Music Consumption in the MP3 Era
Music Consumption in the MP3 Era

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Name: uao
Location: California

uao is also a contributor to Blogcritics.org, Rhapsody Radish. and FIQL.com.

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I grew up reading Robert Christgau, Village Voice, and Lester Bangs, Creem, Punk, various others.

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Note: the copyrighted audio material on this site is for listening only, and is not downloadable. It is provided as illustrations to the articles, and to interest people in the legal purchase of these artists' material. Any copyright holder who would like their material removed should contact me, and I'll remove it.

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Monday, March 28, 2005
 

Lime In The Coconut and the Coca Cola Ad

Just a quickie note on Harry Nilsson, the composer and singer you hear in the recent Coca Cola ad campaign.

Harry Nilsson: Coconut (1972)


For those who are unfamiliar with 2-time Grammy winner Nilsson, he was a true original and maverick. He was a hitmaker in the early 70's, popularizing songs by excellent under-appreciated songwriters; "Everybody's Talking" (Fred Neil) "Without You" (Pete Ham/Tom Evans), an entire album of Randy Newman songs. He was also an excellent singer/songwriter in his own right; a master of sardonic humor crafted to exquisitely intricate arrangements, borrowing ideas as far back as the 1920's, and singing them in what had once been an astonishingly sweet, expressive voice that hinted obliquely at a dark side. Originals like "I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City", "Me And My Arrow", "Spaceman", "Jump Into The Fire", and "Daybreak" all made the top-40, and were among the most adventurous songs you'd hear on AM radio. He recorded a concept album suitable for children, The Point. His own composition "One" was a top-10 hit for Three Dog Night. His "You're Breaking My Heart" ('so fuck you!') is the stuff of legend. Nilsson also wrote and sang the theme song to the TV series, The Courtship of Eddie's Father.

He first caught the attention of the Beatles in 1968 with an ingenious medley of interwoven fragments of Beatles songs, and was John Lennon's drinking buddy during Lennon's famed "lost weekend" period, when they gained notoriety for getting bombed and obnoxious around L.A. Together, they recorded a drunken, ravaged-sounding Nilsson album Pussy Cats, a cult item that careens from moments of pure genius to utter bathos and back again. He never really recovered from those days, but cut some other interesting music for his cult, including an album of pre-rock standards. He stopped recording in 1979, for the most part, after his RCA contract ran out, and ultimately died from a heart attack in 1994.

Harry Nilsson: Nilsson Sings Newman (1970)   Harry Nilsson: The Point (1970)   Harry Nilsson: Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)   Harry Nilsson: Pussy Cats (1974)


Quite possibly his greatest original hit, a moment of pure, crackpot genius, was his 1972 top-10 hit "Coconut":

Brother bought a coconut, he bought it for a dime
His sister had another one, she paid it for the lime
She put de lime in de coconut, drink 'em bot' togeder
she put de lime in de coconut, drink 'em bot' up.
She put de lime in de coconut, drink 'em bot' togeder
put de lime in de coconut, call de doctor woke him up, an' say

Doctor! Ain't der notin I can take, I say
Doctor! to relieve dis belly ache, I say
Doctor! ain't der notin I can take, I say
Doctor! To relieve my belly ache?

I put de lime in de coconut, drink 'em bot togeder,
put de lime in de coconut, I drink 'em bot' down,
I put de lime in de coconut, drink 'em bot' togeder,
put de lime in de coco nut, call de Doctor, woke him up an' say...



In the ad, Coca Cola uses the original recording:

Put de lime in de coconut, drink 'em bot' togeder

and superimpose the following lyrics as captions:

Put the lime in the Coke, you nut, and drink them both together