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“I sang my balls off for you baby.” Harry Nilsson’s bold proclamation on the opening cut of Son of Schmilsson immediately makes it evident the singer had no intention to repeat the approach of his commercial breakout, the preceding Nilsson Schmilsson—and harbored no desire to hold back on any front or advance any traditional notion of a career. The madcap album goes all out, delivering a wild ride infused with horror-movie effects, crass jokes, then-shocking profanity, snoring, and even a belch—strangeness that belies the fact it went gold and landed a Top 40 single in the form of “Spaceman.” Hindsight further shows the gonzo work endures as a stroke of defiant genius, ego-grounding facetiousness, and raucous fun—all the way down to the iconic artwork depicting Nilsson as a vampire. Encompassing rock, torch, country, pop, blues, and old-world European-styled sing-a-longs, the music serves a singer-songwriter whose multifaceted aims, daring versatility, inimitable personality, and unique vision reach epic proportions on the 1972 set.
Mastered from the original analog master tapes, Mobile Fidelity’s numbered-edition 180g 45RPM vinyl 2LP set of Son of Schmilsson play with full- range dynamics and astute clarity. Working with producer Richard Perry and at London’s Trident Studios for the second time—and collaborating with guests such as George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Peter Frampton as well as choirs and orchestras—the singer captures a natural sound marked by lively tonalities, generous air, and stellar presence. All these aspects come to the fore with unprecedented degrees on these first-ever audiophile reissues of Nilsson’s most controversial (and self-sabotaging) turn. The versatile array of instruments have room to breathe, while notes emerge with palpable immediacy and fade with realistic decay. And Nilsson’s elastic voice projects with you-are-there resolution and transparency. Make no mistake: You’ll hear exactly why this unique album continues to spark debate and remains a fan favorite.