Paul Harrington Sings One Of The Greatest Love SongHighlights from The Pat Kenny Show
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- 23 Feb 2021
Paul Harrington takes a look behind the lyrics behind one of the greatest love songs ever in today's 'The Lyrics The Thing'
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The part Kenny show on news talk with Marter private network during current restrictions. Don't ignore your health concerns. Our expert team is ready to help. But in 1973, Harry Nilsson received the Grammy for the best pop vocal performance for a song that really was the first of its kind in a musical genre, a genre that has now become known as the power ballad, an international hit for Nillson in the 70s and Mariah Carey in the 90s. It's the song without you, and it's the subject of the lyrics.
The Thing Today with Paul Ironton. Good morning, Paul.
Good morning, Pat. It's a song that started out as two different songs, a very extraordinary thing about this.
But as far as I can glean from the material that I had available to me, and it was a song written by members of a band called Badfinger. I don't know if you remember them.
They their first hit the first hit was written by Paul McCartney was if you want it, here it is. Come and get it. But to to Tom and Tom Evans, it would seem that they were writing about their respective relationship woes and they were both struggling to complete individual songs. And so they ultimately wound up joining their two songs together. And the result turned out to be without. You know, again, that's probably a bit of an oversimplification.
Pete Hamm, he wrote the verse, Tom Evans wrote the course. And as I say, it's true what they say a trouble shared is a trouble halved.
Now, it was recorded by Badfinger, went on their album. The last track, Almost an Afterthought, never became a hit until a Nillson Harry Nilsson happened to permit. But you say one of the best lines in it didn't actually go into the song. Explain.
Yeah, well, I think it's a great line and it kind of made its way, but I thought it was a great line when I when I read it, you know, whether it was intended for the song about I can't be sure what Pete. Again, the story goes. He was on his way out of an evening with his girlfriend and he lived in shared accommodation with his band mates, Tom Evans. And they were living in Golders Green at the time.
But he Tom Evans, by the way, he was the guy who had the other part of the song. Remember, this is after his girlfriend left him, he was visiting a friend and talking about how he couldn't live without her. And then, of course, he went on to write a song, his his his part of the song, I can't live if living is without you. I can't live. I can't give any more. Of course, this is typical of songwriters.
They never, never miss an opportunity to get a song out of misery. But but Pete, as I say, he was on his way out the door with his girlfriend when Tom asked and he said, look, do you want to do some work in the studio? They were in between tours and parties because there were big party guys at the time. And he said, look, not tonight. I promised my girlfriend Bev there being the decent sort she is.
And and she kind of knows the workings of the songwriter and afraid he might miss an opportunity, you know. So she said, look, listen, you go to the studio. I don't mind. She sat and he looked at it and he said, your mouth is smiling, but your eyes are sad. And that that's the line I really like.
But, you know, anyway, the song he went on to write that night was that he called it If It's Love and just had a verse that went well. I can't forget tomorrow when I think of all my sorrow, I had you there, but then I let you go. And now it's only fair that I should let you know. But then, of course, you went into this thing called love. If it's love, it's love, which you really wasn't happy with as a chorus.
But I'm not sure when the penny dropped. But it was the collaboration between the two boys when they when they put their heads together, whether it was accidental or not, or a happy mistake. But the two half finished songs, they fit together hand in glove.
Mm. No, that's a casual remark he made about. Yeah you're smiling but I can see in your eyes that you don't really mean it. You're not a happy girl.
But that became you always smile but in your eyes your sorrow shows. So that's the line that made it into the song. Now how did Harry Nilsson come across this song? Because people probably think that Harry Nilsson wrote it all exactly right.
I mean, he was again, you know, they're all living in similar circles and working together and showing up at the same parties. But he was he was at a party and and he thought he heard the song and he thought it was a Beatles song.
And anyway, when he found out it wasn't a Beatles song, he decided to cover it because he was getting ready to do. Is his Neilson Schmults an album now? He was a real close part of the Beatles. He was a bit of a hell raiser. He was John Lennon, you know, kind of sidekick of the great stories have been talked out of the Troubadour in Los Angeles and everything. But anyway, he was also Lennon and McCartney favourite singer and maybe, I don't know, maybe he would have felt a bit odd covering one of their songs.
Who knows? But the thing I would say is his three and a half octave range, his passion and the whole conviction in the delivery of these particular lyrics, I think is undoubtedly what sent the song into the stratosphere, you know, and he happened to be in the same building as Badfinger. It was a couple of studios in this building, and he had bumped into them and kind of were aware of them. But when he finished his version, they weren't aware that he was even covering the song and he brought.
A man to listen to the final next, and of course, they were completely blown away because like as a recording to this day and a performance, it's an absolute masterpiece. But however, no happy endings to this song. I mean, we all know Harry Nilsson when it went the wrong way with the with the drink and the drugs.
And he died very prematurely. And sadly, Badfinger did a terrible, bad run of mismanagement, royalty problems, financial problems, and they completely disintegrated and very sad. The two writers of With Tom and Tom Evans say they took their own lives in 1975 and 83, respectively. But there's a very good documentary, tells the whole story in far more detail than I'm saying now, if anyone wants to know more.
So now I say those who would be a good time to give you the winning lottery numbers for next week.
No hard say. Yeah.
Now, the point is Harry Nilsson, three and a half octave range. So this is a tough song. Are you ready to have a go?
I'm ever ready and never ready. I'll give it a whirl, you know. But anyway, I'll do my level best. Takes a minute.
OK, well on that note, in your own time, Bob, take it away. No, I can't forget you see all your faces, you're leaving, but I guess that's just the way the story goes. You always smile, but in your eyes, your sorrow should. Yes, it sure. Forget Mark. I think of all my staff when I had you there. No, it's only fair that I should let you know. What you should know.
I can't give any more.
Well, I can't get to see your face as you're leaving, but I guess that's just the way the story. Always smile, but in your eyes, your sorrow. Asong head for Harry Nilsson and then again for Mariah Carey, but written by two lads from Badfinger Without You, as performed there by Paul Harrington, great music last week with Tadzhik and now Harry Nilsson this week.
Please keep it up, says Kevin.
So well done once again to Paul Harrington for hitting the spot.