The RCA Albums Collection

This box contains 14 studio albums Harry Nilsson made between 1967 and 1977, extended with hours of rarities. It is not overkill. It is the necessary account of a brilliant, wayward pop life still best known for tawdry and misleading reasons: the boozy antics with John Lennon during the latter's "lost weekend"; the hits Nilsson had with other writers' classics (Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'," Badfinger's "Without You"). The 1967 LP Pandemonium Shadow Show and '68's Aerial Ballet show Nilsson as that rare song factory (covered by the Monkees and Three Dog Night, among others) who cut his own tunes best, with concise invention and gentle hurt, like a minimalist Jimmy Webb. The Seventies albums are all over the map – an animated-film score; the very ragged charm of the Lennon-produced Pussy Cats; the choral and orchestral caress of 1977's Knnillssonn – reflecting a restless imagination blurred by frustration and slipping commercial grip. Nilsson recorded little after leaving RCA and died in 1994. But he left a full life's work in this box, with plaintive grace and irresistible design.

From The Archives Issue 1188: August 1, 2013
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