Pussy Cats
Harry Nilsson Pussy Cats.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 19, 1974 (US)
August 30, 1974 (UK)
RecordedMarch–May 1974
Burbank Studios, Los Angeles, California; Record Plant, New York, New York
GenrePop, rock
Length37:08
LabelRCA Victor
ProducerJohn Lennon
Harry Nilsson chronology
Son of Dracula
(1974)
Pussy Cats
(1974)
Duit on Mon Dei
(1975)
Singles from Pussy Cats
  1. "Many Rivers to Cross" / "Don't Forget Me"
    Released: July 8, 1974 (US); September 13, 1974 (UK)
  2. "Subterranean Homesick Blues" / "Mucho Mungo/Mt. Elga"
    Released: October 1, 1974 (US)
  3. "Don't Forget Me" / "Loop de Loop"
    Released: December 9, 1974 (US)
  4. "Save the Last Dance For Me" / "All My Life"
    Released: January 31, 1975 (UK)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[1]
Christgau's Record GuideA–[2]
The Essential Rock Discography6/10[3]
Pitchfork7.8/10[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[5]

Pussy Cats is the tenth album by American singer Harry Nilsson, released by RCA Records in 1974. It was produced by John Lennon during his "Lost Weekend" period. The album title was inspired by the bad press Nilsson and Lennon were getting at the time for being drunk and rowdy in Los Angeles. They also included an inside joke on the cover – children's letter blocks "D" and "S" on either side of a rug under a table − to spell out "drugs under the table" as a rebus.

Recording and development

The album was started in Los Angeles, but Lennon ultimately finished producing it in New York,[6] where he could better control the sessions. During the recording sessions, Nilsson ruptured one of his vocal cords but chose to keep this from Lennon. He forced himself to push through the sessions, which caused even more damage, that some (including The Monkees' Micky Dolenz[7]) say he never quite recovered from. The vocal strain is most evident on "Old Forgotten Soldier" and "Loop de Loop," on the latter of which Nilsson's vocals are heavily masked by backing vocals.

The album's intended original title, Strange Pussies, was rejected by RCA Records and modified to Pussy Cats.[7] Among the many musicians on Pussy Cats are drummers Ringo Starr, Keith Moon and Jim Keltner, who all play together on the closing track, "Rock Around the Clock", using three separate drum kits. Other contributors include Jesse Ed Davis, Klaus Voormann, and Bobby Keys.

A quadrophonic version was released on record and eight-track tape. The songs were treated to special mixes for that issue of the album.

Half of the album's original ten tracks were covers while the rest were written by Nilsson (with Lennon co-writing "Mucho Mungo/Mt. Elga").

After the first night of recording, March 28, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder popped into the studio unexpectedly.[8] Bootleg recordings from the session were later released as the album A Toot and a Snore in '74. The incident is the only known instance of Lennon and McCartney recording together since the break-up of the Beatles.

Release

The album was released August 19, 1974 in the US and August 30, 1974 in the UK.

Longtime Beatles publicist Derek Taylor, who produced A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, wrote the liner notes for the original Pussy Cats pressing. In it, he referred to the album's notorious recording background and quipped, "Harry, and John [...] have been living a vampire turntable recently but have sucked no blood except each other's and not so much of that, [...] Anyway, the cross-transfusion works, so what the hell."[7]

The album got a lukewarm reception, peaking at #60 on the US Billboard album charts.[7] Nilsson's subsequent RCA releases would chart far lower.

Legacy

In June 1999, a commemorative 25th-anniversary edition of Pussy Cats was released.

In October 2006, a track-by-track cover of the album was released by indie rock band The Walkmen. Several covers of the song "Don't Forget Me" have appeared, including Marshall Crenshaw's treatment on the 1995 Nilsson tribute For the Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson, alt-country artist Neko Case's March 2009 version on her ANTI- label release, Middle Cyclone, and Mamie Minch's contribution to 2014's tribute to Nilsson by various indie artists This Is the Town: A Tribute to Nilsson, Vol. 1.

Track listing

All tracks composed by Harry Nilsson except where indicated.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Many Rivers to Cross"Jimmy Cliff4:56
2."Subterranean Homesick Blues"Bob Dylan3:17
3."Don't Forget Me"Harry Nilsson3:37
4."All My Life"Nilsson3:11
5."Old Forgotten Soldier"Nilsson4:14
6."Save the Last Dance for Me"Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman4:25
7."Mucho Mungo/Mt. Elga"John Lennon, Nilsson3:43
8."Loop de Loop" (featuring the Masked Alberts Kids Chorale)Ted Vann2:40
9."Black Sails"Nilsson3:15
10."Rock Around the Clock"Jimmy DeKnight, Max C. Freedman3:12
Bonus tracks (CD Reissue)
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
11."Down by the Sea"Nilsson5:37
12."The Flying Saucer Song"Nilsson6:30
13."Turn Out the Light"Nilsson2:32
14."Save the Last Dance for Me" (Alternate Version)Pomus, Shuman4:26

Charts

Chart (1974) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[9] 45
United States (Billboard 200) 60

Personnel

Production and technical personnel

See also

References

  1. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/r45660
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: N". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 8, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  3. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 758. ISBN 978-1-84195-827-9.
  4. ^ Greene, Jayson (August 30, 2020). "Harry Nilsson: Pussy Cats". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  5. ^ Randall, Mac; Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th edn). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. p. 586. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  6. ^ Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0.
  7. ^ a b c d Giles, Jeff (August 19, 2015). "When Harry Nilsson Teamed Up With John Lennon on Pussy Cats". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  8. ^ Keith Badman, The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After the Break-Up 1970–2001, Omnibus Press (London, 2001), pp. 121–22.
  9. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 218. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.