Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: “Is there nothing I can take?”

The selection of each week’s oldie can be inspired by a birthday, anniversary, death.

A trend, theme, or news story.

Current events? Kev, you’re not going there?

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Well, the creative juices were at work. Not flowing. Maybe trickling. After all, not too many hit songs about a pandemic. Correction. None.

For some odd reason a lightning bolt did hit.

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And there the message was. Harry Nillson.

In 1972 Nilsson was going to sing this week’s oldie using his, you know, regular voice. Producer Richard Perry had a different idea. He urged Nillson to use different voices for the characters in the song: the narrator, the sick girl, and the doctor.

“He played it for the first time on guitar and he sang it straight through with no changes at all,” said Perry. “I thought to myself, ‘This song has the potential to be like a little animated cartoon.’ There are at least three different characters. So I said, ‘Why don’t you try using different voices. He responded to that immediately and gave this marvelous theatrical performance that has made the song a classic.”

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Born with congenital heart problems, Nilsson died of heart failure in January of 1994. He was 52.

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