Wednesday, 20 June 2018

doctor, is there something i can take

Frequently I wake up with a song in my head—usually quite random and completely non-sequitur, and this day was no exception with the “Coconut Song” by Harry Edward Nilsson III (1941* - 1994†)—which to be honest I couldn’t name the singer-songwriter behind it until my curiosity was piqued.
Leading a tumultuous, colourful life and career that was tangentially associated with the Beatles and the Monkees, I did some cursory research and learned he was the son of impoverished Swedish circus performers in upstate New York and ran away at an early age to Los Angeles, demonstrating first an aptitude for computers and electronics before pursuing music. Living in Mayfair for almost the entire decade of the 1970s, his flat in Curzon Place was decorated by Ringo Starr’s design company ROR (Ringo or Robin [Cruikshank]) who sublet the place during an extended leave of absence to performer Cass Elliot (former member of the Mamas & the Papas) who died of heart-failure after a strenuous show at the London in 1974. Nilsson ultimately sold the apartment in 1978 to Pete Townshend when band-mate of The Who Keith Moon died of an overdose whilst staying there. Other songs of Nilsson’s include “Me and my Arrow” from The Point!, the theme and incidental music for The Courtship of Eddie’s Father and score for the 1980 film adaptation of Popeye. In any case, one could wake up to far worse musical accompaniment.