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Pop/Rock - Released April 28, 2006 | RCA - Legacy

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Rock - Released January 1, 1971 | RCA Records Label

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Pop/Rock - Released June 24, 2008 | RCA Records Label

What is hubris? It is Aerial Pandemonium Ballet, a folly Harry Nilsson crafted after winning a Grammy for "Everybody's Talkin'." Riding upon the goodwill generated by the award, he decided to compress and edit his first two (quite brilliant) albums into one record. He remixed tracks, erased old vocals, over-sang some new ones, edited sections out of certain songs, and slowed others down. Apart from the intros and outros, there are no brand-new items, just old tunes presented in slightly new, slightly off-putting ways. If you're not familiar with the debut, this will be pretty enchanting since the two records weren't that far apart stylistically and, let's face it, he was working with pretty terrific source material. Still, it's no substitute for the originals, and if you have a chance (and you do, with Britain's RCA Camden reissue), pick up the originals. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released January 1, 1968 | RCA - Legacy

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As "Good Old Desk" opens Aerial Ballet with a cheerful saunter, it's clear that Harry Nilsson decided to pick up where he left off with his debut, offering another round of effervescent, devilishly clever pop, equal parts lite psychedelia, pretty ballads, and music hall cabaret. It's not a carbon copy, however. In one sense, he entrenches himself a little bit, emphasizing his lighter edges and humor, writing songs so cheerfully lightweight -- a love song about his mom and dad, an ode to his favorite desk, an address or two to a "Little Cowboy" -- that it may be a little too cloying for some tastes, even for fans of Pandemonium Shadow Show. Those are balanced by a couple major steps forward, namely "Everybody's Talkin'" and "One." The former finds Nilsson adopting a rolling folk-pop backing for a Fred Neil song, making it into an instant, Grammy-winning classic. The latter was the greatest song he had written to date, a haunting tale of loneliness reminiscent of McCartney, yet with its own voice. These are the songs anchoring an album that may be a little lightweight, but it's engagingly, deliberately lightweight. If it's a bit dated, it wears its old charms well. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop/Rock - Released March 6, 1997 | RCA - BMG Heritage

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Pop - Released January 1, 1973 | RCA - Legacy

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Nilsson was nearly a decade ahead of Linda Ronstadt and other nouveau crooners in hiring a conductor/arranger of the pre-rock era (in this case Gordon Jenkins) and recording an album of standards before a full orchestra. And he did it better than most, proving to be a marvelous interpreter of songs like "What'll I Do?" and "Makin' Whoopee!" His version of "As Time Goes By" became a minor hit. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Pop/Rock - Released November 9, 2007 | RCA Records Label

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Pop - Released January 1, 1970 | RCA - Legacy

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Named Stereo Review's album of the year (and, really, can you ask for a better endorsement than that?) upon its release and generally regarded as the album that introduced Randy Newman the songwriter to a wide audience, Nilsson Sings Newman has gained a reputation of being an minor masterwork. This, in a way, is misguiding, since this isn't an obvious record, where the songs are delivered simply and directly. It's deliberately an album of subtle pleasures, crafted, as the liner notes state, line by line in the studio. As such, the preponderance of quiet piano-and-voice tracks (featuring Newman himself on piano, Nilsson on vocals) means the record can slip away upon the first few listens, especially for anyone expecting an undeniable masterpiece. Yet, a masterpiece is what this is, albeit a subtle, graceful masterpiece where the pleasure is in the grace notes, small gestures, and in-jokes. Not to say that this is devoid of emotion; it's just that the emotion is subdued, whether it's on a straightforward love song ("Caroline") or a tongue-in-cheek tale like "Love Story." For an album that introduced a songwriter as idiosyncratic as Newman, it's only appropriate that Nilsson's interpretations are every bit as original as the songs. His clear intonation and sweet, high voice are more palatable than Randy's slurred, bluesy growl, but the wild thing is, these versions demand that the listeners surrender to Nilsson's own terms. He's created gentle, intricate arrangements of tuneful yet clever songs, and as such, the album may be as much an acquired taste as Newman. Once you've acquired that taste, this is as sweet as honey. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released January 1, 1969 | RCA - Legacy

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Ironically, Harry is where Harry Nilsson began to become Nilsson, an immensely gifted singer/songwriter/musician with a warped sense of humor that tended to slightly overwhelm his skills, at least to those who aren't quite operating on the same level. This aspect of his personality surfaces partially because the record is a crazy quilt of originals, covers, bizarre Americana, quiet ballads, show tunes, and soft-shoe shuffles. It doesn't really hold together, per se, due to its lack of focus (which, if you're a cultist, is naturally the reason why it's charming). Due to the sheer number of shuffling nostalgia trips, it seems as if Nilsson is attempting to sell the entire album on personality and, to anyone who isn't converted to his unique perspective, these may the moments that make Harry a little difficult to take, even with songs as expertly constructed as the delightful "Nobody Cares About the Railroads Anymore," an attempt to ape Randy Newman's Tin Pan Alley style. Then, there are the songs that really work, such as the sardonically cute "The Puppy Song," the gentle "Mournin' Glory Story," and "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City," a thoroughly winning folk-rock song he wrote for Midnight Cowboy but which was rejected in favor of "Everybody's Talkin'." These are the moments that deliver on the promise of his first two records, while the rest suggests where he would go next, whether in the immediate future (a cover of Newman's "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear") or several years later (the weird in-jokes and insularity of portions of the album, which would become his modus operandi as of Nilsson Schmilsson). ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released January 1, 1967 | RCA - Legacy

