Brooklynite You Should Know: Harry Nilsson

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    Everybody’s talkin’ bout him — but do any of them realize that he’s from Brooklyn? 

    The late singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson is best known for his late-1960s, early-’70s hits “Everybody’s Talkin’,” “Coconut” and “One” and the 1971 animated film The Point!. What is not remembered about the great musician is that he was born in Bed Stuy (although some sources on his life incorrectly refer to the area as Bushwick).

    Nilsson spent his first decade living in a top-floor apartment at 762 Jefferson Avenue, according to Atlas Obscura. The three-story building — a Romanesque Revival built in 1901 — is today in the heart of the transitioning neighborhood, just a block from French bistro L’Antagoniste and vegan eatery Toad Style.

    Nilsson, however, found it to be “a crummy place to grow up if you’re blonde and white,” according to one biographical blog. But the songwriter’s childhood difficulties also came from factors outside the neighborhood — as Nilsson’s father abandoned the family when Harry was just 3, and the family was quite poor.

    In the documentary Who Is Harry Nilsson? the musician returned to his Jefferson Avenue home as an adult, among much emotional strife.

    After spending a large portion of his life across the country in California, Nilsson died of heart failure in January 1994, at the age of 52.

    Harry Nilsson

    [Photos via Harry Nilsson’s website]

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