THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
1969-Number 23 single.
Best Bit-At 2.21. During a 1968 press conference the Beatles were asked what their favourite American group were, and they answered ‘Nilsson.’
The original version of ‘Everybody’s Talkin” was written, and first recorded by Fred Neil in 1966, for his self titled second studio Album. Evidently the song was the last recorded for the Album, with Neil anxious to wrap things up quickly so he could return home to Miami, Florida, the songs lyrics reflect Neil’s feelings at that time.Fred Neil was born on March 16th, 1936, in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, he died of cancer on July 7th, 2001, at the age of 65. Neil was one of the pioneers of ‘Folk Rock,’ and a major influence on the careers of such artists as Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, and Tim Buckley. Some of Neil’s early compositions were recorded by Buddy Holly, and Roy Orbison, most famously ‘Candy Man’ which he co-wrote with Beverly Ross, and was the ‘B’ side of Orbison’s 1961 Billboard Number 2 single ‘Crying.’ Fred Neil shunned the limelight, and had no interest in being a performer, and retired in 1971, only rarely making guest appearances in public.
Harry Edward Nilsson (see also best songs 39) was born on June 15th, 1941, in Brooklyn, New York, United States. He was born with congenital heart problems, and eventually suffered a heart attack in February 1993, he died of heart failure on January 15th, 1994, at the age of 52, Both of Nilsson’s songs featured in this countdown are both cover versions, though he was a critically acclaimed songwriter, and also a major influence on future artists in his own right. Nilsson was looking for a song to record for his second studio Album ‘Aerial Bandit’ from 1968, all the Album’s other 12 tracks are original compositions by Nilsson. The Album’s producer Rick Jarrard played Nilsson the Fred Neil song, and he decided to record it, adding strings, and vocal harmony. The song was released as a single in North America, but initially made little impact on the charts. It was the Beatles press officer Derek Taylor (1932-1997) who recommended the song for the ‘Midnight Cowboy’ film soundtrack to it’s director John Schlesinger (1926-2003) who used the track over the films opening titles. The song was re-issued and reached Number 6 on Billboard, and Number 1 in Canada, giving Nilsson his path to success.
‘Everybody’s Talkin” is probably about the way Fred Neil was feeling when he wrote the song, and in later years he did go and live that life he was singing about. The lyrics also sit well with the opening sequence of the Midnight Cowboy film.
‘I’m going where the sun keeps shining through the pouring rain, going where the weather suits my clothes. Banking off of the North East wind, sailing on a summer breeze, and skipping over the ocean like a stone.’