Sunday Music – Without You

Posted on Sun 12/20/2009 by


Today’s music video is ‘Without You’ from Harry Nilsson.

This video was posted to You Tube by damianszkatula

Harry Nilsson used only his surname for his recordings, and is one of those singers with a voice that just stays with you. He was another of those singers who already had an extensive career before becoming that ‘overnight success’. His early career saw him writing songs that were recorded by The Shangri – Las, The Yardbirds, and Glen Campbell. One of his songs was a minor hit for the Monkees, ‘Cuddly Toy’, and another, ‘One’ was recorded by Three Dog Night, and also ‘covered’ in Australia by John Farnham, who had a big hit with that song.

His work was being noticed by those already popular musicians, and when the Beatles first toured America, both John Lennon and Paul McCartney quoted Nilsson as their favourite American act.

He recorded the Fred Neil song ‘Everybody’s Talkin” in 1968 and it became a minor hit, but a year later the song was picked up as the theme for the movie ‘Midnight Cowboy’, and the song became absolutely huge for him, earning him his first Grammy Award. His version is the best known one of this song which has been covered by more than 100 other artists and bands.

While still recording quite prolifically, his next hit was not until 1971 with this song featured here today, ‘Without You’. The song was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans from the British rock group Badfinger. Nilsson did the cover in his wonderful way and it is one of the tracks on his hugely popular album, ‘Nilsson Schmilsson’, his 11th album, released in 1971. The song was a huge hit all across the Planet, with Nilsson’s soaring vocals, and the song earned him his second Grammy Award.

He had a few minor hits following this, but nothing approaching the size of this one. In all, Nilsson had 22 studio albums, and released 46 singles, with only 5 of them entering the Top Ten, and this song the only one to go to Number One.

Paul McCartney actually called this song ‘the killer song of all time’. This one song alone has since been recorded by more than 180 artists, but this verion by Nilsson remains without doubt the best version of this wonderful song.

Nilsson was known for his extreme reluctance to perform live in concerts and his concert appearances were so rare as to be almost non existent, hence there is only a rare hand taken clip of him actually performing this song in front of a live audience. This was put down to his extreme stage fright, something you might not expect from someone with such a wonderful singing voice. As this song was recorded long before the advent of the current style of music videos, and with so few live performances, this clip shows an overlay of images over the wonderful song.

Sadly, Harry Nilsson is no longer with us, passing in January of 1994.