Campaign Hero (The Skip Weshner Show 1970 and The Smothers Brothers Summer Show 1970 Broadcast)
Here’s a nice curio from the Nilsson vaults. It’s been available before – but it’s on the streaming platforms now and gathered all in one place. This EP-length (just 17-minutes) collection of two different talk show/radio-broadcast appearances from 1970 shows several songs in embryonic form; shows Nilsson in full-charm as piano-bar balladeer; has all of the proof in less than 20 minutes that he was a songwriting and song-interpreting genius.
Opener, Old Forgotten Soldier, runs out of steam two minutes in and yet feels totally and utterly complete. Harry jokes that he’s run out of words.
Roses Are Blooming is even shorter, in just a minute Nilsson evokes old-time radio as a sorrowful ballad blooms thanks to the sincerity that drips from his voice.
He’s funny too, in the banter. Introducing Think About Your Troubles, he refers to it as a song from a movie that’s “about to be rejected” – before going on to play the life out of it. Like it’s the only song he’s ever made and the only song that ever matters. That’s how Nilsson was when on form.
He finishes by playing the fade-only of his mega-hit, One. In just 40 seconds he plays a sad refrain that you could hang onto forever. It’s a shame he couldn’t do the same.
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