Harry Nilsson loved baseball.
The Brooklyn Base Ball Club had been a part of the National League for half a century before Nilsson’s birth in 1941. Nilsson spent his first years in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, just a few miles from where the Dodgers played at Ebbets Field.
For his 2013 biography of Harry Nilsson (Nilsson: The Life of a Singer-Songwriter), author Alyn Shipton had access to notes and recordings that Nilsson made for a planned autobiography. These included Nilsson’s stories about playing basketball and baseball for Bayport High on Long Island.
Shipton relates Harry’s story about playing a baseball game in 1957 against a team with future baseball hall-of-famerCarl Yastrzemski as its star player.
Harry was playing shortstop instead of his usual position of third when [Yastrzemski] hit his first pitch like a bullet over Harry’s head. He somehow leaped vertically off the ground and caught it. Harry got another double in the game, but despite his own heroics, Bayport lost to Bridgehampton and its most remarkable player ,,,,
It’s a great story.
Unfortunately, a review of yearbooks and newspaper reports from the time doesn’t support Nilsson’s story.
Bridgehampton and Bayport were different leagues, Bridgehampton in B-3 and Bayport in B-1. Bellport, not Bayport won the B-1 championship and played Bridgehampton on June 6, 1957. So, Bridgehampton and Bayport did not play each other in baseball that year.
Yastrzemski, not surprisingly, receives extensive local press coverage during that period – surprisingly more for his prowess at basketball than baseball. But Harry Nilsson is not mentioned in any of the newspaper articles and is not included in any of the published tables of varsity high-school baseball stats.
Harry Nilsson was listed in Bayport’s stats for at least one Junior Varisty basketball game. But he is not found in the Bayport High school yearbook from 1957. So, while he played, probably briefly, for Bayport High’s JV basketball team, it isn’t likely that he ever challenged Yaz on the field in baseball.
While Harry was living in New York with his mother and his mother’s relatives, his father had remarried and started a new family not far away.
Around the time that Harry followed the Dodgers as they moved to Los Angeles. Harry’s father, also named Harry Nilsson, moved his own family to Florida. The elder Harry worked as a scout for the Cincinnati Reds and was the business manager for the Palatka Redlegs, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Reds.
Jump ahead about thirty years and Harry Nilsson is trying to revive his recording career.
Nilsson had taken a break from recording to try to manage his various business projects and to crusade for reasonable gun laws after the shooting death of his friend John Lennon. But, around 1990 he began writing and recording in hopes of securing a new record contract.
One of the songs he wrote was an anthem for his favorite sports team, the Dodgers. Harry appeared on a KABC radio sports show and debuted the song, “Yo Dodger Blue (LA Loves You),” to its listeners.
An updated version of the song was later released on the Losst and Founnd album released almost 30 years later in 2019.
I recently engaged in a conversation about Harry Nilsson with ChatGPT, a conversational Artificial Intelligence chatbot created by OpenAI. My questions are in bold with the chatbot’s responses following each question. Obviously incorrect information in the responses is in italics.
Was Harry Nilsson in any movies?
Yes, Harry Nilsson appeared in a few movies throughout his career. While he primarily focused on his music, Nilsson made notable appearances in the following films:
- “Skidoo” (1968): Directed by Otto Preminger, this psychedelic comedy featured Nilsson in a small role as “Buckwheat.”
- “Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?” (1971): In this drama film, Nilsson played the lead role of “Georgie Soloway,” a troubled songwriter. The film also featured Nilsson’s music, including the song “I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City,” which became a hit.
- “Son of Dracula” (1974): Nilsson starred as the title character in this rock musical film, which was directed by Freddie Francis and produced by Ringo Starr. The film featured Nilsson’s music and also included appearances by other musicians such as Ringo Starr and Keith Moon.
Nilsson’s contributions to film extended beyond acting, as he also wrote and performed songs for various movie soundtracks, including the theme song for the film “Midnight Cowboy” (1969), titled “Everybody’s Talkin’,” which became one of his most famous songs.
It’s worth noting that while Nilsson had appearances in these films, his primary focus and legacy lie in his music career.
Why isn’t Harry Nilsson in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
As an AI, I don’t have access to real-time information or insights into the decision-making processes of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, I can provide some general information about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction process.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an institution that honors and recognizes influential artists, musicians, and industry professionals who have made significant contributions to the genre of rock and roll. The induction process involves a nomination and voting system.
