Harry Nilsson

Nilsson '62: The Debut Sessions

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Harry Nilsson does indeed sing on these 21 tracks, recorded at one fell swoop during a 1962 demo session. But it could not be considered either a proper Nilsson album or a stellar moment in the singer/songwriter's career. The somewhat complicated story is this: in 1962, unknown Los Angeles guitarist and songwriter Scott Turner met Nilsson. Impressed with his voice, he arranged to have Harry demo many of his tunes. Harry helped write a couple of the songs, but this was Turner's show. The material, some written with John Marascalco (who had penned some stuff for Little Richard) or actor Audie Murphy (!), was bland, wimpy early '60s pop. At its worst, it recalled such insufferable teen idols as Mark Dinning ("Teen Angel"). This in itself was bad enough, but Turner compounded the damage by overdubbing most of the original demos with hack Nashville country backing in 1977 and 1994. This strategy never leads to positive results, and although Harry does indeed sing well, the tunes and overdubs are so poor as to make listening painful, of interest only for purely historical reasons. Seven of the songs were spared the Nashville treatment; five were overdubbed in 1962 by L.A. session aces like James Burton, Leon Russell, Herb Alpert, and Hal Blaine, and just two were left untouched. These tracks may have higher "integrity," such as it is, but still there's not a single thing here worth hearing unless you're a Nilsson scholar.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:52
2 1:24
3 2:31
4 2:01
5 2:26
6 1:19
7 2:32
8 1:49
9 2:00
10 2:28
11 2:05
12 3:48
13 2:44
14 1:40
15 2:13
16 2:18
17 1:34
18 2:14
19 2:22
20 2:55
21 3:05
blue highlight denotes track pick