Gary Wright died at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California, on September 4, 2023. Although best known for his solo hits "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive" - and having been born and raised in the US - Wright first caught the attention of music fans as a member of the British band Spooky Tooth in the late 1960s. Wright left the band in early 1970 to begin a career as a solo artist and session musician.
In 1971 Harry Nilsson recorded "Without You" which was destined to be his biggest hit. Rick Wakeman played the piano for an early take of the song, Nilsson and his producer, Richard Perry, decided that Wakeman's track was "too busy, too complex."
So we replaced Rick Wakeman with Gary Wright and he began, just like you hear on the record, very simple. It was just right!
At Patty’s apartment the first time we met, we passed an old acoustic guitar back and forth and played our songs for one another. [...] Harry is dutifully impressed when I play him a tune or two. I hand him the guitar, and he starts singing: “Well in 1941 a happy father had a son.... [...] "Holy crap," I thought, "this guy is amazing."
In 1967, Bob introduced Harry to Diane Clatworthy, the secretary of the Family Tree fan club. Diane and Harry married on December 31, 1969, in Las Vegas.
Segarini wrote a song, "He Spins Around" about his friend, Harry Nilsson. It was released as the B-side of single in 1968 then on the CD release of the Miss Butters in 2007.
Harry and Bob's relationship soured in the mid to late 1970s as Harry's lifestyle became intertwined with the Beatles, drugs, and alcohol.
The last time I saw Harry was in line at the Carnegie Deli in New York. He was in front of me in an overcoat and I recognized the back of his head somehow. He was on his way to London to hang out, record, and move into Ringo’s flat for a while. He looked world weary, but still had the old twinkle in his eye. We reminisced while his limo idled out front, caught up, and had a few laughs waiting for our medium old fashioned (pastrami) on a Kaiser with double mustard, pickle on the side. When I asked after Diane, he said that they had gotten divorced, the twinkle in his eyes dimming, with what I could only imagine was caused by leaving his wife and young son behind, of abandoning them, of becoming his father.
Harry Nilsson News (2023-03-30)
Walk of Fame Star for Bill Bixby Campaign Meets Major Goal
Brandon Cruz's effort to have a star for Bill Bixby added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame has reached a major goal. The Go Fund Me account to raise money for the star has reached its goal and now the process for having the star approved and installed has begun.
Perry Lafayette Botkin, Jr., was a successful songwriter, arranger, and publisher when Harry Nilsson met him around 1960. Botkin arranged music for several of Harry's songs and co-wrote songs with Nilsson.
Perry's father began playing bass guitar in high school in Richmond, Indiana. He switched to ukulele then banjo before picking up the guitar. As Bing Crosby's guitarist, he performed on Crosby's "Kraft Music Hall" radio show in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Perry Botkin's Father at the Chicagoland Music Festival in 1965
This site is dedicated to the music and memory of Harry Nilsson. From the late 1960s through the early '90s, Nilsson produced music that both challenged norms and celebrated the past - often within the same song.
On first listen, his early Pandemonium Shadow Show is just an appealing collection of bouncy pop songs, a product of the time when it was released. But, on closer listen songs like "1941" and "Without Her" feature poignant and wistful lyrics on top of their upbeat, pop melodies. To the listener in the late 1960s, the melodies and songs, such as “Freckles” sometimes invoked what would have seemed a nostalgic air, but they still sound fresh more than fifty years later.
Nilsson remained unconventional throughout his career. He never toured to support an album and he made few TV appearances. He released an album of songs which were all written by another songwriter. He recorded an album of standards in front of an orchestra. He followed up his best selling album and song with an album featuring a song pretty much guaranteed to surprise, if not offend, his new fans.
Harry ventured into movies and TV, creating a classic animated story (“The Point!”) and writing the music and songs for the once-panned, but now cult favorite, film Popeye starring Robin Williams.
In the last years of his life, after his friend John Lennon was shot and killed, Harry stepped back from music and, ironically perhaps, more into the public eye as the spokesperson for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence advocating for sensible gun laws in America.