Harry Nilsson wrote this delightful tribute to his “Good Old Desk“ in 1968. I hum his song when I greet my good old desk every morning. You will be tapping your toe and smiling while you listen. Oh, there aren’t images to go along with the music so minimize your screen and enjoy while you sit at your good old desk.
If you aren’t familiar with Harry’s name, I’m sure you know his other songs, like “Me and My Arrow” from The Point!, and “Everybody’s Talking” from Midnight Cowboy.” For you baby-boomers out there (like me), he also wrote The Monkees‘ hit “Cuddly Toy.” His catalog of hits is long.
My plan was to simply put up Harry’s song as a tribute to desks, but since I am a fan, I thought I should read up on him a bit. There are so many things I didn’t know and I had to share.
According to the Harry Nilsson Web Pages, “On the TV show “Playboy After Dark” a straight-faced Harry Nilsson told Hugh Hefner that the meaning of the song “Good Old Desk“ was in its initials – “GOD.” Years later Nilsson admitted, “I bullshitted him. I thought it was funny.”
Mr. Wiki P. Dia tells me Nilsson’s career was one of the few major pop-rock recording artists of his era to achieve commercial success without performing major public concerts.
Old Wiki continues with, “When John Lennon and Paul McCartney held a press conference in 1968 to announce the formation of Apple Corps, John was asked to name his favorite American artist. He replied, “Nilsson.” Paul was then asked to name his favorite American group. He replied, “Nilsson.””
Whoa. That is the kind of endorsement any person on the planet would die for.
Nilsson and John Lennon rekindled their friendship in l973 after John’s separation from Yoko Ono. Lennon wanted to produce Nilsson’s next album. However, their time together was devoted to drug use, rather than musical collaboration. They were ejected from the Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood for heckling the Smothers Brothers. (The Smothers Brothers? What’s to heckle about the Smothers Brothers? Please.)
Ex-Mamas and Papas singer Cass Elliot stayed at Nilsson’s London’s flat when she did a solo gig at the London Palladium. Following a performance, Elliot returned to the flat and died of heart failure in one of the bedrooms at the age of 32, in 1974. (I thought she choked on food.)
In 1978, The Who‘s drummer Keith Moon returned to the same room in Nilsson’s flat after a night out, and died at age 32 from an overdose of a prescription drug. (Yeah, right. “Prescription.”) Nilsson sold the flat to Moon’s bandmate Pete Townshend.
I was sad to learn from my research that Harry died in l994 of heart failure. He was 53-years-old. He abused his body, but nonetheless, he was gone too soon.
So without further ado, I give you “My Good Old Desk” with John, Paul, Mama Cass, et al’s blessing.
WARNING: The song will be stuck in your head all day.