Memories of Harry Nilsson

Klaus Voormann Portrait © Jörg Steinmetz

Today would have been Harry Nilssons birthday. For me, he was – and is – one of the most talented, loving, good-natured humans in the world,

blessed with a warm-heartedness that could have heated a whole community.

Our first collaboration was in 1971, when I had the great joy of “plucking” the bass guitar on his LP ‘Nilsson Schmilsson’, followed by many sessions over the years. His hits – unforgettable.

There would be many stories to tell, started with our sessions in his studio or his home, over the shooting of the film ‘Popey’ in Malta, together with Robin Williams and Robert Altmann, in which I was not only  playing the bass but“forced” to act, up to his surprises, he organized for the whole crew of musicians. He loved organizing crazy things, such as engaging the inhabitants of a senior residence as a choir. Two buses of ‚Grey Panthers‘ were driven to he studio in ordert to record the song ‘I’d rather be dead than wet my bed‘.

A wonderful, bizarre and lovely bunch of people, throughout Harrys taste. When monitoring the recordings, one of the audio engineers asked: ‘What is this strange clicking?’.

We did not had any idea what kind of percussion instrument it was, but it was straight hitting the two beats. One of the seniors said in a very dry way: ‘Sounds like a wooden leg!’

The idea of an old man standing behind the microphone with his wooden leg, let us laugh to tears. Oh Harry, I miss you so!