Listen To Harry Nilsson’s Amazing Isolated Vocal Work on ‘Without You’
via Amplified - Music & Pop Culture Documentaries / YouTube
By the end of the ‘60s, Harry Nilsson had become one of the most successful solo artists in the music business. His range of work included exquisite balladry and experimental production, and his sought-after voice made him truly unique.
The release of Nilsson’s seventh studio album, Nilsson Schmilsson, in 1971 is often regarded as the pinnacle of his career. Classic tracks including “Jump into the Fire,” “Gotta Get Up,” and “Coconut” were featured on the album, but the album’s crowning achievement was a cover version of one of his other songs: Badfinger’s “Without You.”
Harry Nilsson, who was most well-known at the time for his hit “Everybody’s Talkin’” and for penning “One,” recorded by Three Dog Night, heard Badfinger’s rendition of “Without You” at a party and thought it was a Beatles song. When he discovered it wasn’t, he decided to record a cover version for his 1971 album. “Without You” was recorded by Badfinger, which was coincidentally signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records label.
There were rumors that Nilsson’s career was derailed in the late ‘70s because his voice had been permanently damaged by the song’s strained, explosive delivery, which followed the song’s release and dramatic chart performance. These assertions are untrue; Nilsson’s voice began to decline in the mid-1970s when he and John Lennon got into a drunken shouting match during the late Beatle’s infamous “Lost Weekend” in 1973–1975.
Still, no one could truly detest Nilsson’s vocals for “Without You.” In fact, here’s the isolated vocal of the singer for this classic track.