Harry Nilsson's relatively short life was messy, complicated and not easily explained in a sentence or two. Likewise, his music was just as scattered, unfocused and undefinable.
It makes boxing up his career a tough and possibly futile task. Which is why, even at 17 discs, 'The RCA Albums Collection' can't really pinpoint the restless artist. Nothing can, really. But this massive set makes a valiant effort.
Back in 1987, at the dawn of the CD era, ZZ Top released a three-disc box set called ‘Six Pack’ that included the band’s first five albums plus their seventh. Still flush from the mega-success of 1983’s ‘Eliminator,’ and its 1985 follow-up ‘Afterburner,’ someone decided to take the original recordings from the ‘70s and remix them with added ‘80s-style percussion. It wasn’t long before every ZZ Top CD for sale came with the newly recorded mechanized drums that helped make ‘Eliminator’ a hit. One thing ‘Tres Hombres’ didn’t need was robotic percussion.
Back in 1976, when Paul McCartney & Wings’ live album ‘Wings Over America’ was released, the band was coming off a string of four No. 1 records. The triple-album set, culled from various concerts the group performed on their 1976 U.S. tour in support of ‘Wings at the Speed of Sound,’ soon became their fifth straight No. 1. (The last three-record LP to reach the top spot was by one of McCartney’s old bandmates: George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass.’)
Since 2002, Rod Stewart has released eight albums. Each and every one of them includes songs that were written before ‘Maggie May’ hit No. 1 in 1971. A lot of them, in fact, were written before the 68-year-old rock legend learned to walk. Five ‘Great American Songbook’ albums, a rock oldies collection, an R&B oldies collection and a Christmas album – that’s pretty much how Stewart has spent the past decade.