BMG has announced the acquisition of the rights to the critically-acclaimed songbook of Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson.
The deal includes Nilsson’s publishing catalog, as well as artist and writer revenue streams of his hit songs including the chart-topping hits "Without You," "Everybody's Talkin'," "One,"‘ "Coconut," and classics "Jump Into The Fire,"‘ "Gotta Get Up," and "Me and My Arrow," among many others from his great American songbook. His song works also includes titles co-written with John Lennon, ‘Mucho Mungo/Mt. Elga’ and ‘Old Dirt Road’; Danny Kortchmar, ‘(Thursday) Here’s Why I Did Not Go To Work Today’, ‘Moonshine Bandit’; Dr. John, ‘Daylight Has Caught Me’; and Ringo Starr, ‘How Long Can Disco On’.
Featured among the 18 studio albums released over the course of his two-decade long recording career include his debut Spotlight on Nilsson, Harry, Nilsson Sings Newman, the critically acclaimed Nilsson Schmilsson, standards album A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, Pussy Cats (produced by John Lennon), Nilsson's personal favorite Knnillssonn, and his final studio album Flash Harry; as well as the original film soundtracks for Skidoo, The Point!, Son of Dracula, and Popeye; in addition to the collection of his final studio recordings titled Losst and Founnd released posthumously.
BMG will also begin collaborating with the Nilsson family in exploring global creative opportunities for their creative assets such as the The Point! story and Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) including film, television, theatrical stage productions, books, and further areas of business.
The Nilsson family said, “We are delighted to have found a partner that shares our love and reverence for Harry’s legacy. We look forward to a long relationship with BMG, working together to celebrate this true genius of pop music.”
Thomas Scherer, BMG’s President, Repertoire & Marketing, Los Angeles and New York, said, “For generations, Harry Nilsson’s timeless music has captivated millions of people all around the world. A brilliant songwriter with an exceptionally beautiful and unique voice, we will ensure his spirit thrives for generations to come. We are honored the Nilsson family chose BMG to entrust as the custodians of his musical legacy and are proud to represent the cherished works of Harry Nilsson.”
Harry Nilsson occupies a unique space in the story of 20th century American music. While he is best known for his chart-topping hits, his deep catalog continues to surprise and capture audiences. At turns irreverent and sincere, Rock & Roll and pure Pop, Nilsson defied easy categorization over his career. He eschewed touring and was happiest in the studio, where he worked with producers like Rick Jarrard, Richard Perry, and John Lennon to craft layered, inventive recordings.
Nilsson’s career began in 1960s Los Angeles, where he penned hits for The Monkees and Three Dog Night. He explored Baroque Pop and recorded pristine vocals on albums like Pandemonium Shadow Show and Aerial Ballet. In 1971, he released the seminal Nilsson Schmilsson, which was nominated for four Grammys. His chart-topping cover of ‘Without You’ is one of the most vital moments in 1970s music. His 1971 album and film The Point is a triumph of imagination, an enduring fable of the nature of belonging. His timeless interpretations of the Great American Songbook on 1973’s A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night broke new ground for musicians of the era.
Nilsson's music continues to inspire other artists, who see him as a beacon of authenticity and artistry. John Lennon and Paul McCartney called him their "favorite American group," and artists from Carly Rae Jepsen to Harry Styles have cited him as an inspiration. His music is indelibly linked to movies and TV shows like Goodfellas ("Jump Into The Fire"), Reservoir Dogs "Coconut"), Russian Doll ("Gotta Get Up"), Forrest Gump ("Everybody's Talkin'"), You've Got Mail ("The Puppy Song") and many more. The breadth and depth of Harry Nilsson's catalog continues to charm new generations.
The Nilssons' team was led by John Rudolph of 1.618 Industries, Inc. (formerly Music Analytics, a leading music IP advisor) with counsel provided by Jason Karlov and Amanda Taber of Barnes & Thornburg.
Back row (L to R) – Thomas Scherer (BMG), Beau Nilsson, Kiefo Nilsson, Oscar Nilsson, Ben Nilsson, Jonathan Palmer (BMG)
Front row (L to R) – Celeigh Chapman and Bryan Chabrow (BMG), Olivia Nilsson, Una Nilsson, Annie Nilsson