Thursday, November 28, 2013

November 28: Randy Newman,"Short People" is70-years-old today.

Randall Stuart "Randy" Newman, born in 1943 in Los Angeles, is known for satirical lyrics and for composing many film scores.

Randy lived in New Orleans as a child and spent summers there until he was 11 years old. He has three uncles, two cousins and a nephew  who have composed Hollywood film-scores.  Newman has been a professional songwriter since he was seventeen. He cites Ray Charles as his greatest influence growing up.

His first single as a performer was 1961's "Golden Gridiron Boy," released when he was eighteen. Newman focused on songwriting and arranging for the next several years. His early songs were recorded by Gene Pitney, Jerry Butler, Jackie DeShannon, The O'Jays and Irma Thomas, and many others. Three Dog Night scored a huge hit with his composition, "Mama Told Me Not to Come."

His work as a songwriter met with particular success in the UK: top 40 UK hits written by Newman included Cilla Black's 1965 hit, "I've Been Wrong Before," Gene Pitney's "Nobody Needs Your Love" and "Just One Smile" in 1966; and The Alan Price Set's "Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear" in 1967. Besides "Simon Smith," Price featured seven Randy Newman songs on his 1967 A Price On His Head album.

In the mid-1960s, Newman was briefly a member of the band The Tikis, who later became Harpers Bizarre, best known for their 1967 hit version of the Paul Simon composition "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)." Newman kept a close musical relationship with Harpers Bizarre, offering them some of his own compositions, including "Simon Smith" and "Happyland." The band recorded six Newman compositions between 1967–1969.

(Continued below CDs...)

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Since the 1980s, Newman has worked mostly as a film composer. His film scores include Ragtime, Awakenings, The Natural, Leatherheads, James and the Giant Peach, Meet the Parents, Seabiscuit and The Princess and the Frog. He has scored six Disney-Pixar films: Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Cars and Toy Story 3.

He has been awarded an Academy Award, three Emmys, four Grammy Awards, and the Governor's Award from the Recording Academy. Newman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2007, Newman was inducted as a Disney Legend.

Newman's lyrics are often ironic, sarcastic and iconoclastic.  For example, the 1972 song "Sail Away" is written as a slave trader's sales pitch to attract slaves. One of his biggest hits, "Short People," well, let's face it while cringe-worthy is also funny.

For more about Randy, visit his Website at -


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