The Work of Singer Songwriter Harry Nilsson

Updated on September 19, 2017
Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

I'm a writer, a poet, a dreamer. Born and raised in New York City. I now live in Daytona Beach, Florida with my wonderful cat Sid.

An American singer and songwriter Harry Nilsson achieved his fame in the early 70s. The singles he’s most known for are “Everybody’s Talkin’”, “Without You”, and “Coconut”. He has also written songs for rock groups. Nilsson wrote the song “One” made popular by The Three Dog Night. Nilsson was also popular with The Beatles especially Paul McCartney and John Lennon. The Monkees had a success with Nilsson’s song “Cuddly Toy” and band member Mickey Dolenze remained his closest friend till his death in 1994.

Two of his recordings have received Grammys: Best Male Contemporary Vocal for “Everybody’s Talkin’” which was a prominent song in the movie “Midnight Cowboy” which won an Academy Award in 1969 and Best Male Pop Vocal for “Without You” in 1972.

His most notable album which included both of his greatest hits “Without You” and “Coconut” came out in 1971 called Nilsson Schmilsson. It also included a screaming rock and roll type of song “Jump into the Fire”. Harry Nilsson quickly released Son of Schmilsson in 1972 and even though it did not have the success of the last album it had the single “Spaceman” which rose up on the charts. In 1973 he came out with A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night. This recording session was also filmed as a TV special by the BBC in the U.K. Nilsson sang in front of an orchestra performing a selection of pop standards.

Among his best songs are “You’re Breaking My Heart”, “The Moonbeam Song”, “Don’t Forget Me” and “Let the Good Times Roll”. He was such an incredible and versatile singer that he has many different kinds of songs for many different musical tastes.

In the 80s trying hard to make some kind of a comeback Harry Nilsson failed at every turn. Finally on September 1, 1992 he made his final concert appearance joining Ringo Starr and His All Star Band onstage at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tragedy struck when he suffered a massive heart attack in 1993. Having survived he began working on a compilation of all of his music. He hadn’t quite finished it when he died of heart failure on January 15, 1994. He was just 52 years old.

The 2-CD anthology Personal Best which he had been working on was released in 1995. In 2006 the documentary Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talking About Him?) was shown at the Seattle International Film Festival and at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

© 2016 Gypsy Rose Lee


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      Very versatile indeed! Enjoyed the musical flashback.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      4 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Yes, it is a wonder why the most talented ones go so very young Shauna. Especially when they still have so much to give.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      I just love your music hubs, Rasma. Nillson was a favorite of mine. Excellent singer/songwriter. I didn't know he was friends with Mickey Dolenz or Ringo Starr. It's a shame he died so young.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      4 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      He was very talented and a most versatile musician Bill.

      Glad you enjoyed this Ruby.

      Glad you enjoyed this Manatita. First song I ever heard by him was Without You.

    • manatita44 profile image


      4 years ago from london

      Didn't remember him, but once I started hearing the songs.....such classics! I can't live ... he reminds me of David Essex. Nice one, Gypsy.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I'm sitting here tapping my toes to Let The Good Times Roll. He wrote some great songs. Sad that he died so young. Interesting review Rasma...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      He was a musical genius and one of my favorite musicians....tragic life in many ways but man alive, could that man ever write and perform a song. :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)