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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 July 21, 2008 | RCA Records Label

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 - Released January 1, 1973 | RCA - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released January 13, 2004 | RCA - BMG Heritage

Harry Nilsson had a hit, a Grammy, and critical success, yet he still didn't have a genuine blockbuster to his name when it came time to finally deliver a full-fledged follow-up to Nilsson Sings Newman, so he decided it was time to make that unabashed, mainstream pop/rock album. Hiring Barbra Streisand producer Richard Perry as a collaborator, Nilsson made a streamlined, slightly domesticated, unashamed set of mature pop/rock, with a slight twist. This is an album, after all, that begins by pining for the reckless days of youth, then segues into a snapshot of suburban disconnectedness before winding through a salute to and covers of old R&B tunes ("Early in the Morning" and "Let the Good Times Roll," respectively), druggie humor ("Coconut"), and surging hard rock ("Jump Into the Fire"). There are certainly hints of the Nilsson of old, particularly in his fondness for Tin Pan Alley and McCartney melodicism -- as well as his impish wit -- yet he hadn't made a record as cohesive as this since his first time out, nor had he ever made something as shiny and appealing as this. It may be more accessible than before, yet it's anchored by his mischievous humor and wonderful idiosyncrasies. Chances are that those lured in by the grandly melodramatic "Without You" will not be prepared for either the subtle charms of "The Moonbeam Song" or the off-kilter sensibility that makes even his breeziest pop slightly strange. In short, it's a near-perfect summary of everything Nilsson could do; he could be craftier and stranger, but never did he achieve the perfect balance as he did here. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released January 1, 1968 | RCA - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released November 9, 2007 | RCA Records Label

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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Pop - Released January 1, 1970 | RCA - Legacy

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Pop - Released January 1, 1969 | RCA - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released April 11, 2006 | RCA - Legacy

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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Rock - Released January 1, 1977 | RCA - Legacy

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Pop/Rock - Released January 1, 1990 | 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 July 1, 1976 | RCA - Legacy

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Rock - Released January 1, 1974 | RCA - Legacy

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Rock - Released October 20, 2017 | RCA - Legacy

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Rock - Released January 1, 1975 | RCA - Legacy

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Pop - Released January 1, 1967 | 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/Rock - Released May 22, 2006 | RCA - Legacy

Emboldened by a huge hit and hanging with Lennon and Ringo, Harry Nilsson was ready to let it all go when it came time to record a follow-up to Nilsson Schmilsson. The very title of Son of Schmilsson implies that it's a de facto sequel to its smash predecessor but, as always with Nilsson, don't take everything at face value. Yes, he's back with producer Richard Perry and he's working from the same gleefully melodic, polished pop/rock territory as before, but this is an incredibly schizoid record, an album by an enormously gifted musician deciding that, since he's already going unhinged, he might as well indulge himself while he's at it. And, wow, are the results ever worth it. Opening with a song to a groupie -- he sang his balls off, baby, he nearly broke the microphone -- and ending with an ode to "The Most Beautiful World in the World," this record careens all over the place, bouncing from one idea to another, punctuated with B-horror movie sound effects, bizarre humor, profanity, and belches. There are song parodies, seemingly straight piano ballads, vulgar hard rock, lovely love songs, and a cheerful singalong with retirees at an old folks home who all proclaim, "I'd rather be dead than wet my bed." The sheer perversity of it all would be fascinating, yet if that's all it had to offer, it'd merely be a curiosity, the way his post-Pussy Cats records are. Instead, this is all married to a fantastic set of songs that illustrate what a skilled, versatile songsmith Nilsson was. No, it may not be the easiest album to warm to -- and it's just about the weirdest record to reach number 12 and go gold -- but if you appreciate Nilsson's musicality and weirdo humor, he never got any better. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released January 1, 1968 | RCA - Legacy

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