Produced by Barbara Streisand's producer Richard Perry, 1971's NILSSON SCHMILSSON retains all of Harry Nilsson's wonderful songwriting and warm singing, but presents them in a decidedly rock-based setting. Nilsson's decision to combine his quirky, tongue-in-cheek Tin Pan Alley aesthetic with rock arrangements proved to be a successful one, and contributions from a stellar cast of British and American studio regulars didn't hurt either. The result was the artist's most focused, consistent, and accessible album. It also heralded Nilsson's commercial breakthrough.
From the opening notes of "Gotta Get Up," Nilsson is in complete control, fronting the proceedings with grace and ease. The album yielded a number of hits: "Coconut" (as in "put the lime in the coconut") and "Jump Into the Fire" were two, but his highest chart placement came with a song he didn't write, "Without You," a song penned by the English band Badfinger. (Those familiar with "Without You" but unfamiliar with Nilsson's other material may be surprised by what they find here). Witty and idiosyncratic, yet always defined by a consummate pop craftsmanship, NILSSON/SCHMILSSON is immensely pleasurable, and remains one of the artist's best recordings.
Rolling Stone (2/17/72, p.48) - "...the cutting edge of NILSSON SCHMILSSON is still Harry's singing. One gets the feeling that he could make something significant out of even the most banal or lackluster songs..."
Mojo (Publisher) (9/00, p.88) - "...His most successful album....sporadically excellent....represents a creative flowering that extended to several unissued classics..."
NME (Magazine) (9/23/00, p.35) - 6 out of 10 - "...[The album] spawned a massive hit with his cover of Badfinger's 'Without You'...as well as a clutch of decent rockers, even if it's a tad too zany."