Song of the day: Harry Nilsson – “You Can’t Do That”

Harry Nilsson once covered The Beatles‘ “You Can’t Do That“, and in doing so decided to get clever and chuck in references to other Beatles songs.

There have been a few attempts here and there on the Internets to list the songs Harry references, but no-one seems to have provided a conclusive list.

Well, permit me to introduce you to a conclusive list:

Harry Nilsson – “You Can’t Do That (1967)

In addition to the bongos from “You’re Going To Lose That Girl” playing throughout the song, there is (in order of appearance)…

0:01-0:06  – She’s A Woman
0:06-0:10  – I’m Down
0:11-0:14  – Drive My Car
0:25-0:29  – You’re Going To Lose That Girl
0:34-0:37  – Good Day Sunshine
0:37-0:41  – A Hard Day’s Night
0:43-0:47  – Rain
0:48-0:51  – I Want To Hold Your Hand
0:53-0:56  – You’re Going To Lose That Girl
1:02-1:05  – Good Day Sunshine
1:05-1:07  – And I Love Her
1:06-1:08  – Day Tripper
1:09-1:13  – Paperback Writer
1:16-1:19  – Baby It’s You” / “You Won’t See Me” / “Nowhere Man
1:25-1:28  – Baby It’s You” / “You Won’t See Me” / “Nowhere Man
1:35-1:40  – Do You Want To Know A Secret
1:39-1:43  – Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
1:55-2:00  – Yesterday
2:03-2:07  – She’s A Woman
2:05-2:09  – I’m Down
2:08-2:11  – Drive My Car
2:10-2:17  – Strawberry Fields Forever

By the way, I didn’t make this song a Musical coincidence because Harry’s “coincidences” were all deliberate.

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5 Responses to Song of the day: Harry Nilsson – “You Can’t Do That”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the efficient breakdown of You Can't Do That. Just purchased Son of Schmilsson last week. Coincidence? I think not.

  2. Thorsten says:

    I believe there is also a reference to “I’m Down” right at the beginning (0:05-0:10). Also, what are the trombones (?) playing at 0:54 and 1:45? Could be the main riff from “Day Tripper”, but I can’t tell with all the racket going on.

    • Peter says:

      I believe there is also a reference to “I’m Down” right at the beginning (0:05-0:10).

      Absolutely. And I can’t believe I missed it.

      Thanks for spotting that, Thorsten. I’ve added it.

      Also, what are the trombones (?) playing at 0:54 and 1:45? Could be the main riff from “Day Tripper”, but I can’t tell with all the racket going on.

      I can’t pick out any specific Beatles riff or melody from what the trombone and trumpet (in unison) are doing. It’s definitely not the riff from “Day Tripper”.

  3. Ashley says:

    Would you be able to tell me the specific references to “And I Love Her”, “Baby It’s You”, and “You Won’t See Me”?

    And am I hearing “I once had a girl” in the background as reference to “Norwegian Wood”? I’m doing a research paper on Nilsson and dissecting this song for part of it. This is a great resource, thank you!

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