Home Read Classic Album Reviews: Harry Nilsson | Duit On Mon Dei / Sandman

Classic Album Reviews: Harry Nilsson | Duit On Mon Dei / Sandman

The singer-songwriter savours the sweet treats of success — but still has the goods.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Much of ’70s singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson’s fame seemed to come secondhand. As a singer, the golden-voiced New Yorker is perhaps best known for the Midnight Cowboy theme Everybody’s Talkin’ — which he didn’t write — and the novelty number Coconut. As a composer, his most enduring song might be One — though Three Dog Night had a bigger hit with the tune. And as a pop culture icon, he’s known mainly as John Lennon’s sidekick during the Beatle’s 1974 ‘lost weekend’ in L.A. Still, Nilsson’s influence on contemporary music — particularly the quirky, literate pop of artists like Ben Folds, XTC, Rufus Wainwright and Hawksley Workman — is undeniable. To give credit where it’s due, BMG has reissued virtually the entire Nilsson catalog, some 15 albums spread across 10 CDs. I sifted through them all so you don’t have to.


Harry Nilsson
Duit on Mon Dei / Sandman

FIRST RELEASED: ’75 / ’76.

HIGHLIGHTS: The sounds of success. Grammys, hits and Lennon’s endorsement elevated Nilsson to pampered pop royalty by the mid-’70s, and he takes advantage of his status here. All-star casts, comedy skits, intentionally provocative songs, an open bar and rampant steel drums are among the self-indulgences — but there’s still no denying the genius of the Randy Newmanesque Jesus Christ You’re Tall, the Elvis Costelloish Kojak Columbo, the drunken Good For God and the snidely wonderful How To Write A Song.

EXTRAS! EXTRAS! No musical goodies — but like all these reissues, there’s a decent booklet with lyrics, biographical liner notes and photos.