Harry Nilsson tunes

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The 5th Beatle!

The Beatles‘ favourite American songwriter, Harry Nilsson, was born in New York but soon moved to L.A. to pursue a career in music.

Recognized as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, it is somewhat ironic how his two biggest hits were covers.

His first success came with a cover of a Beatles song, You Can’t Do That (a B-side to Can’t Buy Me Love). This was in 1967, a year after his debut album Spotlight On Nilsson had introduced Harry to the world.

On the debut, two tunes stand out, Sixteen Tons (a Merle Travis cover) and Good Times (later covered by The Monkees).

The debut didn’t have any significant chart success, and the same went for his next five albums: Pandemonium Shadow Show (1967), Aerial Ballet (1968), Harry (1969), Nilsson Sings Newman (1970), and The Point! (1971).

These albums may not have been a roaring success, but some big tunes and interesting covers can be found here.

I’m mainly thinking about River Deep – Mountain High (1967), Everybody’s Talkin’, and One (1968), only One is a Nilsson composition.

One wasn’t even released as a single but has since become the tune he’s best known for, disregarding the covers.

Everybody’s Talkin’ was his first big hit; it even went to #1 and is by most considered Harry’s signature song even though Fred Neil wrote it.

His next big hit came on his biggest album, Nilsson Schmilsson (1971). The tune in question was Without You, which Harry heard when he was in London, mistook it for a Beatles song, and decided he must record it.

Almost a quarter of a century later, Mariah Carey covered it with even greater success, changing it from a Nilsson classic to a tune every female singer with big ideas would use at auditions.

Another Harry Nilsson classic can be found on the same album, the humorous Coconut, which would be his last big hit.

Only two more tunes have had some success following Coconut, the 1972 Spaceman from the album Son of Schmilsson, and the jazz standard As Time Goes By in 1973.

Harry did continue to release albums during the ‘70s; the 1974 Pussy Cats was produced by John Lennon and had two more covers on it, Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues and The DriftersSave The Last Dance For Me (with Ben E. King on lead vocals).

Neither did particularly well, and Harry Nilsson’s glory days were clearly behind him.

When Lennon was murdered in 1980, Harry abandoned the music industry and started campaigning for gun control instead.

Harry Nilsson died from a heart attack in 1994, and one more album has since been released. As late as 2019, a collection of songs he never released was put together on the album Losst and Founnd.

Track number 7, Listen, the Snow Is Falling, was written by Yoko Ono.

Harry Nilsson Tunes | Related Pages

Everybody’s Talkin’

Everybody's Talkin' chords T

You can learn how to play Everybody’s Talkin’ by Harry Nilsson using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.

Cmaj7 G6 | Cmaj7 G6 |
Everybody’s talkin’ at me…


One Harry Nilsson chords T

You can learn how to play One by Harry Nilsson using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.

| Cm | Cm7 | Cm6 | Cmb6 |
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do…

River Deep – Mountain High

River Deep, Mountain High chords

You can learn how to play River Deep – Mountain High by Tina Turner using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.

Bb N.C | N.C | Eb | Eb | Eb | Eb | Bb | Bb |
When I was a little girl, I had a rag doll, only doll I’ve ever owned…

Without You

Without You chords T

Learn how to play Without You by Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recordings.

| Esus2 E | G#sus4 G#m |
No, I can’t forget this evening or your face as you were leaving…

Harry Nilsson on the web

Listen to Harry Nilsson on Spotify.

Artists & Bands

Artist and Band biographies

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Find out more about these great Artists & Bands, and let their tunes guide you to success.

About me | Dan Lundholm

Dan Lundholm wrote this article on Harry Nilsson tunes.

This was an article about Harry Nilsson tunes, by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and learn guitar with Spytunes.

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