I've been intrigued by the Punch-Drunk Love soundtrack since the film's release in 2002. Not only is it a great movie but the entire soundtrack is seemingly based around Harry Nilsson's Popeye score, predominantly around the song "He Needs Me", sung by the inimitable Shelley Duvall. Discovering this was something of a revelation to me as I had only discovered Nilsson's music myself a few years previous to the film and absolutely fell in love with the albums he produced in the Sixties. Punch-Drunk Love director Paul Thomas Anderson is also a confessed Nilsson fanatic and, along with Jon Brion, has routinely re-worked his music for films including Magnolia.
I thought it would be interesting to combine elements of the Punch-Drunk Love soundtrack and some of my favourite Nilsson songs into something of a 'Megamix'. Using Nilsson's Aerial Pandemonium Ballet and The Beatles' Love album as influences, I thought it would be fun to present the songs and incidental music in a completely new way. The overall mood is quite maudlin but is really good to listen to when you're working on your own thing. The music has been mixed-down into glorious one-channel mono (because of limitations more than anything else).
It's nice to be able to play with these songs to create some sort of narrative and mood and I hope some of you may appreciate it! You can download this twenty-two song mix HERE
I've been pleasantly surpised by the number of people who've contacted me about this mix since it was featured on the For The Love Of Harry blog. I've almost been inundated with messages from Harry's family and friends and others who have told me how much they like this mix, which is such a great feeling!
I really do feel that Harry Nilsson's mid-Sixties albums were almost unrivaled in the pop world at that time. Pandemonium Shadow Show, Aerial Ballet, and Aerial Pandemonium Ballet are all great examples of Sixties pop music at its best. The writing, singing and ideas that feature in his mid-Sixties period are close to perfect in my opnion and I can easily spend months at a time listening to Nilsson alone! He's also one of few artists ever to cover The Beatles and make it worthwhile, even surpassing the originals in some cases.
These days he seems to be remembered as a drunk who got John Lennon into fights and for the hits "Everybody's Talkin'" and "Without You". There are many more sides to Nilsson, though, and the For The Love Of Harry blogspot is a definitive resource and a great place to dig further into his world.