by Robert Wilkinson
June 15 is the birthday to two musical greats who made their mark in completely different areas, Harry and Waylon. Both made amazing music.
This year's tribute has enough videos that you should have a good time regardless of which you view and how long you hang with the show! These two talents were remarkable in their similarities and differences.
One's voice was beautiful, one's was deep and resonant. Both were rebels, and hung around with unique talents. Harry and St. John the Beatle were best friends in their hell-raising Los Angeles era, while Waylon and St. Willie were best friends in the "Outlaw Country" era.
Harry's voice was quite amazing, with a several octave range that allowed him to create some fairly eclectic interpretations of his own and others' songs. Waylon, on the other hand, had a great voice, but an even greater sound, with a deep driving bass beat keeping his songs steady as they whirled around him in a new form of country no one had ever done before.
Here’s Harry live in 1969, doing his huge hit from the "Midnight Cowboy" soundtrack, “Everybody’s Talkin’”Here’s a great live performance by Harry of the beautiful and haunting composition by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger, “Without You”
A great live performance of Harry doing Beatle songs! Here’s 8 minutes of Harry Nilsson Live At Beatlefest 84
One of my favorites! Here’s the original studio version from Nilsson Schmilsson of the rockin’ “Jump Into the Fire”
We’ll close this brief set of Harry’s most famous tunes with a very interesting video homage to Ernie Kovac’s “Nairobi Trio” performing Harry’s hit, “Lime in the Coconut”
And now for "Ole Waylon." While most know him as an Outlaw Country archetype, along with his good bud Willie Nelson, most don't know that he started his career in West Texas as a DJ and occasional bass player for Buddy Holly. One unique thing about Waylon is that he was one of the Crickets the night "the music died," when he wasn't on the Iowa plane crash that made immortals of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Richie Valens.
If you want to know more about the unique story of Waylon Jennings and Buddy Holly, please check out A Happy 75th Video Birthday to the Legendary Buddy Holly where there's a link toward the bottom of the story related by Tommy Allsup, Buddy's guitarist in 1958-59, of how a flip of a coin saved one life and ended another. It's all part of rock and roll history!
There a ton of videos out there of Willie and Waylon performing together, so check a few out when you go to any of these tunes, all of which he did with Willie at one point or another. But for now, here are some great performances of Waylon with his band, as well as the Highwaymen!
From “The Lost Outlaw Performance," “Luckenbach Texas”
Speaking of the Highwaymen, here are Waylon, Willie, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson doing “Good Hearted Woman”
I found a rare clip that’s 9 minutes of pure gold! Here are the 4 legendary Outlaw Country Musicians doing “Highwayman,” “Good Hearted Woman,” and “Dukes of Hazard (clipped).”
Here’s a full show of the Highwaymen performing live at their peak in 1990 at Nassau Coliseum. Great show!!
If you don’t want to sit through the entire concert, I’ll close this tribute with THE archetypal “Outlaw Country” anthem performed live by the 4 legends, “On the Road Again”
Happy RIP birthday, gentlemen. The world is a better place for the music you made while you were here. You sure got a lot of people singing and dancing. And that's a very good thang!
Copyright © 2012 Robert Wilkinson