Harry Nilsson

COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘Everybody’s Talkin”

The song, “Everybody’s Talkin'”, was originally recorded by Fred Neil in 1966

Folk song, “Everybody’s Talkin'”, was written and recorded by Fred Neil (1936-2001) for his self-titled second studio album in 1966. The song was only a minor hit in America, but was picked up a year later by Harry Nilsson (1941-1994) for his album, “Aerial Ballet”. It is best known for being the opening tune from John Barry’s score to the 1969 film, ‘Midnight Cowboy’ and when released as a single, it topped the Canadian singles chart and peaked at No.6 in the US and No.23 in the UK.

Artists including Stevie Wonder, Liza Minnelli, Bill Withers, Julio Iglesias and Crowded House are among the many acts to have recorded versions of the song, but one that was released as a single came from British group, The Beautiful South, in 1994, the year of Nilsson’s death. Their version of “Everybody’s Talkin'” featured on their album, “Miaow” and was released as the second single in April that year, reaching No.12 on the UK singles chart, much higher than Nilsson’s version some 26 years earlier.

But which version is the best? NILSSON’s movie hit or THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH’s cover?