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 Nilsson (June 15, 1941 – January 15, 1994) had a voice that 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’”
From the same soundtrack, a music video set to the studio version of “I Guess the Lord Must Be In New York City”
Here’s a great live performance by Harry of the beautiful and haunting composition by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger, “Without You”
Very live in the late 60s, Harry Nilsson on the Smothers Brothers Television Show
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”
Here’s the album that made Harry huge! For your enjoyment, from 1971, the entire studio album titled “The Point,” “the story about Oblio, the only round headed person in the Pointed Village, where by law everything and everyone had to have a point.”
Here’s the hit from “the Point,” the gentle Beatle-inspired (wasn’t everyone?) shuffle of “Me and My Arrow”
For a sense of this man’s incredible set of pipes, here’s the entire 52 minute album titled The Very Best of Nilsson Vol. 1
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 Waylon Jennings (June 15, 1937 – February 13, 2002) 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 77th 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!
Waylon was a hellraiser and bad boy when he was younger, an itinerant DJ who took up the bass and became a country music legend. Today I won't offer much from his early days, but here are three you don't want to miss!
Here's his first record, made with Buddy Holly and the legendary King Curtis in late 1958! Enjoy this version of the Cajun waltz "Jole Blon."
Here's his hit from 1967, "Just to Satisfy You," which Waylon said was a good example of what we learned from Buddy Holly and his time playing rockabilly.
We'll close these early tunes with one that was huge in Austin in the early 70s! Check out the groove in this live performance of "This Time."
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!
Here’s a live performance from 1975 on Soundstage of his first #1 hit, “This Time” followed by the classic sound of West Texas, a country rocker written by Waylon called “Rainy Day Woman” (no, not the Bob Dylan tune!)
A great score! Live at the Austin Opry House in 1975, I found 10 from his set that are classic Waylon! First, here’s Waylon giving us “The Taker” and “We Had It All”
From the same gig at the Opry House, his send-up to his drummer! “Me and Paul”
We now go into “Ain’t No God in Mexico” which we follow with “Let’s All Help the Cowboys” and “Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me.”
We’ll close with 4 more that are classic Waylon! “It’s Not Supposed to Be that Way” and “Slow Rollin’ Low” followed by “Lonesome On’ry and Mean” and we’ll close with “Ladies Love Outlaws”
Speaking of his time as a founder of “Outlaw Country Music,” 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 © 2014 Robert Wilkinson