But we would stay away from crowds, with signs that say “No Dogs Allowed”

I discovered “Harry” back in the ‘70s, at Cheapo Records in Cambridge’s Central Square; amazingly still there; although I remember it as being under the ‘W’ of the long-gone neighboring Woolworth’s. Anyway, with its odd blend of ballads, nostalgia and Tin Pan Alley numbers “Harry” was a favourite album in college, its cover featuring a schoolboy portrait of Harry Nilsson himself.  If I were ever to put out an album, that’s what I’d do.

Released in 1969 it was Nilsson’s first LP to land on the charts, reaching Number 120 and remaining there for 15 weeks, its best known original hit being “I Guess the Lord Must be in New York City”. Then there was this one.

Written by Nilsson at Paul McCartney’s request, “The Puppy Song” was first recorded by Mary Hopkin (perhaps you remember her hit, “Those Were the Days”), who became McCartney’s protégé after the model Twiggy (remember Twiggy?) saw her on ITV’s Opportunity Knocks and gave him a call.  Hopkin’s version of the song was featured on her debut album, “Postcard” which was released a few months prior to Nilsson’s “Harry”.

Through the years there have been other covers, including one by the amazing Astrud Gilberto (perhaps you remember her hit, “The Girl From Ipanema”). But for me this silly song has been something to sing to myself, Harry’s way, when things are at their worse…dubiously trying to reach some of the notes he himself managed to hit.

Years ago I well remember being stuck in the desert, forced to hitchhike late at night. I was exhausted, yearning to get the hell out of there and wondering, once again, how I managed to get myself in such a situation in the first place.  Nothing had come along for hours and the prospects of any form of salvation seemed pretty dim. So I resorted to singing this song as blithely as I could.

Eventually a work crew in a beat-up, old truck came along and slowed down just long enough for me to hop into the cargo bed for the long lift into the next town… Thank you Harry.

 LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Monday 3 December

The Puppy Song

Dreams are nothing more than wishes

And a wish is just a dream you wish to come true

If only I could have a puppy

I’d call myself so very lucky

Just to have some company

To share a cup of tea with me

I’d take my puppy everywhere

La la la la I wouldn’t care

But we would stay away from crowds

With signs that say no dogs allowed

Oh we… I know he’d never bite me

We… I know he’d never bite me

 If only I could have a friend

Who’d stick with me until the end

And walk along beside the sea

To share a bit of moon with me

I’d take my friend most everywhere

La la la la I wouldn’t care

But we would stay away from crowds

With signs that say no friends allowed

Oh we…we’d be so happy to be…

We…we’d be so happy to be together

 But dreams are nothing more than wishes

And a wish is just a dream you wish to come true

Dreams are nothing more than wishes

(Your wish will come true)

And a wish’s just a dream

(Your wish will come true)

You wish to come true

(Your wish will come true)

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