J.P. Woodbury reminded me that today is Harry Nilsson’s birthday, which got me searching for a video of one of my favorite, deep-cut Nilsson recordings, the stark and haunting “Campo de Encino”. It’s the second to last track on the Rhino reissue of Son of Schmilsson, and, much to my surprise, a Jimmy Webb composition. That makes sense, of course- the two were great friends. Webb’s remembrances of a few of Harry’s wilder antics (a qualifier that really says something) are the highlights of the bonus features on the Who Is Harry Nilsson and Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him? DVD. Nonetheless, it was a shock to me when I youtubed “harry nilsson campo de encino” and found only Jimmy Webb and Judy Collins videos. If the description of the Jimmy Webb video below can be believed (???), Webb wrote the song after Nilsson teased him for having never written anything funny. I know Webb and his song must have made Nilsson laugh, but the little part of me that really feels like I know Harry Nilsson would put a $100 on him getting a bigger laugh out of just how unfunny he managed to make Webb’s song.
And that’s why we miss him.