The Harry Nilsson Web Pages


Harry Nilsson News (2023-09-05)

The Dream Weaver Has Died

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![1]

 

 



Harry Nilsson News (2023-09-01)


The Lost Weekend: A Love Story Released on Home Video

A Blu-Ray of The Lost Weekend: A Love Story is being released in mid-October of 2023. It is currently available for pre-order from Amazon.com. The film is also available for purchase online through Amazon Prime.

 

Harry Nilsson News (2023-07-10)


Bob Segarini Has Died

Songwriter and performer, Bob Segarini, died in his sleep on July 10, 2023. He was 77 years of age.

 

Patty Faralla, a press agent for RCA, introduced Segarini to Harry Nilsson in 1965.

 

Harry and Bob wrote a song together. Segarini's group, Family Tree, released their version of "Miss Butter's Lament" on their 1968 album Miss Butters album. Nilsson's recording of the song went unreleased until 1995 when it appeared on the Personal Best - The Harry Nilsson Anthology album.

 

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.

 

You can follow the effort at:

 

https://m.facebook.com/100028543013324/

Harry Nilsson News (2023-03-13)

Drummer Jim Gordon Dies

Jim Gordon who contributed to several Harry Nilsson albums as a percussionist has died at the age of 77 on March 13, 2023.

 

More Harry Nilsson News ...


Featured Article of the Day


Zapata

Emiliano Zapata Salazar was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 to 1920. After his assassination in 1919, Zapata became a legendary figure and a powerful symbol of the Mexican Revolution.

 

On September 17, 1980, Zapata, a stage play written by Allan Katz (based on an earlier draft by Rafael Bunuel) with songs by Harry Nilsson and Perry Botkin, opened at the Goodspeed Opera House in Chester, Connecticut where it played for sixteen weeks, but failed to move on to Broadway.

 

The Goodspeed Theater

Harry attended the opening wearing a garish hat presented to him by Ringo Starr (who sported his own unusual headwear).

 

 

Ringo's appearance at the opening was not announced in advance. A small crowd waiting outside the theater included a few photographers. When asked by an elderly woman who they were waiting for, one of the photogs said "Ringo Starr." Unfazed, the woman asked "Oh, is he in the play?" [1]

 

Actors Shawn Elliott and Donna Murphy first met while working in "Zapata." They later married.[2]

 

Not every new Goodspeed offering is such a hit, of course, but the one currently on the boards, "Zapata!" is not even a miss, it's a genuine fizzle. It's not that the idea of doing a musical on the life of Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary, was a poor idea. It could have been a probing, trenchant, dramatic, insightful story of an ignorant farmer of high ideals leading men in the fight for land rights.
Instead, we get an old-fashioned Hollywood-cliche sort of red-white-and-green Mexico where intelligence is banished, where the natives sing Ay-ay-ay, where decisions are made with the snap of a finger, the hint of a song. It's TV-land, where each episode must fit neatly into 10-minute sequences (as if to allow for commercials). Glibness reigns unrestrained, people are reduced to ciphers and stooges. 

-- Thor Eckert, Jr. (1980) [3]

 

Creating a Broadway musical based on the life of Zapata was a pet project of Bert Convy. In 1978, he told a reporter:

I've been waiting 14 years for this, and I think I've finally got it together. It's my own musical. I've been carrying this idea around all that time, researching it, trying to bring all the elements together, and I finally realized that if I wanted to do it right, I was going to have to write it myself.
The subject is Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary figure. The real story this time, which is much more interesting than the movie. Although the movie is my all-time favorite.
I will write, produce and direct it. And I've found the right collaborators to do the music - Harry Nilsson and Perry Botkin Jr. They've written 10 songs.

-- Bert Convy (1978) [4]

 

In another 1978 interview, Convy said that he intended to write the book for the play and had enlisted the help of Rafael Bunuel (a sculptor, screenwriter, and the son of filmmaker Luis Bunuel). Convy expected to produce and direct the play which was to open in Los Angeles in 1979 with an all-Chicano cast.[5]

 

In 1979, Convy said that he and Raphael Bunuel wrote the original script then handed it over to Allan Katz ("M*A*S*H," "Laugh-In") to add a comedic touch giving the project a mass appeal. Convy stated that he would produce and direct the play but would not perform. Convy expect the show to open in May of 1980 on Broadway but said that a preview performance might run in St. Louis in January of 1980.[6]

 

[...]A greater disaster was "Zapata," last season's new musical. Conceived by director Bert Convy, with music by Harry Nilsson and Perry Botkin Jr., the show was an unmitigated fiasco. Once again, leading man problems arose. Convy chose Shawn Elliott, a string-bean tenor, with a weak voice, to play the Mexican revolutionary. Critics sneered at the whole production.[7]

 

 



Welcome to the Harry Nilsson Web Pages

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.
A heart attack took Harry’s life in early 1994. Yet, his memory lives on in the hearts and minds of his friends, family, and fans. And his music lives on with Sony releasing a comprehensive collection of his works on CD and his music being featured prominently in TV and movies.