Make your own free website on Tripod.com

This came from an anonymous Nilsson fan, named John Sheridan:

When Doug Hoefer (Harry's cousin) got back home from L.A. in 1976 (he lived in the next town over from me on Long Island), I remember he was full of stories about the "That's The Way It Is" sessions. (Although no one knew what the title would be right then.)

How Harry picked "hits" off the top of his head in answer to RCA requesting for a new "hit" Nilsson album.

How Jim Keltner told Doug (also a drummer) never to play behind, ahead or on the beat and had nothing but a nudie centerfold on his music stand next to his drums in the studio.

How he gave Lynda Lawrence a ride home, got introduced to Stevie Wonder (who thanked Harry on his "Songs In The Key Of Life" album (to which Harry responded: "I didn't do anything... ")and drove Ringo home who thanked Doug by giving him his then famous aviator sunglasses.

How the sessions were recorded live with music and vocals.

How it struck Doug funny upon meeting George Harrison, he realized that they were both tall and thin and could've worn each other's clothes.

How Harry and George would have "note-holding contests". About what a trip Van Dyke Parks was. Jim Keltner's wacky "count-offs". What a earnest and great producer Trevor Lawrence was. The "chain-breathing" choir on "That Is All" was his idea.

My God, this was 25 years ago! "That Is All" is definitely my favorite track from "That's The Way It Is". It's pure George Harrison: sweet, yet sincere sentiment; unusual chord progression, it's essentially the same but in two different keys, constantly revolving; an aching melody, beautiful. Harry's version is far more dynamic than George's (with all due respect to my favorite Beatle), both vocally and musically. Once again, it was Harry's vision as an artist that took a seemingly pedestrian tune and made it into such an incredible power-ballad. He did it before with Badfinger's "Without You". Compared to the rest of the exciting performances on their "No Dice" album, "Without You" sounds like a simple demo track. Harry, Richard Perry and Paul Buckmaster made it something remarkable. Even Badfinger admitted they didn't have what Harry had to get it there. Perhaps if they had waited to record it for the "Straight Up" LP, it could've been a "monster" for them. "That Is All" is the centerpiece of the album. Harry knew the track had everything: great instrumentation, melody, lyrics, vocals, dynamics, presence, sentiment, everything! No wonder it was reprised at the end of the album. I don't know about you, but both versions give me chills! Over the years, I know some people have felt that Harry's approach to this particular album might have appeared somewhat "casual". But please, take my word for it, knowing him as I did, he meant business on this track. ("Moonshine Bandit", too.) As a footnote, I'd like to mention that when Andrea & I were working on "Personal Best" and RCA showed us the song choices, we immediately pointed out that they had skipped any representation from this album. RCA chose "Sail Away". Had it been up to us, "That Is All" would have been our choice.

I'd love to share with you regarding Harry Nilsson, his life and his music. 
For more information email me at: Nilssonian(a)Yahoo.com or Twiiter @nilssonian