Harry Nilsson Song Catalog Acquired by BMG

Harry Nilsson Song Catalog Acquired by BMG

BMG announced Monday (Nov. 14).

The deal includes Nilsson’s publishing catalog and writer income streams for songs such as “One,” “Coconut,” “Jump Into the Fire,” and “Me and My Arrow”, as well as songs cowritten with John Lennon (“Mucho Mungo/Mt. Elga and “Old Dirt Road”, Danny Kortchmar (“Thursday) Here’s Why I Didn’t Go to Work Today”), Dr. John (“Daylight has Caught Me”), RingoStarr (“How Much Can Disco On?”). The deal also includes artist revenue streams for Nilsson’s recordings, as well as hits he didn’t create like “Everybody’s Talkin'”, and “Without You.”

Over his career, Nilsson released 18 studio albums, including his 1966 debut Spotlight on Nilsson, Harry, Nilsson Sings Newman, Nilsson Schilsson, A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, the Lennon-produced Pussy Cats, Knnillssonn and Flash Harry. The list also includes soundtracks for Skidoo, Son of Dracula and Popeye, as well as the posthumous album Losst and Found. Nilsson died of a heart attack in 1994 at age 52 while recording the latter album, which was finished and released 25 years later in 2019.

BMG will work with Nilsson’s family as part of the acquisition to explore creative opportunities. These include Nilsson’s story for The Point — the 1971 ABC TV special for which he also wrote the soundtrack — as well as his name, image and likeness, including for film, TV, stage and books.

Nilsson launched his music career in 1960s Los Angeles as a songwriter for groups including The Monkees and Three Dog Night. He broke through with his cover of Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin'” in 1969, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and netting him a Grammy for best contemporary vocal performance, male. He cemented his status as a left-field hitmaker with his seventh album, 1971’s Nilsson Schmilsson. That set was nominated for album of the year at the 1973 Grammys and ultimately was RIAA-certified gold on the strength of hit singles, including the No. 1 smash “Without You” (a cover of the song by Badfinger), “Jump Into the Fire” and “Coconut.” He followed that with the Gold-selling Son of Schmilsson the following year. The album’s biggest hit, “Spaceman”, peaked at No. 23 on the Hot 100.

Over the decades, Nilsson’s music has found new generations of fans thanks to placements in films and TV shows like Goodfellas (“Jump Into the Fire”), Reservoir Dogs (“Coconut”), Russian Doll (“Gotta Get Up”), Forrest Gump (“Everybody’s Talkin'”) and You’ve Got Mail (“The Puppy Song”).

The Nilsson family’s team was led by John Rudolph of 1. 618 Industries, Inc. (formerly Music Analytics) with counsel provided by Jason Karlov and Amanda Taber of Barnes & Thornburg.

“We are delighted that we have found a partner who shares our love and reverence Harry’s legacy,” stated the Nilsson family. “We look forward for a long relationship and working together to celebrate the true genius of pop music ,” said Nilsson family.

Thomas Scherer, BMG president of repertoire & marketing, Los Angeles and New York, added, “For generations, Harry Nilsson’s timeless music has captivated millions of people all around the world. We will continue to preserve his legacy as a brilliant songwriter and a unique voice. We are humbled that Harry Nilsson chose BMG to be his musical legacy custodians.

Other recent acquisitions by BMG include the publishing and/or recorded music catalogs of John Legend, Motley Crue, John Lee Hooker and ZZ Top.

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