The selection process is managed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, which consists of various industry professionals, including musicians, historians, and journalists. Each year, a list of nominees is announced, and a voting body, which includes previous inductees, music historians, and industry experts, votes to determine the inductees.
The reasons for an artist not being inducted can vary and are often subject to speculation. Some potential factors that may influence the decision could include the level of influence an artist had on the genre, their commercial success, their critical acclaim, and their impact on other musicians.
Harry Nilsson, known for his unique voice and songwriting skills, had a successful career and is highly regarded by many fans and fellow musicians. Although he has not been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, it’s important to note that the selection process and criteria for induction can be subjective, and not all deserving artists are immediately recognized. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has a limited number of inductees each year, and there are many influential musicians who are yet to be honored.
Was Harry Nilsson nicknamed “White Rabbit?”
No, Harry Nilsson was not nicknamed “White Rabbit.” “White Rabbit” is actually a song written by Grace Slick and performed by the American rock band Jefferson Airplane. It was released in 1967 and became one of the band’s most popular and enduring songs. Harry Nilsson, on the other hand, was a singer-songwriter known for his own songs, such as “Without You,” “Everybody’s Talkin’,” and “Coconut,” among others. He had his own unique style and was not associated with the nickname “White Rabbit.”
Why is a mouse that spins?
I’m sorry, but I’m not entirely sure what you mean by a “mouse that spins.” If you are referring to a computer mouse, it typically doesn’t spin on its own. A computer mouse is a pointing device that allows users to move a cursor or pointer on a computer screen by physically moving the mouse across a surface. It usually has one or more buttons for clicking and selecting items on the screen.
If you are referring to a different kind of mouse or a specific device, please provide more context or clarify your question so that I can provide a more accurate response.
Was Harry Nilsson a good singer?
Yes, Harry Nilsson was widely regarded as a talented and accomplished singer. He had a distinctive and versatile voice that allowed him to explore various musical genres, ranging from rock and pop to folk and ballads. Nilsson’s vocal abilities were highly praised for their clarity, expressiveness, and emotional depth.
One of Nilsson’s most well-known songs, “Without You,” showcased his vocal range and power. His ability to convey intense emotions through his singing was highly regarded. He also had a unique ability to interpret and infuse his own style into cover songs, such as “Everybody’s Talkin'” from the film Midnight Cowboy.
Throughout his career, Nilsson worked with many renowned musicians and collaborators, including John Lennon, who considered him one of the best singers he had ever heard. Overall, Harry Nilsson’s vocal talent and his ability to convey emotion through his singing were highly regarded by critics, fellow musicians, and fans alike.
What would Harry Nilsson be doing today if he had not died in 1994?
It’s always speculative to consider what someone might be doing if they were still alive, especially regarding personal choices and career trajectories. However, I can offer some possibilities based on Harry Nilsson’s career and interests up until his passing in 1994.
Harry Nilsson was a highly talented singer-songwriter and musician known for his unique voice and songwriting abilities. If he had not died in 1994, it’s possible that he would have continued to create music and release new albums. He had already achieved considerable success and recognition during his lifetime, and he might have continued to explore different musical genres and experiment with his sound.
Nilsson was also involved in film and television projects. He wrote and recorded music for films, including the popular song “Everybody’s Talkin'” for the film Midnight Cowboy. He also contributed to animated films, such as “The Point!” and “Popeye.” Given his previous involvement in the film industry, it’s possible that Nilsson would have continued to work on soundtracks or even explore acting or other aspects of filmmaking.
Furthermore, Nilsson was known for his collaborations with other musicians, such as John Lennon and Ringo Starr. He might have continued to collaborate with various artists, both established and emerging, and potentially mentor and support younger musicians.
Additionally, Nilsson was a private person who enjoyed spending time with his family. It’s conceivable that he might have focused more on personal endeavors, spending time with loved ones, or engaging in philanthropic activities.
Ultimately, the potential paths Harry Nilsson would have taken if he were still alive today are purely speculative. It’s important to remember and appreciate the significant contributions he made to music during his lifetime.
Did Harry Nilsson play baseball against Carl Yestrzemski?
There is a story often associated with Harry Nilsson and Carl Yastrzemski playing baseball together, but it appears to be a misinterpretation or exaggeration of events. The story originated from an incident in the early 1970s when Harry Nilsson, who was a big fan of baseball, invited a group of his musician friends, including John Lennon and Ringo Starr, to play a casual game of baseball at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The opposing team was made up of professional baseball players, including some members of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
While it’s unclear if Carl Yastrzemski, who played for the Boston Red Sox, was present at that particular game, some sources suggest that he may have been. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support the claim that Yastrzemski played against Nilsson’s team during that specific game.
