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Everybody's Talkin' by Nilsson

Album: Aeriel BalletReleased: 1968Charted:
6
23
  • This was featured in Midnight Cowboy, a 1969 movie about a male prostitute in New York City starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight (Angelina Jolie's dad). Although it is the most memorable and popular song from the film, the film's actual title song is "Midnight Cowboy Theme," which is a haunting instrumental written by prolific song writer John Barry, who has done numerous soundtracks. You will recognize the theme by the lonely harmonica which serves as the main instrument. There are lyrics, though the song has rarely been recorded as a vocal.

    Midnight Cowboy is the only movie rated X or NC-17 to win an Oscar for Best Picture. (thanks, Bobby G - Boston, MA)
  • Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" was written for Midnight Cowboy, but this was used instead.
  • The folk singer Fred Neil wrote this song and released it on his 1967 self-titled album, which was the first one where he used electric instruments. Neil was a very influential singer who made a name for himself playing Greenwich Village clubs with people like John Sebastian, David Crosby, and Stephen Stills. He pretty much disappeared around 1971, resurfacing every now and then for various events. He had a small, but dedicated group of fans and looked like he was on his way to stardom, but apparently that was never his goal. Neil died in his Florida home in 2001.
  • This song won Nilsson the Grammy award for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Male.
  • Nilsson originally issued this song as a single in 1968, it was pulled, and released a year later when the movie came out.
  • Fred Neil released his version of the song as a single in 1968, but it didn't do very well. Shortly after Midnight Cowboy came out, Neil's version was re-released along with the album.
  • In the 1994 movie Forrest Gump, when Lt. Dan says, "I'm walking here!" to the cab that almost hits him, this song is playing in the background. It's a nod to a similar scene in Midnight Cowboy. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock on the TV series Star Trek, did a very interesting cover version for his 1970 album The New World Of Leonard Nimoy.
  • This was one of the first songs Phil Ramone engineered at the 7th Avenue studio in New York City that he purchased from Columbia Records. He would later record Billy Joel, Dionne Warwick, Paul Simon and many others there.
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Comments: 36

This was used in one of the episodes of Seinfeld.Phil - Neenah, Wi
Hey Joe (Grants Pass, OR).. I remember " The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" in the late sixties but not the particular episode in which Harry showed up as a lost Beachcomber; however, a bit of research showed me that that was Episode #26 and YouTube has that full episode available:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdgwrnXXqbI

So, your wish has been granted. :)
Jim - London, On
My mother used to play this song & "the Point" for me & my brothers & sister.It completely capitvated us.It wasn't until I was older that I saw "Midnight Cowboy",and the song was even more impactful given the context.Pure escapism.Michael - Santa Cruz, Ca
anyone remember " The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" in the late sixties ?? Harry showed up as a lost Beachcomber with nowhere to go, so Mrs. Muir ( Hope Lange ) , let him hang out -- then he starts playin ' .... sure would like to see that again !!!!Joe - Grants Pass, Or
Used in BoratJim - Hammond, In
Just saw Harry's documentary. What a beautiful man, life, and singer!Dan - El Paso, Tx
It was used in the movie Borat from 2006.. The guitar-laden intro sounds like Glen Campbells' 1967 "Gentle on my Mind" [but both facts are already known to everyone!Steve - Whittier, Ca
There was another popular movie within the last 10 years with this song in it. Sung by someone other that Harry Nilson. A very good version, but I can't remember the movie.Keneke Kimokeo - Honolulu, Hi
Neil Diamond does a decent version of this on his 1969 "Touching You, Touching Me" album.David - Youngstown, Oh
A beautiful song that every man can relate to at least one point in his life, and the finger picking in this song is amazing!Jeremy - Warren, Ri
Bobby G., you describe the true (instrumental) theme from "Midnight Cowboy" well (I've never heard lyrics sung to the tune). I was only 10 when the movie was released, but I remember radio stations would often use popular instrumental music to fill in a minute or half-minute of air time leading into the broadcast of the news at the top of every hour. Thus began my love of instrumental music, as I often heard snippets of this song during those wonderful, lazy childhood days. As for "Everybody's Talkin'", the banjo provides the perfect, continuous, melodious backdrop keeping you aware of the busy-ness of life, while the singer remains somewhat detached from all that is going on around him. I grew up in a large, sometimes dysfunctional family, and even at 10 years of age I could relate to this song!Camille - Toronto, Oh
Everytime I hear this song, I get a bittersweet feeling about all the suffering I've endured in my life.Dong Hwan - Seoul, Korea
"Everybody's Talkin'" is not actually the theme from the film, Midnight Cowboy. Although it is the most memorable and popular song from the film, the film's actual title song is "Midnight Cowboy Theme". It is a haunting instrumental written by prolific song writer John Barry who has done numerous soundtracks. You will recognize the song by the lonely, harmonica as the main voice (instrument). There are lyrics, though the song has rarely been recorded as a vocal.Bobby G - Boston, Ma
This is by far his greatest achievement but I would like to say he could sing about anything.He was the first pop/rock singer to release an album of jazz classics(schmilsson into the night'73)John - Jasper, Canada
I've always liked hearing Harry Nilsson. He was proof that a male singer's quality wasn't measurable by his volume or his (actual or imagined) testosterone level. It was a great choice for Midnight Cowboy. The instrumental theme from that film is my favorite.Musicmama - New York, Ny
I first heard of it when the Meat Puppets did it live in 1985!
Midnight Cowboy is a great movie.
Ckathy - Glasgow, Scotland
Oh, and the Beautiful South's version is the best because of the female singer.Vince - Denver, Co
Band called Moose does a nice cover on a compilation called Vinyl Kittens. I love this song.Vince - Denver, Co
i meant a grammy which he won in 1970.Jason - Dublin, Ireland
For my $.02, the Luna version is the best. I always liked the song but that version just hits it. Recorded on their last ever tour.Hal9000 - Bristol, Pa
ý heard this song from the movie 'midnight cowboy' and ý liked it very much...it is so impressive..that you feel yourself so good...this song is one of my best hits....

