For those of you who’ve never chanced upon it, here is the ‘live’ version of the album in five parts.
Nilsson was way ahead of his time. Rod Stewart recently made an album of classic popular music that went to number one and revived his career. Harry Nilsson understands this music SO MUCH BETTER and sings it SO MUCH BETTER than Rod Stewart that one can only come to that conclusion. Either that or the rest of the world doesn’t appreciate Nilsson as much as I do. Probably both I guess. Too bad. This album is better than all the “also rans” albums put together.
Arrangements by Gordon Jenkins add to the sublime character of the music. Jenkins arranged many of the greatest albums of this kind ever recorded, including top titles by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and perhaps most famously for us audiophiles, Nat King Cole (the Number One album Love Is the Thing and three others). (The original CD, by the way, is so bright and thin it will make your ears bleed. The new one may be better, but it’s doubtful. If you like Harry Nilsson and you don’t have a turntable, you are plain out of luck my friend.)
Derek Taylor, Producer
About two years ago [circa 1971], Harry and I were talking about songs, swapping titles, and testing memories. You know that game? Who wrote ‘Miss Otis’ and what year did Al Jolson die, and what else besides ‘As Time Goes By’ did Herman Hupfeld … write? We found a lot of marvelous songs with fine words. And what melodies! ‘You Made Me Love You (I Didn’t Want To Do It),’ ‘I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now.’ Brilliant stuff, constructed with style and flair.One day Harry suggested ‘Why don’t we do an album of the old songs?’ and it was the best idea I’d heard since God only knows when. ‘You produce and I’ll sing,’ he said. And two years later – it’s November 1972 – he says it again, and this time it’s on.
— Derek Taylor