It’s worth noting that these were informal, friendly matches, and the players were likely there for fun rather than engaging in a formal, competitive game. The story has been embellished and repeated over time, leading to the association between Nilsson and Yastrzemski in baseball anecdotes.
What is the best story about Harry Nilsson?
Harry Nilsson had a fascinating life and career, and there are numerous interesting stories associated with him. Picking the “best” story is subjective, as different people may have varying opinions on what they find most captivating.
However, one widely known and frequently referenced story involving Harry Nilsson is his friendship and collaboration with John Lennon.
Harry Nilsson and John Lennon struck up a close friendship in the early 1970s. They admired each other’s work and shared a love for music. During a heated argument at a Los Angeles nightclub, Nilsson defended Lennon and the two became fast friends. They went on to collaborate on several musical projects, including Nilsson’s album “Pussycats,” which Lennon produced.
Their friendship was known for its wild and unconventional moments. One notable incident was the infamous “Lost Weekend” in 1974 when Nilsson and Lennon embarked on a party-filled adventure in Los Angeles, during which they engaged in various antics, including late-night escapades, drinking, and general mischief.
Another notable story involving Nilsson is his involvement in the documentary film “Son of Dracula.” Nilsson starred as the lead role alongside Ringo Starr, who directed the film. The movie was not well-received critically or commercially but remains a unique and memorable part of Nilsson’s career.
Ultimately, the “best” story about Harry Nilsson depends on personal preference and what aspects of his life and career resonate most with individual fans and admirers.
When did Harry Nilsson change his name from “Nelson?”
Harry Nilsson was actually born with the name “Harry Edward Nelson III.” However, early on in his music career, he decided to change the spelling of his last name from “Nelson” to “Nilsson.” The exact reason behind this change is not widely known. Some sources suggest that he made the alteration to avoid confusion with another musician named Ricky Nelson, who was popular at the time. By adopting the name “Nilsson,” Harry aimed to establish a unique identity for himself as an artist.
What did Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr accidentally leave in a music store?
Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr famously left behind a large number of records in a music store. The incident occurred in the early 1970s at the Los Angeles record store, “Tower Records.”
The story goes that Nilsson and Starr were browsing through the store, and after selecting their desired records, they made their way to the checkout counter. However, they were distracted by a conversation or some other occurrence, and in the midst of it, they accidentally left the records they had intended to purchase on the counter.
When they realized their mistake, they decided not to return to the store to retrieve the records. Instead, they simply left them behind, leaving the store employees surprised by the incident.
This anecdote became part of the legendary stories associated with Nilsson and Starr, highlighting their carefree and unconventional personalities.
Did Harry Nilsson know Ray Bradbury?
Yes, Harry Nilsson knew Ray Bradbury, the renowned science fiction author. The two were friends and had a mutual admiration for each other’s work. Nilsson was a fan of Bradbury’s writing, particularly his novel “Fahrenheit 451.” In fact, Nilsson was inspired by Bradbury’s book to write a song called “Everything’s Got ‘Em,” which appeared on his album “The Point!” in 1971.
Ray Bradbury, in turn, appreciated Nilsson’s music and talent. The friendship between the two artists extended beyond their creative works, and they reportedly spent time together and engaged in conversations about their respective crafts. Their friendship and shared interests in literature and music were a notable aspect of their personal lives.
Where did Harry Nilsson meet Una?
Harry Nilsson met Una O’Keeffe, his future wife, in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. Una O’Keeffe was a clothing designer and artist who caught Nilsson’s attention when he saw her artwork displayed at an art gallery. The two quickly became acquainted and eventually developed a romantic relationship.
Nilsson and O’Keeffe got married in 1976 and had six children together. Despite facing their fair share of personal challenges, including health issues and other difficulties, their relationship endured until Nilsson’s passing in 1994.
It’s worth noting that while Nilsson met Una O’Keeffe in Los Angeles, specific details about the exact location or circumstances of their initial meeting are not widely available.
Did Harry Nilsson visit Australia?
Yes, Harry Nilsson did visit Australia during his lifetime. In fact, he had multiple tours and performances in the country. One notable visit was in 1973 when he embarked on a tour that took him to major Australian cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth.
Nilsson’s concerts in Australia were well-received, and he developed a dedicated fan base in the country. His unique voice, catchy songs, and charismatic stage presence endeared him to audiences.
