail, $18.00 for Canada, $24.00 outside the US and Canada, US funds only).
GOOD DAY SUNSHINEFor more information call (310) 391-0778 or send e-mail to Matt at GDS1964@aol.com. If you order a subscription, be sure to mention that you heard about it in ET!
By Sue Schnelzer
John Edwards was very kind to keep my column theme "what's your favorite Harry Rarity" going for at least one more issue. Everyone's got a point, so keep those letters coming to me if you have something to submit for the next issue of "The Coconut Corner."
Here's John's story ...
I know that this column is supposed to be about my favorite Nilsson "rarity" but that is not what I am going to write about. No. I am going to write about my favorite Nilsson related item. The difference will become more apparent as we go along but first let me start at the beginning (that being a good place to start and I promise that when I get to the end, I will stop).
I became a Nilsson fanatic in the year 1970 listening to the 8-track of Harry over and over again one night while waiting for a friend. I must have listened to that album at least 10 times and was still disappointed when my friend arrived. I would like to emphasize that this was not the first time I had heard Harry Nilsson. My senior high school English teacher had brought in "Everybody's Talkin'" for us to listen to along with the Beatles' album Abbey Road. However, the night with the Harry album was when I became a Nilsson fanatic.
Years later a friend of mine named Jeff Norton said it best when he prefaced the name Harry Nilsson with the introduction of "John's GOD". I used to listen to every Nilsson album I could get my hands on over and over until they skipped and I had to go buy them again. (Of course, some of the albums skipped the day I bought them but that was just the magic of Dynaflex).
Eventually I will get to my favorite Nilsson related item and I promise to also get to the stopping point real soon.
A couple of years go by and I went off to college. I was still a Nilsson fanatic and by then Harry released an album called The Point.
I was in heaven. I used to be able to tell the story of Oblio to anybody that would listen (and, surprisingly, most of them did). At this point (pun), I also had three very good friends; Beverly, Jody and Patti. I had introduced them to the wonders of Harry Nilsson and they became devoted fans (although probably not fanatics).
Anyway, to make a long story, you know, um, shorter; It becomes 1973 and getting real close to my 20th birthday. I accidentally ran into my three friends in an album store near the "N's" and they look real embarrassed so I assumed that I had caught them birthday shopping. I remember having the thought that they couldn't possibly be looking for a Nilsson album I didn't have - because there was no such thing. Well, on my birthday, I was in for the nicest surprise of my life (up to that point [not a pun], anyway, but I'll tell you about my kids some other time).
This is where I get to the point (sorry) of the story - my favorite Nilsson related item.
My three friends in the album store were actually tracing the cover of The Point in order to needlepoint a version of it for me.
Now, that was a gift. I still have it and I have never forgotten the three college friends
who truly loved me.