goodbye...
MUTLU KAAN DANIÞMAN
Mutlu Kaan Danýþman - Istanbul , Turkey
Actually, a general question - I am a jazz programmer - I write a 2 hour monthly jazz programme for an international airline (in-flight audio)and I often have difficulty finding publishing details of some tracks. Can you help or is there another website that can do this for me?Phil - Sydney, Australia
There is a nice version by Luna on Lunafied.Noah - New York, Ny
harry nilsson won an oscar for best vocal performance with this songJason - Dublin, Ireland
This is just a very beautiful song; last week they played "I guess the lord must be in New York
City" on the radio. I like Harry Nilsson's voice,
it's very sensitive and gives more value to the songs. Harry Nilsson, I miss you very much.
Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
What a great tribute to Fred Neil. Even though Harry didn't write "Everybody's Talkin'" he did make it a great hit like he did "Without You".
He wrote "I guess the lord must be in New York City" for Midnight Cowboy, but it was also denied by the director as "Lay Lady Lay" was.
HELLO! Why isn't Harry in the rock & roll hall of fame?
Gary Nilsson
Palatka Fl.
Gary - Palatka, Fl
Without You is my favorite Nilsson song but Everybodys Talking and Coconut were great too. They used the song Me And My Arrow to sell Plymouth Cars in the later 70s.Randy Lyken - Minneapolis, Mn
Harry Nillson was know as a great songwriter, but his 2 biggest hits "Everybody's Talkin'" and "Without You" were written by someone else. "Without You was written by Badfinger's Pete Ham. Also, "I guess The Lord Must Be In New York City" was resurected for the movie "Cinderella Liberty".Ken - Louisville, Ky
I just love this song as I do "Midnight Cowboy"...some of the very best popular culture has to offer. The instrumentation goes so perfect with the lyrics and with the theme of the movie. I'm not a critic so I'll hold any further critical comment, but for those who love this song, a similiar sound and lyrical composition can be found in Echo and the Bunnymen's "What are you going to do with your Life" (I think from album of same title-I'm a huge early Bunnymen fan but lost track in the late 80's...this album is at least late 90's). By the way, 'not suggesting that Ian McCulloch was thinking about 'talkin' when he wrote it-at all! Anyway...happy trails!Phillip O'brien - Detroit, Mi
"Nilsson originally issued as a single in 1968, it was pulled ...." isn't exactly true. It was released as a single from Nilsson's Aerial Ballet (not "Ariel Ballet") album, but didn't sell well. When Midnight Cowboy came out, the song was re-issued as a single.Roger Smith - Oviedo, Fl
This was also covered by Beautiful South, and its not a bad versionNick - Cambridge, England
Covered by Jimmy Buffett On tales from MargaretivilleDave - Pomeroy, Oh
For some reason this song and "Come Monday" always seemed like they were cut from the same cloth..Rich - Elkins, Wv
Everybody's Talkin is a great song, but Harry Nilsson did not write it. It was written and performed by Fred Neil (recorded on his album in 1966) before Harry Nilsson covered it in 1968.Greg - Indianapolis, In
The words and melody to the verses in David Gray's "Babylon" sounds a lot like thisChad - Orlando, Fl
Nilsson had a song he penned and recorded called "Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City" that he promoted for use in the film, but the producers said no thanks.Charles - Charlotte, Nc