It's fair to say that Harry was probably my favourite of the many musicians I interviewed in my brief 'journalistic' career. He was certainly the most entertaining.
Back in 1978 I was a 'newbie' journalist working for a German musicians' magazine, similar to International Musician (but with much smaller cirulation). I'd been a long time fan of Harry's music (had all his albums etc etc) and was keenly interested to meet him personally. The interview had been arranged via one of those 'friend of a friend' situations. The initial contact at my end was an old colleague from my time as International Manager at Charisma Records, who seemed to know 'anyone who was anyone' in the music biz. The conduit in L.A., I seem to recall, was Don Reo, the TV writer and producer (M.A.S.H., Golden Girls etc) who was a close friend of Harry's. Anyway, I called Don on my arrival in California and he duly set up a meet at the famous Ambassador Hotel (sadly no longer in existence), where I often stayed on my frequent visits to LA-LA Land.
We met in the bar (where else!)...the one that was featured in "The Graduate". I thought it might be a good idea to wear my 'Whodunnit' T-shirt, with a knife dripping blood on it, (as Harry had recorded a song called "Who could have done it?") and he picked up on it right away, so it was a great 'ice-breaker'. Drinks were promptly ordered and the first thing he informed me (sotto voce) was that he had gotten laid on the roof of the hotel some years earlier! So, where do you go after that, I thought! Well, Harry didn't have a problem..., I switched on my tape recorder and just let it roll. We talked for an hour and a half (one story he related lasted about 20 minutes!) just rapping about his career, life, marriage (to his British wife, Una who, I believe he met at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, in London) and so on. All the while, the drinks kept flowing, with me trying hard to make it appear that I was matching him drink for drink (impossible, if I wanted the interview to be reasonably coherent!). It was just a great experience, like conversing with an old friend who happened to be a very talented guy as well as being a natural-born raconteur. His parting gift was the $1 check (pictured below) which I still have and which remains one of my fondest pieces of music memorabilia.
The disappointing thing is that the interview never did get published, partly because of its length and partly because the magazine's editor didn't think there was sufficient technical interest (instruments, recording, amps etc) for his readers. I wasn't too worried...for me it had been a 'blast'! A memory that I will long cherish.