Thursday, November 18, 2010

That's my life's work, thanks for listening

Just saw the documentary on Harry Nilsson. Highly recommended.

At one point, songwriter Jimmy Webb describes a scene toward the end of Harry's life. The story just stuck with me. Maybe it will stick with you, too:

I remember one night, about a month before he died, we went out on the street, and we walked about half a block and there's Harry's car. We got in, and he said, "I just want you to listen to this with me." And he had two or three tapes, and he took 'em out, and he put 'em in the sound system, and we started listening to Harry's songs. And we must've listened for a couple hours. And he played one after the other. New ones, old ones, some that I had heard before, some I knew he had written and hadn't gotten recorded, some that he wanted to record, some that weren't finished, but they were all wry and tender and funny and vulnerable and sweet and sour at the same time. We got to the end and the last song played and the tape player clicked and it was silent in the car and he looked around and Santa Monica was quiet, just me and Harry in the car. And he said, "Well," he said, "that's my life's work." He said, "Thanks for listening." And that's the last time I saw him.

Is there really any point in trying to imagine a more touching, elegant, dignified way to go than that?


ChrisKelsey said...

Greatest. Closing. Line. Ever.

cinderkeys said...


Jeff said...

That they went to his car to listen to the tapes might be the best detail in the story... tho the closing is pretty awesome.