Tons of songs become baseball stadium classics, even if they don’t start out that way: Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Gary Glitter’s “Rock & Roll Part 2,” the list goes on. Harry Nilsson aimed to go straight to the ballgame with his own sports anthem, “Yo Dodger Blue.”
“Dad was devoted to this team ever since they were the Brooklyn Dodgers,” his son Kiefo tweeted of the track, which was included on the singer-songwriter’s posthumous album, Losst and Founnd, a collection of material Nilsson recorded at the end of his career. It’s the first new music we’ve heard from Nilsson since 1980’s Flash Harry; he died of a heart attack in 1994.
“Yo Dodger Blue” is almost heartbreakingly straight-forward and pure: an unadulterated pump-up song that can only really serve one purpose: stoke the fires in the hearts of Dodger fans. No audience required: The cheers of the crowd are right there in the track. It fits well within an album that refuses to take itself too seriously: The edge-of-sanity bedtime song “Lullabye,” the stomping, extremely literal “Animal Farm,” the hilariously tender “What Does a Woman See in a Man.” It’s The Point! soaked in liquor — all with a hefty sheen of delightfully Eighties production.
“There’s a sense of him pulling away from the world of pop,” journalist Joe Levy told Rolling Stone in a previous interview. Levy hosts a four-part podcast about Nilsson titled Final Sessions. “He’s climbed the mountain, and once you climb the mountain, you got two choices. You can decide there’s a bigger mountain out there, or you can go down the other side. And I think Harry went down the other side. He didn’t really care about making another album as perfect as Nilsson Schmilsson. He indulged his sense of humor, he laid certain booby traps in his best songs.”
Losst and Founnd was produced by Mark Hudson (Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne) and features the likes of arranger Van Dyke Parks, drummer Jim Keltner, songwriter Jimmy Webb and Kiefo Nilsson on bass.