What’s the Point?

We’ll get to the point dear reader, but first we want to talk about our favorite singer/songwriter from The 60’s Harry Nilsson!image

Unassuming, soft spoken, timid, tremendously talented and criminally unrecognized. In our book, Harry goes down as arguably Thee greatest singer/ songwriter of the 1960’s and beyond. In fact, in Rolling Stones list of The 100 greatest songwriters of all time, Harry Nilsson weighed in at #64…OF ALL TIME! Our only disagreement with Rolling Stone is perhaps Harry should be number one! Consider this, in his initial year seriously writing songs in the mid sixties Harry’s songs were covered and he had hits with such diverse artists as The Yardbirds ( “Ten little Indians” ) The Monkees ( “Cuddly Toy” ) and of course a recording everyone adores,  “One” by Three Dog Night. We should also mention that Harry also wrote and performed the theme to the hugely popular T.V. Program “The Courtship of Eddies Father” The Song was “Let me tell you ’bout my best friend” It’s all coming back now isn’t it ? Well, that’s one of The Points…

Meanwhile, The Beatles get wind of Harry. They go on to order boxes of Harry’s debut L.P. “Pandemonium Shadow Show and pass them on to all their friends. In separate interviews when John and Paul are individually asked “Who’s your favorite American artist? They both give the same answer…Harry Nilsson ! RCA ( Harry’s record label) proceeds to “Sticker” Harry second L.P. “Aerial Ballet” with a badge that say’s “John Lennon’s favorite Artist”…..unheard of at that time in the music biz! Harry and John became close friends with Harry aiding, abetting and partnering with John through his infamous “Lost Weekend” It was Harry who was with John during his legendary incident at The Troubador Club in L.A. Where a very drunk John and Harry were thrown out of the club after John got a little too aggressive with a waitress, providing the origin of one of rocks greatest quotes…

In addition to his drunkeness, John had tied a woman’s tampon to his head, and as the waitress ushered John and Harry to their feet, John says “Do you know who I am? And the waitress famously replies, “Yes, your some asshole with a Kotex on your head”……Never the less, the point is, The Point is Harry Nilssons most important and greatest record.

Here’s why: The Point was Harry’s 6th record, yet it delivered Harry’s one and only Top 10 single with “Me and my arrow” written by him. We know what your thinking, “What about “Everybody’s Talkin’ Nope, not written by Harry, it was written by folk singer Fred Neil, and what about the incredibly beautiful “Without You”? Nope it was written by the two principal members of the band Badfinger! The writers names were Pete Ham and Tom Evans ( see the “Do you want to know a secret” page for some gruesome details)

Harry’s life and music was rich with irony, with the most ironic element being his notoriety as a songwriter yet he didn’t write his classic iconic hits!

But there’s another point to “The Point” Harry was one of the first to harness the power of Television. The release of The Point L.P. Coincided with ABC airing Harry’s stunning feature length ANIMATED “Movie Of The Week” “The Point” conceived written and produced by Harry and featuring his friends Dustin Hoffman, Ringo Starr and Alan Thicke,

Something wonderful happened the day after “The Point” enjoyed it’s debut airing on ABC. The world woke up to who Harry Nilsson was. The next day “The Point” and Harry were “The Water Cooler conversation”….I recall how my best friend said to me, “Hey Everybody’s Talkin ’bout Nilsson” To this day I’m not sure if he realized what he said, but it was the truth. The Brilliance of the animation was a stunning roller coaster of color and movement, juxtaposed to Harry’s unique blend of smooth, dream like melodies accompanied by his lyrics that tell the story and make The Point with his usual Wit, Wisdom, Irony and Innuendo. (Even the cover artwork was designed to replicate “Needle Point) which, is another point altogether! Perhaps, most importantly, The Point, In addition to the hit single “Me and my Arrow” includes our two favorite Nilsson songs “Are You Sleeping” and “Think About Your Troubles” We realize naming your favorite Nilsson songs is like naming your favorite child, but But those are our all time faves…

So, Here’s the point. You need to get The Point..

The Point is Innovative, ambitious, ahead of it’s time, beautiful to look at and musically The richest record you’ll find from a Songwriter in the 1960’s…

And, here’s our final point. If you haven’t seen The Point, you need to!

That’s the point!


