Flashback: Harry Nilsson’s ‘Without You’ Hits Number One
It was on yesterday’s date (February 19th, 1972) that Harry Nilsson scored a Number One hit with his version of ‘Without You’. The song was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of the group Badfinger, and was on their 1970 album ‘No Dice’.
A great song is a great song, but it was Nilsson’s four octave-plus range that made it so huge. Some of those notes just sound impossible. And the melancholy of the song and it’s lyrics were delivered masterfully by Nilsson. There is very little footage of him performing live. He died of a massive heart attack in January of 1994. Later that same year, Mariah Carey would again take the song to Number Three on the charts. Here’s a rare live appearance from Nilsson near the end of his life lip-synching the song. By this time his health was poor due to years of drug and alcohol abuse. His voice at this point wouldn’t have been in shape to actually handle the range of the song. But man, what a vocal when he was in his prime! Check out Nilsson on ‘Without You’: