The third single from his 1971 album, Nilsson Schmilsson, it reached #8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and it features three distinct characters (the narrator, the sister, and the doctor) all sung in different voices by Nilsson. The song is perhaps best remembered for its chorus lyric, "Put the lime in the coconut, and drink 'em both up." It has appeared in many films (including Practical Magic, in which it is proclaimed "a good song to get drunk to"; Wag the Dog; and the end credits of Reservoir Dogs), commercials (most famously for Coca-Cola with Lime), and in episodes of The Simpsons and ChalkZone. It was also used in a comedy skit on The Muppet Show, which featured Kermit the Frog in a hospital bed.
Cover versions of the song have been recorded by The Baha Men, The Muppets, Jimmy Buffett, Fred Schneider (produced by Richard Barone), Lazlo Bane, Sprung Monkey and, according to a Nilsson website, the Alice Cooper Band The song was also famously used in a 2006 ad campaign for Coca Cola, advertising their Diet Coke with Lime product.
Dannii Minogue recorded the song as a bonus track on her third album Girl. It was subsequently released on December 7, 1998 only in Australia as the fourth and final single from that album. It only charted at #62. The single featured the album track "Everybody Changes Underwater", the Japan-only bonus track "Someone New" and three special remixes of "Heaven Can Wait".