I saw an article about a unique concept album from Harry Nilsson called The Point! which was turning 50 years old. It was released in 1970. I'd never heard of it, but its release preceded my arrival on the planet by more than ten years. Still, it sounded odd and interesting, so I found it on iTunes and gave it a listen or ten. I love it.
It's sort of a mini-musical with both songs and narration, telling a simple but poignant story about a boy who suffers prejudice. It's offbeat, calm, and dare I say soothing in execution. It gives you pause to think about behavior, and comes to a satisfying resolution of improvement in the society of the story. The album is also simply beautifully sung and spoken, and the music is easy on the ears. On top of all this, it's full of well thought out word-play. I'd also say it has stood the test of time very well and is easily relatable to the world today. (Maybe anti-prejudice never goes out of style.)
I was familiar with Harry Nilsson, if for no other reason than his singing the main song from Midnight Cowboy (1969), Everybody's Talkin'. However, I'd not heard of this work. I'm so glad I came across it. If you don't know The Point!, give it a listen!
PS I've also found that an animated version came out in 1971 and that Dustin Hoffman lent his voice as the narrator for the first broadcast, and Ringo Starr later narrated the video release. I'm going to have to get my hands on a copy. Odd, Nilsson sings Everybody's Talkin' for Midnight Cowboy in '69, which starred Dustin Hoffman in his iconic Ratso role. Nilsson released The Point! album in '70, after which Hoffman narrates the animated version of The Point! in '71. I wonder if there is a story behind that? We may never know.
PPS It seems to me, The Point! is ripe for Broadway adaptation. 1. It is already full of great songs. 2. It could be staged with both Ringo and Dustin Hoffman filling roles. 3. Nilsson has a vast inventory of songs with which the soundtrack could be reinforced if needed. 4. It could be visually fascinating with all these pointed sets. 5. It would be poignant to explore the current climate of prejudice with a bit of an update. - Who do I call to get this plan in motion?