Harry Nilsson recorded Randy Newman's "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear" for his 1968 album Harry. It was the first Newman song recorded by Nilsson who later recorded an entire album of Randy Newman songs.
I remember that I was writing a love song for what was almost an assignment. Frank Sinatra, Jr. needed a love song, and I was trying to write it, but I just couldn't stand the lyric anymore. I ended up writing a song called "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear."
Oh, who would think a boy and bear
Could be well accepted everywhere.
It's just amazing how fair people can be.
That kind of thing became my natural mode of expression, It felt right. And it made me laugh. I realize that people want love songs, for good reason. That's what we've been giving them for 500 years. But I went toward what interested me.