Friends, although I have no doubt whatsoever that in my youth I had heard some of the popular songs of Harry Nilsson, while traveling in the car with my Father, the sad truth of the matter is I wouldn’t have realized it. In fact the first time I ever remember hearing the late and great singer and songwriter was thanks to the animated film adaptation for The Point!, the children’s album which marked the sixth studio album by Nilsson. The ABC Movie of the Week was produced by Murakami-Wolf Films (The Mouse and his Child, Puff the Magic Dragon) with narration and performances by Alan Thicke (Growing Pains) as well as Mike Lookinland (The Brady Bunch). When The Point (notice they took off the exclamation mark) was originally aired on February 2nd of 1971, I was far too young to have caught it, but thanks to it being rebroadcast throughout the ’80s I fell in love with the music of Harry Nilsson long before I was aware of the artist himself.
You will no doubt have noticed that the narrator in that clip was not Alan Thicke but Ringo Starr, that is because the legendary musician lent his voice to the role of narrator for the VHS and DVD releases for The Point. It is a delightful animated movie that we have watched after closing down the arcade on many a night in the past, if you have not had the pleasure of watching the film for yourself I cannot recommend it highly enough.
A little over a year after that animated film premiered, it turns out that Harry Nilsson took part in a special for the BBC entitled The Music of Nilsson, which was presented as one of the In Concert series. Recorded in ’71 but not released until New Year’s Day of 1972, the special allowed Nilsson to perform the likes of “Mr. Richland’s Favorite Song“, “One“, “Gotta Get Up“, and “Coconut” among others. Smarter folks than myself have correctly observed that for the taping of “Coconut“, Nilsson is quite obviously making a nod to the popular sketch comedy act The Nairobi Trio as featured on The Ernie Kovacs Show.
“Coconut” was one of ten songs featured on the 1971 studio album Nilsson Schmilsson, and marked the third single to be released for the LP the following year. The song managed to nab Billboard‘s #66 spot for the top songs released in ’72 and has gone on to be featured in the likes of Reservoir Dogs, The Addams Family, and Hey Arnold!: The Movie.