Aerial Ballet (1968) by Nilsson

Nilsson is just one of those guys I don’t get. I have listened to a few of his records now and every time my reaction is “This is what Nilsson sounds like?” You see, I am not really a fan of pop, and though this music is relatively adventurous – I stress the “relatively” as this really isn’t that adventurous – it’s certainly not life-altering in the way that, say, John Lennon made it seem in the odd interview. (Don’t listen to famous people about their tastes! Especially when they are touting their friends’ music.)

Nilsson’s music is too cutesy, too coy for my tastes. To the degree that he is clever, he is clever in such a coy way he at times reminds me of a cooler, hipper Van Dyke Parks circa this time. (Don’t get me wrong; Nilsson is a way more talented performer and singer than Parks.)

I just don’t find this music very interesting, and most of Nilsson’s songs aren’t good enough, to my ears, to get excited about.

The best song here, to my ears, is the Fred Neil song. (“One” is justly famous, too, but it’s not really my favourite thing here.) And Nilsson’s cover sounds utterly unlike literally every other song on here, making it feel like it was added for commercial purposes.

I just don’t get it. But it’s well made…


All tracks written by Harry Nilsson, except where noted.

  1. “Daddy’s Song” 2:19
  2. “Good Old Desk” 2:22
  3. “Don’t Leave Me” 2:18
  4. “Mr. Richland’s Favorite Song” 2:12
  5. “Little Cowboy” 1:22
  6. “Together” 2:08
  7. “Everybody’s Talkin'” Fred Neil 2:41
  8. “I Said Goodbye to Me” 2:13
  9. “Little Cowboy” 0:52
  10. “Mr. Tinker” 2:41
  11. “One” 2:50
  12. “The Wailing of the Willow” Harry Nilsson, Ian Freebairn-Smith 1:57
  13. “Bath” 1:44
  • Harry Nilsson: vocals, writer
  • Al Casey: guitar
  • Dennis Budimir: guitar
  • Jim Gordon: drums
  • Larry Knechtel: bass, piano
  • Lyle Ritz: bass
  • Mike Melvoin: harpsichord, piano, organ
  • Milt Holland: bells, mallets, tabla, timpani
  • John Lowe: woodwind
  • John Rotella: woodwind
  • Jim Horn: flute
  • Bob Hardaway: saxophone
  • Plas Johnson: saxophone
  • George Roberts: horn
  • Anthony Terran: flugelhorn, trumpet
  • Carroll Lewis: trumpet
  • Ollie Mitchell: trumpet
  • Dick Hyde: trombone
  • Richard Nash: trombone
  • Robert Ehevoldsen: trombone
  • Robert Knight: trombone
  • David Duke: French horn, tuba
  • Alfred Lustgarten: violin
  • Arnold Belnick: violin
  • Charlotte Soy: violin
  • Darrel Terwilliger: violin
  • James Getzoff: violin
  • Jerome Reisler: violin
  • Leonard Atkins: violin
  • Leonard Malarsky: violin
  • Tibor Zelig: violin
  • Wilbert Nuttycombe: violin
  • William Weiss: violin
  • Jacqueline Lustgarten: cello
  • Jesse Ehrlich: cello
  • Ray Kelley: cello
  • George Tipton: arranger

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