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Nilsson: The Life of a Singer-Songwriter Hardcover – July 18, 2013
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"Shipton... balances Nilsson's tragic story with exacting analysis of his talents and similarly detailed accounts of bacchanalian exploits with ex-Beatles and other bons vivants." --Rolling Stone
"An amazing tale." --Boston Globe
"Nilsson fans will appreciate this long awaited biography of an often neglected and underrated musician." --lBooklist
"An in-depth and informative book."
-Below the Fold
"Readers of this engrossing new biography will come away with a tremendous knowledge of and respect for the man and his music. And a great sense of loss, as this delightful fellow departed far too soon. " --Pop-Culture Classics
"The definitive work on the man who put the lime in the coconut."
"Nilsson: The life of a singer-songwriter, is a fitting epitaph that keeps an unmatched legacy alive. Nilsson's eclectic, eccentric, funny-as-hell, wistful, whimsical, childlike brilliance will be listened to by people 100 years from now. And Shipton's biography does its best to explain it all."
"Shipton, well noted as a researcher in jazz, has produced a very well-researched biography. Certainly more historical than analytical, the book is a fine read and an important addition to the literature because as emerging songwriters begin to explore songs written during a key period of songwriting, they will have no choice but to gravitate toward Nilsson." -T.R. Harrison, Jacksonville University, CHOICE
"Alyn Shipton's biography of singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson is a thorough, loving depiction of one of the era's most endearing and enigmatic characters."--Pacific Rim Review of Books
Top Customer Reviews
A great story, expertly told with extensive supporting notes and bibliography.
For me, what takes this book strongly into the 5 star realm is the detailed accounts revealing how the music was made.
Best case, you own the 17 CD RCA Albums collections (I don't) , worst case you hear the music on youtube & your personal collection (I did)
As I read the stories describing how the various albums came together, and a detail was mentioned about a specific track, vocal, technique, or instrument. I put the book down, and listened to the track on my phone via youtube or itunes. Songs that I have heard many times before surprised me with new life as I listened with new intent.
Most notably, this technique of keeping the music at my fingertips paid off when the book lays praise on Nilsson's voice. Cue up the song in question and realize, wow, he really was as good as all the recent press keeps saying he is/was. ( Examples "Perfect Day" or "All I think About Is You" )
An emotional read, recommended for anyone with the slightest interest in music, or biographies. Essential read for even the most casual fan of Harry Nilsson.
Nilsson was blessed with a keen mind, and there he was at the forefront of the computer revolution. He worked his way to the top at a bank where he specialized in computer systems, even though he didn't even have a high school diploma. Was even known to wash the windows at his job. And for quite a while, Harry hung onto this very position even though his songwriting career was taking off. His character's kind of nebulous and hard to pin down though, making it rather difficult for any biographer. Harry Nilsson lived below the radar, and the author emphasizes that he never played before a live audience.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Can't add much more to what has already been positively stated about this book. For most of us, Harry had disappeared by 1975. Read morePublished 2 months ago by D. Roth
Great book. Enjoyed learning about a true artist and a great man.Published 5 months ago by Jeffrey Stults
Half way through the book but am finding the stories interesting, both known and unknown to me. My synopsis of his life was that he was a haunted person with his father leaving... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Lester
I watched the movie about him, and I really wanted to know what happened to his family after he died. I hoped this book would tell me. Read morePublished 10 months ago by K. Pelletier
This is a very good biography on one of the most talented, yet largely either forgotten or misunderstood singer-songwriters this country ever produced. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Elio Lopez
An extremely detailed story of the life and music of Harry Nilsson. Having known Harry, albeit not that well, I could particularly relate to his time spent in London and I remember... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Alan Neville
There has always seemed something tragic about Harry Nilsson. Incredibly talented and frequently self-destructive, he produced some of the most memorable music of the 1970s but... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Christopher Hartley
I'm a fan of Harry Nilsson. I don't know much about the technical aspects of music, but I still enjoyed the book. Read morePublished 15 months ago by LLarsen