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Harry Nilsson's debut album, Pandemonium Shadow Show, was notoriously loved by the Beatles, and it's easy to see why. This is the only record of its time that feels akin to Sgt. Pepper, and in some ways, it's every bit as impressive. Nilsson works on a much smaller scale, leaning heavily on whimsy yet cutting it with sardonic humor and embellishing it with remarkable song and studiocraft; it's as if McCartney and Lennon were fused into the same body. Pandemonium can't help but feel like a cheeky show of strength by a remarkably gifted imp, spinning out psychedelic fantasias and jokes and trumping his idols by turning out a cover of "She's Leaving Home" (recorded ten days after Sgt. Pepper's release) that rivals the original. Beneath all the light playful melodies ("There Will Never Be" is swinging London, L.A. style) or glorious laments (he rarely equaled "Sleep Late, My Lady Friend"), there are serious strains: the lyrics of "Cuddly Toy" are as unsettling as the melody catchy, the circus-stomp "Ten Little Indians" is a darkly addictive retelling of the Ten Commandments, and "1941" is quietly heartbreaking beneath its jaunty cabaret. Throughout it all, Nilsson impresses with his humor, cleverness, and above all, how his songwriting blossoms under his shockingly inventive studiocraft. Psychedelic pop albums rarely came better than this, and it remains a thorough delight. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 1974 | RCA - Legacy

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Rock - Released July 1, 1976 | RCA - Legacy

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Well, what do you expect from an artist who's reading Penthouse, surrounded by liquor bottles and cigarettes, on the cover of his album? Perfection? Accessibility? Sanity? Well, you ain't gonna get that from Nilsson, a man who left sanity behind shortly after he entered the mainstream with Nilsson Schmilsson. Instead, you get a record from an artist who's just at the fringe of popular culture, not really caring if he has a hit, but not really wanting to be so weird that he's just a cult. Realizing all of this, the artist also knows that he doesn't need to try so hard -- he can be as lazy as he looks on the cover. So, that means That's the Way It Is is essentially a covers record, with songs ranging from material penned by longtime favorite Randy Newman ("Sail Away") to longtime fan George Harrison ("That Is All") to oldies ("Just One Look/Baby I'm Yours") to obscurities ("She Sits Down on Me" and "Zombie Jamboree"). Only two original songs then: the faux-reggae "Moonshine Bandit" and "Daylight Has Caught Me," co-written with Dr. John. Everything's given a rather lush, but not particularly sleek treatment, placing it closer to soft rock than to the unabashed cult rock that Nilsson was producing at this point. So, this winds up being an album that's not as gleefully weird and funny as its predecessors and yet is stranger because of that. Because, for chrissake, who wants this album? It doesn't have enough perversity or indulgence for those who treasure his weirdness, but it's way too idiosyncratic and odd for anyone who might like the L.A.-style vibe. Not a bad record, really, but certainly not a very good one, even by latter-day Nilsson standards. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 1977 | RCA - Legacy

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Realizing that he had nothing left to lose when he got to the end of his RCA contract, Harry Nilsson wound up recording his best, most distinctive record since Pussy Cats, maybe, Son of Schmilsson. Abandoning the very idea of a mainstream pop album is just the beginning of his conceptual coup here with Knnillssonn. Recording almost all of the sounds with keyboards and guitars, Nilsson also decided to drive the guitars into the background. In some ways, this may make it similar to A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, but instead of being a standards record, this is all new material, written in a classical pop style and delivered in a slightly modernistic fashion. The result is an album that's out of step with its time and with the era's music in general. With its old-fashioned pop sensibility and weirdly out of sync production, plus Nilsson's trademark clever songsmithery and impish humor, Knnillssonn is a pop album like no other. It has his best set of songs in many a year, and the production is fascinating, yet at times it sounds like he's trying a little too hard. Still, there are brilliant moments, whether it's a tune as seductive as "All I Think About Is You" or the Agatha Christie murder mystery salute "Who Done It?" For all the cultists who struggled with, and at times embraced, his years of uneven records, this is their reward: an album that may only appeal to a small audience, but that satisfies their every desire about what an album from their favorite artist should be. [Originally released in 1977, Knnillssonn was reissued with bonus tracks in 2002.]~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop/Rock - Released April 11, 2006 | RCA - Legacy

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Film Soundtracks - Released September 29, 2017 | Varese Sarabande

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Rock - Released January 1, 1975 | RCA - Legacy

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More tongue-in-cheek wordplay from Harry Nilsson. The album was originally titled God's Greatest Hits, but powers that be persuaded Nilsson to change it. His voice as well as his talent for writing catchy tunes was wearing thin here, and as with previous efforts, nothing stands out like his earlier material. Duit On Mon Dei is an artist on the wane. ~ James Chrispell
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Pop/Rock - Released July 11, 1989 | RCA Records Label

Although this release from Belgium label Audiophile Classics differs a bit from the BMG Heritage collection called Greatest Hits, it is only by degree, and there is no appreciable difference in sound quality. So unless you need "Nobody Cares About the Railroad Anymore," and you don't want "The Puppy Song," stick with the Heritage version. ~ Steve Leggett
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Rock - Released October 20, 2017 | RCA - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released April 8, 1994 | RCA Records Label

Spanning two discs, Personal Best: The Harry Nilsson Anthology is a comprehensive overview of Nilsson's varied career, including all of the hits and many significant album tracks, yet it offers too much material for the casual fan, who would be better served by All-Time Greatest Hits. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released July 1, 1971 | RCA Victor - Legacy

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