Duke Special returns to Ireland in October with a special run of shows where he performs the songs of the inspiring American singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson.
Nilsson was described as the 'missing Beatle' and John Lennon named him as his favourite American "band". He achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic as a recording artist, song writer for hire and interpreter of other people's songs and was one of the few major pop-rock recording artists of his era to achieve significant commercial success without ever performing many major public concerts or regularly touring.
He was feted by, worked with or was friends with The Beatles, Phil Spector, The Monkees, Randy Newman, Glen Campbell, song-writer Jimmy Webb and many other stars of the day. Nilsson is best known for his hit singles Everybody's Talkin’ (1969), Without You (1971), and Coconut (1972). Nilsson also wrote the song One made famous by the rock band Three Dog Night.
He was awarded Grammys for two of his recordings; “Everybody’s Talkin’” won best male contemporary vocal in 1969, a prominent song in the film Midnight Cowboy and he won another Grammy for best male pop vocal in 1972 for "Without You." His music has been used in many films from Midnight Cowboy to Bridget Jones Diary to Reservoir Dogs and The Muppet Show to name but a few.
Duke explains why he was inspired to put this show together, "Harry Nilsson is an artist whose music has always been on the periphery of my world. He is someone who I'd known as a song-writer and piano player and I knew some of his better known material, but I was excited by the thought of exploring his music properly. I love the learning curve of delving into another artist's work and mining for hidden gems or forgotten treasures and finding myself absorbing and responding to all this music which is new to me or which echoes somewhere at the edges of my memory. As I immerse myself in his music and life, I'm sure I'll discover many of the ups and downs which had an impact on his song-writing and talent. For the most part however, I want the concerts to be a showcase of Nilsson's music and my hope is that the audience will hear many songs they are familiar with as well as being introduced to lesser known Nilsson. I'd love people to go away feeling satisfied, entertained and intrigued to go exploring Harry's work for themselves."
Duke will perform with a band, which will feature Paul Pilot (guitarist and producer on many Duke records) and hopefully some special guest singers, joining him for a night of celebration of inspirational song-writing.
Saturday 12 October Millennium Forum, Derry
Sunday 13 October Empire Music Hall, Belfast
Monday 14 October Roisin Dubh, Galway
Tuesday 15 October The Sugar Club, Dublin
Friday 18 October Cyprus Avenue, Cork
Saturday 19 October Kavanaghs, Portlaoise
Sunday 20 October Number 1, Mullingar