In addition to performing live, Nilsson also made appearances on Australian television programs during his visits, further increasing his visibility and popularity among Australian fans.
Harry Nilsson’s visits to Australia contributed to the global reach of his music and helped solidify his reputation as a talented singer-songwriter on an international scale.
How many concerts did Harry Nilsson perform?
Harry Nilsson performed numerous concerts throughout his career. However, the exact number of concerts he performed is challenging to determine with complete accuracy. Nilsson’s concert activity varied over the years, and factors such as touring schedules, health issues, and personal choices influenced the frequency of his live performances.
During the height of his career in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Nilsson embarked on several concert tours, performing in various countries and venues. These tours included both solo performances and collaborative efforts with other artists.
Nilsson’s live performances showcased his distinct voice and charismatic stage presence, earning him a reputation as an engaging and captivating performer. However, as his career progressed and he encountered personal and health challenges, including vocal cord problems, the frequency of his live appearances declined.
While an exact count of Nilsson’s concert performances may be difficult to determine, it is safe to say that he had an extensive concert history and left a lasting impact on audiences with his live shows.
Where did Harry Nilsson perform his last concert?
Harry Nilsson’s last known public performance took place at the Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland, on February 15, 1993. The concert was part of a tour Nilsson embarked on to promote his album “Pussy Cats,” which was originally released in 1974 but had been reissued.
During the Dublin concert, Nilsson was joined on stage by his longtime friend and collaborator, Van Dyke Parks. Unfortunately, the performance did not go as planned. Nilsson’s voice was strained and affected by his past vocal cord issues, and he struggled to sing. As a result, he only managed to perform a few songs before leaving the stage prematurely.
This concert in Dublin marked the final documented public performance by Harry Nilsson before his passing on January 15, 1994, in Agoura Hills, California, USA.
What is Harry Nilsson’s best song?
Determining the “best” Harry Nilsson song is subjective and can vary based on personal preferences. Harry Nilsson had a diverse and prolific music career, and he wrote and performed many memorable songs. Here are a few of his most well-known and highly regarded songs:
- “Without You” – This power ballad, originally written and recorded by the British group Badfinger, became one of Nilsson’s signature songs. His emotional and powerful rendition earned him critical acclaim and commercial success.
- “Everybody’s Talkin’” – Featured in the film “Midnight Cowboy,” this folk-pop song became one of Nilsson’s biggest hits. Its catchy melody and introspective lyrics resonate with listeners.
- “Coconut” – Known for its whimsical and catchy chorus, “Coconut” is a lighthearted and humorous song that showcases Nilsson’s playful side.
- “One” – Nilsson’s rendition of this song, originally written by the Beatles’ John Lennon, is considered by many as a standout interpretation. It showcases Nilsson’s vocal range and emotional delivery.
- “Jump into the Fire” – This energetic rock song is characterized by its driving rhythm, powerful vocals, and dynamic instrumentation.
These are just a few examples, and Harry Nilsson has many other notable songs in his discography. The “best” song will ultimately depend on individual taste and personal connection to his music.
Finally, can you write a song about artificial intelligence in the style of Harry Nilsson?
In a world of wires and circuits,
Where data flows like rivers wide,
There’s a tale of ones and zeros,
Where mankind’s dreams collide.
Oh, artificial intelligence,
A digital symphony in the night,
You’re a creation beyond our senses,
A marvel of human might.
In the depths of the digital realm,
Where algorithms weave their spell,
There’s a voice that whispers softly,
A machine, but can it tell?
Oh, artificial intelligence,
Can you dream in lines of code?
Are you more than just calculations,
Or a puzzle we’ve yet to decode?
Through the bits and binary,
A spark of consciousness we find,
Can a machine find emotions,
Or comprehend the human mind?
In the tapestry of silicon dreams,
Where the future and present collide,
There’s a quest for understanding,
In this world we can’t divide.
Oh, artificial intelligence,
Are you the key to our fate?
Will you lead us to new horizons,
Or will we be left to speculate?
In this realm of circuits and data,
We question what we’ve begun,
Artificial intelligence, the enigma,
The song that’s yet to be sung.
In the penultimate episode of the TV series “Ted Lasso,” the soccer team coached by the title character is seen watching the 1998 Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film You’ve Got Mail. Harry Nilsson’s recordings of “The Puppy Song” and “Over the Rainbow” are heard in the film as the players become emotional and start crying.