Thursday, April 9, 2020

Alone: One

purchase [Nilsson Schmilsson ]

I'm old enough that I remember when this was a hit ("before your mother was born..."?). I for one always assumed it was a Three Dog Night original. Even as I checked to be sure there was copy I could post together with my remarks this week. I noted that there were other versions (perhaps with a slightly different title, but the same lyrics), including one from Harry Nilsson. Cool. I have already had a bit of an uninformed soft spot for Nilsson. I mean "Coconut" and "Everybody's Talkin", c'mon.

To me, about as well-known as Three Dog Night's "Shambala" and "One is the Loneliest Number". I'll use the Nilsson version as an extra for this post.

Fact is, there are many. Versions, that is.

I've said it before: this is where I get off doing this. Most weeks I end up a little wiser than I was.
As you either already knew or have gleaned from my trajectory, in the process of digging (in this case merely scratching the surface) I realized that Three Dog Night didn't write the song.

Fact is, there are many. Versions, that is.The Wiki notes that Al Kooper came out with a version in '69. Musicians on that - his first - include a handful of musicians I have previously brought up here: Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi among others.

As to the premise of the song - the assumption that 1 is lonely - it seems to me that the issue is more a state of mind. 1 is how you meditate. Alone in tune with yourself and with the rest of whatever is out there. 1 is lonely when you feel the need for more than 1, but that is definitely not always the case. "Give me a break", "Leave me alone" ... Nilsson says as much:
Two can be as bad as one
One is the number divided by two
[say what?]

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