Harry was a singer from another parallel universe where they grow singers. There was no one like him. I may be a little biased, but the only two people I can think of right off-hand, who were around when he was singing, who could touch him, were Paul McCartney and Glen [Campbell] -- and Glen was a much more orderly, traditional kind of a singer. Both Paul and Harry had these kind of athletic, gymnastic-like voices, elastic voices, and could do all kinds [of things] with their voices that ordinary people can’t.

-- Jimmy Webb [1]


David Geffen introduced Jimmy Webb to Harry Nilsson by inviting the two to play basketball at Geffen's home. The meeting didn't go well. Nilsson was upset about something Webb had written in the liner notes for Richard Harris’ album The Yard Went on Forever. Webb had noted that had penned the line "skipping like a stone through the garden" before Harry sang the similar line "skipping over the ocean like a stone" in "Everybody’s Talkin'."


He took it as possibly the opening shot in a game of one-upmanship. He said, "Why’d you put that thing on the album?" And really came on kind of tough with me. He said, "I think you ought to think about your motivations? It seemed like a cheap shot to me." He just came right off the blocks and was in my face. It turned out, as the years passed [we became great friends]. I ended up giving the eulogy at the guy’s funeral, but it wasn’t love at first sight.

-- Jimmy Webb [2]


Jimmy Layne Webb (born August 15, 1946) is an American songwriter, composer, and singer. He achieved success at an early age, winning the Grammy Award for Song of the Year at the age of 21. During his career, he established himself as one of America's most successful and honored songwriter/composers. Webb has written numerous platinum-selling songs, including "Up, Up and Away", "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "MacArthur Park", "Wichita Lineman", "Worst That Could Happen", "Galveston" and "All I Know". He had successful collaborations with Glen Campbell, Michael Feinstein, Linda Ronstadt, the 5th Dimension, the Supremes, Art Garfunkel and Richard Harris. Webb was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1990. He received the National Academy of Songwriters Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, the Songwriters Hall of Fame Johnny Mercer Award in 2003, the ASCAP "Voice of Music" Award in 2006 and the Ivor Novello Special International Award in 2012. According to BMI, his song "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" was the third most performed song in the 50 years between 1940 and 1990. Webb is the only artist ever to receive Grammy Awards for music, lyrics and orchestration.