    • Wow, Lucky kids. We’re betting that they got an ‘A’ in Music Appreciation at school! Did they also see The Beatles animated feature “Yellow Submarine”? which was released three years prior to The Point in 1968? Many fans have cited the many similarities through the years.
      Lastly, are you a Nilsson fan?
      Most importantly, thank you Sylvia for joining in the commentary and sharing your brief, interesting and, we believe, important POINT ! (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves)

  1. Just an observation Mr. Shoe ,but does Harry Nilsson (when he had his beard/mustache ) look a whole lot like the Woodman ? Really uncanny if you ask me . Look at the shot of him and tell me he doesn’t look so much like the Wood when he had his beard / mustache. The LP : “The Point ” was such a great album. I still have the original LP. Was really great stuff/music. Loved all those songs even to this day.It was and is the kind of music / songs that put you in a good mood

    • Hey Mr. Is…..We do see what your saying about the resemblance between our friend Ron Wood and Harry Nilsson. Yes! Uncanny
      Meanwhile, the more important point you make about Nilssons music perfectly summarizes The Point and everything Harry produced. As you said “It was the kind of music that put you in a good mood”
      which, where music is concerned is precisely THE POINT !
      Incidentally, here’s a SMS tip, if you want to get into a REALLY good mood. Check out “Nilsson Sings Beatles” Yes it’s all it should be! Absolutely breathtaking, if only for Harry’s version of “She’s Leaving Home” complete with a Penny Lane” Brass arrangement!
      Dig it Mr. Is and let us know what you think….Yes, it’s a Bootleg, but you can find it on line!
      “All you need is love” ( and Harry)

      Oh hell, it’s to beautiful not to stop what you’re doing and listen right now…


        • Wow, Quite touching, however I’m Curious…..Did your sister ever attempt to “run away from home”?
          But that sooo speaks to the power of Lennon/ McCartneys songwriting!
          Are you still mad at John and Paul?
          Dr. Rick

      • First I want to say that you brought me back to a good place “The Courtship of Eddies Father”. I remember watching that every week. It was a good show ,but even better it always had a moral with each episode . Really taught you some good morals. Now back to Harry singing the Beatles songs. “She’s Leaving Home” was done very well by Harry and in my opinion even better than Paul. His voice on that song really sounded mesmerizing and so peaceful . Loved “One” and a few others more than some of Paul and John’s versions. Thanks Mr. Shoe for bringing me back to the good ole days. I completely forgot about Harry’s versions of the Beatles. I used to listen to those songs over and over way back in the day.
        Really good tunes in our time.

  2. Always loved the album, “The Point” however there are so many of his songs that I loved. “Without Her”, Don’t Leave Me”, and “Wailing of the Willow” are some of my favorites. And of course “Little Cowboy” is another…so many to choose from. He was an amazing singer/songwriter and left us way too soon. “The Point” was…everyone should be accepted as they are and be happy no matter what you look like…way ahead of his time leaving a poignant message for all of us left behind.

    • Hey Jules, we are always pleased to see you here at SMS…..Here’s why, you consistently show up with a message of caring and optimism. And this post is no exception, especially as you make your point about The Point……There is another reason as well, whenever we talk about music ( which is the point here at SMS) you always reintroduce us to music we haven’t heard in a lifetime. Your post this week is a great example. I don’t believe I’ve listened to “Little Cowboy” since it came out in 1967. I just listened to it last night and it brought a tear to my eye!. We can always depend on you to cite the deep tracks and the great stuff that most of us mere mortals tend to forget…
      Once again Jules, THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your memory for the obscure and rich love of music from the 60’s once again…

  3. Before I worked with you mine fiend at MCA I published Harry at Terry Oates’ company Eaton Music I met him many times and what an amazing talent and lovely man when almost sober. I think Ariel Pandemonium Ballet Show is his opus. Too many great songs beautifully produced and arranged although it’s classed as a remix it is genius.

    • Warrick! Didn’t know Eaton music controlled some of Harry’s catalog…..More importantly YOU got to work with NILSSON!….I’m sure you have some great stories and you simply must share them here at Sixties Music Secrets. Your casual remark about Harry’s sobriety was not lost on us. I had one brief meeting with him at the infamous “Le Dome” restaurant in West L.A. involving mistaken identity,…mine…..not his….and an 8oz tumbler of Johnnie Walker Black….His….not Mine! I gushed and laughed as Harry gulped and held court …… “a splendid time was guaranteed for all”
      Lastly, I can’t argue with your position regarding “Aerial Pandemonium Ballett Show” However, as you know that record is his first two L.P.’s combined into one. We’ve always seen that recording as a very early “Greatest Hits” package!
      Only Harry could make his third record a “Greatest Hits” package….And it is, of course, Brilliant!
      Great to see you Warrick, please come back soon and share more of your love and wisdom!

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