Let the Good Times Roll

Don’t be too shocked, but this is a drinking song. A drinking song by Harry Nilsson. That paragon of all things virtuous. Stunner, I know. Nilsson may not have drank himself into the grave as swiftly and directly as some others, but it sure didn’t help either his health or his career. In fact, his partying ways tend to overshadow his actual work, at least in some people’s minds. Which is a tragedy. No one should be missing out on Nilsson. But Nilsson the drunk and crazy guy and Nilsson the funny, romantic, gifted singer-songwriter should not be separated. Not to go into a debate whether the lifestyle helped the art more than it hurt it, or the other way around – that’s a circular debate, as no one can make that judgement call. The relationship between creativity and destructiveness is complex and poorly understood. We simply have no way of knowing if, in some parallel universe, a healthy and sober Harry Nilsson is enjoying the legendary status of a widely adored million dollar earning hit machine, while in ours drunk Harry languishes in cult obscurity. At least, if it did nothing else, Nilsson’s love for the juice has made him a kind of lovable patron saint of tough hangovers. He’s the everyman alcoholic forever woozily shuffling about in his dressing gown by the light of a half open refrigerator.


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