Harry Edward Nilsson III (born June 15, 1941–January 15, 1994) in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York. He was a Swedish American songwriter, singer, pianist, and guitarist who achieved the height of his fame during the 1960s and 1970s. For most of his recordings, he did not use his first name, and was credited only as Nilsson. His paternal grandparents were Swedish circus performers, especially known for their "aerial ballet" (which is the title of one of Nilsson's albums). His father, Harry Edward Nilsson, Jr., abandoned the family three years later.
Despite some significant critical and commercial successes, including two Grammy Awards and two Top 10 singles, Nilsson's tendency to make broad stylistic jumps from one record to the next – coupled with his generally iconoclastic decision-making – kept him from fully capitalizing on his career. Among Nilsson's best-known recordings are "Without You", "Jump into the Fire", "Everybody's Talkin'" (theme from the movie Midnight Cowboy) and "Coconut".
An autobiographical reference to this is found in the opening to Nilsson's song "1941": Pandemonium Shadow Show was followed in 1968 by Aerial Ballet, an album that included Nilsson's rendition of Fred Neil's song "Everybody's Talkin'". A minor US hit at the time of release (and a top 40 hit in Canada), the song would become extremely popular a year later when it was featured in the film Midnight Cowboy, and it would earn Nilsson his first Grammy Award. The song would also become Nilsson's first US top 10 hit, reaching #6, and his first Canadian #1.
Nilsson's next project was an animated film, The Point!, created with animation director Fred Wolf, and broadcast on ABC television on February 2, 1971, as an "ABC Movie of the Week." Nilsson's album of songs from The Point! Was well received, and it spawned a hit single, "Me and My Arrow."
Later that year, Nilsson went to England with producer Richard Perry to record what became the most successful album of his career. Nilsson Schmilsson yielded three very stylistically different hit singles. The first was a cover of Badfinger's song "Without You" (by Pete Ham and Tom Evans), featuring a highly emotional arrangement and soaring vocals to match, a performance that was rewarded with Nilsson's second Grammy Award. [wikipedia]