The Moonbeam Song

Heeeere’s Harry! Nilsson, that is. Seen here with Keith Moon, partaking in the partying that would kill them both (some quicker than others.) A quick internet rundown shows that Harry’s partying ways are very much remembered, to the detriment of anything else he ever did. Granted, it looks like he had some crazy good times, and he did outlive a lot of his cronies, at least by a few years. On the other hand, it’s not a real healthy habit that we have of glamorizing the kind of self-destructive behavior that leads to the grave. If Harry Nilsson had spent less time floating down a Mississippi of alcohol, we’d have more of his music to enjoy. Inadvertently, in his quest to let the good times roll, Nilsson lowered his own stock as an artist. Let’s remember that, in spite of himself, Harry Nilsson was one of the greats at his peak. Nilsson Schmilsson is a classic album, the kind of classic album every man, woman and child should make a point of owning. Nilsson was a musician of wide range who could dabble in whatever style he desired, but he had a notable affinity for romantic standards. In fact, he was one of the first rock artists to incorporate the standards into his repertoire. Covering the great American songbook is so de rigueur nowadays even freakin’ Bob Dylan has caved and done it, but Harry Nilsson was the first to blaze down that path, back when no self-respecting rock star would touch that schmaltz with a ten foot mic stand. Besides doing covers, Nilsson was also very good at emulating the classic formula, and as this song demonstrates, he did it with his own irreverent, witty spin. The combination of silly humor and sentimental heart was one of Nilsson’s greatest charms.


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