The Story of Harry Nilsson’s Only Live Performance of “Without You”

a close up of Harry Nilsson with a beard looking at the camera© Harry Nilsson photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

(via Pitchfork) by Gregory Leporati 

Ringo Starr knew something special was about to happen. It was September 4, 1992, and his All-Starr Band was joined on stage in Las Vegas by one of the most unlikeliest stars of them all: Harry Nilsson. “To be a member of this band you have to have had a hit some time this century,” Ringo joked to the Caesar’s Palace crowd. “And [Nilsson] had probably the biggest, most beautiful hit of the ’70s: ‘Without You.’”

Famously, Nilsson—the hard-drinking songwriter with the once-angelic voice, who had become friends with the Beatles throughout the ’70s and ’80s—never performed live. And despite virtually inventing the power ballad with his chart-topping 1971 rendition of Badfinger’s “Without You,” a song that simply begs to be belted out in concert, he had never sung it live until that night…

Read more: The Story of Harry Nilsson’s Only Live Performance of “Without You” (

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