Archive | June, 2016

Certain Songs #581: Harry Nilsson – “Jump Into The Fire”

Harry Nilsson Schmilsson Album: Nilsson Schmilsson
Year: 1971

I kinda love that Harry Nilsson chose “Jump Into The Fire” to be the single that followed the massive “Without You,” even though it barely cracked the Top Thirty, because the two songs couldn’t be more different.

Driven by a pumped-up Herbie Flowers bassline and clipped rhythm guitar from Klaus Voormann, “Jump Into The Fire” establishes its groove early and then piles on with crazy-ass lead guitar from John Uribe and a vocal performance from Harry Nilsson that starts at psychotic and only gets more unhinged from there.

Gang, this is a disturbing song on any number of levels.

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Certain Songs #580: Harry Nilsson – “Early in the Morning”

Harry Nilsson Schmilsson Album: Nilsson Schmilsson
Year: 1971

Despite being both insanely talented and Beatle-approved, Harry Nilsson also a little bit too off to have a sustained career in the public eye. So while he had a couple-three of Top Ten hits — the Midnight Cowboy-powered “Everybody’s Talking,” the transcendently schlocky “Without You” and the just plain weird “Coconut” — that was pretty much it for him, singles-wise.

Those last two, of course, were from his one big album, 1971’s Nilsson Schmilsson, and while other Nilsson fans love records like Aerial Ballet or Son of Schmilsson or even the utterly chaotic Pussy Cats, I’m going to side with the general public.

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Certain Songs #579: Harry Nilsson – “Me And My Arrow”

harry nilsson the point Album: The Point!
Year: 1971

It’s weird, the things you remember from your childhood. And, of course, it gets hazier all of the time. That said. I absolutely remember watching The Point! as an 8-year-old kid when it was broadcast on ABC in early 1971.

Which seems weird, because, according to the internet, that would have been a school night, so maybe I saw a rerun. Either way, I know I saw The Point!, and totally related to its fable of a kid who didn’t quite fit in trying to make his way in a world that demanded conformity.

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Certain Songs #578: Hank Williams – Nobody’s Lonesome For Me

Hank williams 40 greatest hits Album: 40 Greatest Hits
Year: 1950

Time for one of my all-time favorite crackpot theories: Hank Williams was a secret influence on non other that Stephen Patrick Morrissey.

I’ve had this theory since I got Hank Williams 40 Greatest Hits at some point in the 1990s, and realized how many of his lyrics could be Morrissey lyrics, especially “Nobody’s Lonesome For Me.”

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Certain Songs #577: Hank Williams – “Move it on Over”

Hank williams 40 greatest hits Album: 40 Greatest Hits
Year: 1947

You don’t need me to tell you that Hank Williams was a titan of American popular music, an ace songwriter whose music was equally influential for rock ‘n’ roll and country.

And in fact, his first big single, “Move it On Over,” is clearly one of those songs that was rock ‘n’ roll before anybody had coined that phrase.

Of course, I heard this song via George Thorogood, via Rock 96 FM, the weird FM station that had arisen in Fresno in the 1970s, and probably didn’t even know it was a Hank Williams song until I found it later on the utterly indispensable 40 Greatest Hits.

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