Stefan Shepherd interviewed Recess Monkey's Drew Holloway recently about the late Harry Nilsson and his influence on the band's music.
I posted a response to his Zooglobble blog with a few sketchy memories and just wanted to flesh them out here, from the dark recesses of my mind.
In 1971, an animated special was produced called The Point, based on a musical concept from Harry Nilsson. In a nutshell, it's a fable about being different.
I missed the initial airing on NBC, but no matter. In 1972, my class and every other third-grade class was marched into the school auditorium and we watched The Point. I went home singing "Me and My Arrow," which later turned up in a commercial for the badly-manufactured car of the same name.
Years later, even with the sweep of the Internet, advent of iTunes, and the deviousness of Napster, I never thought about investigating the music of Harry Nilsson.
One day, we played an album (yes, a record) of TV themes for my son. After it was over, I started singing one of them, "Best Friend," the theme to The Courtship of Eddie's Father. As usual, my son asked his standard question, "Who sang that?" I did some research on Harry Nilsson and we began listening to his songs with some regularity.
Nilsson had the ability to sing about almost anything. Even a nonsense song like "Coconut," which would have pegged any other artist as a one-hit wonder. I was tremendously sad to have to tell my son (in a carefully worded remark) that he wasn't recording any new material.
You can hear Harry Nilsson's influence on a number of childrens artists, from Recess Monkey (Drew's remarks, which begat this post) to the audio/visual mastery of Gustafer Yellowgold. Even though Nilsson is no longer around, his songs and spirit survive, and I'll be looking for The Point this holiday season.