During the 1970’s Nilsson and John Lennon were part of the infamous Hollywood Vampires club
Singer-songwriter Nilsson was born on this day in 1941
Harry Edward Nilsson III was born on June 15, 1941, in New York. Nilsson first became famous with his 1968 Top 10 hit “Everybody’s Talkin'”, a theme song of the 1969 academy awarded movie “Midnight Cowboy”. By then, he already had been considered by The Beatles as their favorite artist. He achieved the peak of his commercial success in the early 1970’s with songs such as “Without You” and “Coconut”. During that period he befriended John Lennon, who was living in Los Angeles separated from Yoko Ono (his “lost weekend”) and at the time a heavy drinker. Both Nilsson and Lennon were members of the Hollywood Vampires drinking club, embroiling themselves in a number of widely publicized, alcohol-fueled incidents. In 1974, both musicians collaborated together on Nilsson’s album “Pussy Cats”, produced by Lennon and featuring the pair together on the cover. Harry Nilsson was described by Rolling Stone magazine as a “crucial bridge between the baroque psychedelic pop of the late Sixties and the more personal singer-songwriter era of the Seventies.” He owned a London flat in Mayfair, that became part of Rock history due to the infamous events to take place there. While he was away on tour or recording in the U.S, he lent that flat to numerous musician friends. In 1974, during one of his absences, singer Cass Elliot, formerly of The Mamas & the Papas, was found dead of heart failure at the age of 32 in one of the bedroom’s of the apartment while staying there. On September 7, 1978, The Who’s drummer Keith Moon returned to the same room in the flat after a night out and died also at 32 from an overdose of Clomethiazole, a prescribed anti-alcohol drug. Distraught over another friend’s death in his flat, Nilsson sold it to Moon’s bandmate Pete Townshend. The place is considered by some to be cursed. After John Lennon’s murder, Nilsson stepped away from the music business, only seldom making appearances and new music. He also contributed to Yoko Ono Lennon tribute album, “Every Man Has A Woman” in 1984. The early 1990’s saw Nilsson returning to a more productive period, but in 1993, after years of alcoholism, he suffered a massive heart attack. In 1994, while attempting to complete one final album, Harry Nilsson passed away aged 52 on January 15, in his Agoura Hills, California home. Nilsson would have turned 78 today.
Watch Nilsson performing his hit “Everybody’s Talkin'” in 1969 at the German TV show Beat Club
Also watch Nilsson live at the BBC, 1971
Listen to the compilation “The Essential Nilsson” on Spotify
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