Monday, October 10, 2011

Lost Gem: "The Lottery Song" - Harry Nilsson (1972)

"If life is just a gamble...
gamble if you want to win."
--> Harry Nilsson <--

He was handed the ultimate stamp of approval any artist would cream their jeans to receive...complimentary long-distance phone calls from each one of The Beatles.

Harry Nilsson. The eclectic musical magi with a head full of moonage daydreams. John Lennon's..."favorite group".

Nilsson was like nobody else. He had spirograph vocals and lite-brite visions. But his fear of performing in front of crowds all but voided any chance for growing that much larger fan base he justly deserved.

Nilsson was Nilsson...and it's exactly these strange attributes that drew me in.

And it is especially rewarding for me when I discover any Nilsson song being utilized in a film...("Coconut" in "Reservoir Dogs" & "Jump Into The Fire" in "Goodfellas") quickly come to mind.

LOST GEM:--> "The Lottery Song"...a gentle McCartneyesque melody, instantly catchy and sweet...but, on closer listen, more sweetly...tongue-in-cheek. The big-time dreams of the small-time everyday man. (himself included). Perfect.

Have you heard this gem?

You could do the laundry
I'll come by on Monday
You give me the money
I will buy a ticket
On the local lottery
We could win the lottery
We could go to Vegas
And be very happy.
Ooh Loo...

I could be a plumber
We could wait till summer
We could save our money
Have a fine vacation
We could buy a trailer
If we bought a trailer
We could go to Vegas
And be very happy.

Ooh Loo...
If life is just a gamble,
Gamble if you want to win
Ooh Loo...
Life can be so easy
Let the wheel of fortune spin.

We could make a record
Sell a lot of copies
We could play Las Vegas
And be very happy

btw...go stream the terrific documentary... Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin About Him?)

Good stuff!
Casey Chambers


Jeff said...

Another excellent choice, sir. This one got into my head when I was 15.

I posted it on AM, Then FM a couple of years ago, after my dad crashed his car into the door at the convenience store. After everyone checked on him to make sure he was OK, he walked into the store and bought his lottery tickets.

Casey said...

Hey Jeff,
When ya gotta get a lottery ticket before the number-ball popper begins popping, ya drive your car into the convenience store door. Makes perfect sense!

That's a great memory and story to tell.
btw...was this song ever heard on the radio?

I just stumbled on it a few years ago when I found the record in my folks' LP stash.
Thanks for droppin' by!

whiteray said...

" . . . spirograph vocals and lite-brite visions . . ." Damn, Casey, I wish I had written that. As for Nilsson, a little of him goes a long way with me although there are several track I'll always love, with "I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City" and "Without You" among them. (I heard the latter today on the sound system in a drug store, and as my mother picked out a greeting card, I spent a few moments in 1972.)Nice post!

Casey said...

Whiteray...a little dab'll do ya. Yea, I think I understand.

When he's covering standards or interpreting other artists songs. (Randy Newman quickly comes to mind)...Nilsson's focus seems to stay on track.

When he is swinging his own is almost as if ADD takes over. And it can sometimes be unsettling to relax and let one's guard down.

At times, maybe small doses is best.

Still, for me, I kinda feel like I'm in on "the" joke?!
Harry Nilsson. What a cat to have known.
(btw...everyone should go check out Whiteray at --> <-- Right now!) Good stuff!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review. Truly a beautiful gem of a song. On first listen I didn't think much of it, but somehow it got caught in my head and kept bouncing around. The more it bounced around more memories and emotions seemed to get stuck to it, and the song grew and grew in meaning for me. It's hard for me to listen to it now (or even hum it) with out getting a little bit emotional. Harry Nilsson has such an amazing ability to write about some of the most small idea's but give them such life and meaning.

...Life can be so easy, let the wheel of fortune spin.