Mods And Rockers Festival: Nilsson Is My Cup Of Tea


The Mods & Rockers Film Festival is presenting the Hollywood Premiere of a new documentary about the beloved singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson - who died tragically young in 1994. His friend and fellow artist, Paul Williams has written this appreciation of Harry Nilsson especially for the Huffington Post's "Mods & Rockers Blog"

Harry was brilliant... and totally uncomfortable with anyone saying so. I met him in the late sixties when I was signed to the same management firm he was handled by. Although the phrase 'handled by' doesn't really work with Harry. He was his own man and fiercely independent.

A total fan, I began a well-constructed speech about how magnificent his albums were... only to be silenced with a laugh, hustled into another room... plopped down in front of a sound system and given a quick lesson in song appreciation.

He played me everything Randy Newman had recorded up to that moment. "There's a writer Paulie .. there's a writer!" I think Randy remained his favorite American composer throughout his life. I wrote a short song about them called "Nilsson sings Newman"... It was a sometimes dangerous honor to know and love Harry Nilsson. More than once I remember passionate late night phone conversations ending with Harry hanging up on me for reasons I wasn't sure of... and then not remembering at all the next time we spoke. Too many chemicals and intoxicating beverages consumed by both of us to clearly map the highs and lows of our too short history... But he was a great lover of life and people .. especially his wife Una and his children.

Just two days after his death, the big Northridge earthquake slammed California... And aftershocks bounced all of us in attendance at his memorial. "Lennon and Nilsson together again!" someone called out and we all laughed.

He was larger than life and the size of his heart is most evident in the gorgeous songs he left behind. If you want to know Harry's heart ... listen to "Remember"... It's a sweet testimony to his beauty and his light.