Thursday, February 25, 2016

Harry Nilsson – "Jump Into the Fire" (1971)

You can climb a mountain
You can swim the sea
You can jump into the fire
But you'll never be free

I really don’t know why I bother with you people.    

No one has guessed what this year’s “29 Songs in 29 Days” have in common – even though I gave you clue after clue after clue.  

And even though all you would have had to do to get the answer was take six or seven of the songs’ titles and put them into a Google search.

Are you all so clueless that you never thought to do that?  Or is the problem apathy?

Maybe we’re dealing with cluelessness and apathy.

Scorsese and DeNiro
In any event, this year’s “29 Songs in 29 Days” all appear on the soundtracks of Martin Scorsese movies.  To be precise, they were taken from Martin Scorsese movies that starred either Robert DeNiro or Leonardo DiCaprio.

We’re talking classics like Mean Streets (“Be My Baby,” “Mickey’s Monkey”), Goodfellas (“Then He Kissed Me,” “Beyond the Sea,” “Sunshine of Your Love,’ “Layla”), Casino (“Working in the Coal Mine,” “I’ll Take You There,” “Boogaloo Down Broadway”), The Departed (“Baby Blue,” “Sail On, Sailor”), and Wolf of Wall Street (“Bang! Bang!,” “Never Say Never,” “Uncontrollable Urge”).

Scorsese and DiCaprio
If you’re a Scorsese fan, you know that he used a number of Rolling Stones songs in his movies.  I’m saving the best for last – the final four songs I’m featuring in this year’s “29 Songs in 29 Days” are Rolling Stones songs (including one that Scorsese used in not one . . . not two . . . but three of his movies).

“Jump Into the Fire” accompanies the astonishing “Last Day as a Wise Guy” sequence of Goodfellas – probably the best thing Scorsese ever did.  

Watch this video and you’ll fully appreciate just how remarkable that sequence is:

The late Harry Nilsson was one of a kind.  

His two biggest hits – “Everybody’s Talkin’” and “Without You” – were written by other songwriters, while the best-known song he ever wrote – “One” – became a hit for Three Dog Night.

Nilsson had a strange sense of humor, as songs like “Coconut” (“You put de lime in de coconut”) and “You’re Breakin’ My Heart” (“You’re breaking’ my heart, you’re tearing’ it apart, so f*ck you”) demonstrate.

Click here to view the trailer for a 2010 documentary about Nilsson.

I think “Jump Into the Fire” (which was released on 1971's Nilsson Schmilsson album) is the best track Nilsson ever recorded.  James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem seems to agree – “Jump Into the Fire” was the penultimate song that LCD Soundsystem performed at its farewell concert in 2011:

Here’s the album version of “Jump Into the Fire”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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