Short People Songwriter Randy Newman Turns 71 Today

This article was last updated on May 27, 2022

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Intelligent, musical, and satirical Randy Newman is an enigma who created great music his own way

By Stephen Pate – Randy Newman is 71 today, born November 28, 1943 to modest parents but illustrious film composer uncles Alfred Newman and Lionel Newman.

Randy Newman has earned success composing film scores with 2 Academy Awards and 20 nominations. He won for 2011 Best Original Song “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 and 2002 Best Original Song “If I Didn’t Have You” from Monsters, Inc.

Randy Newman won Grammy’s for the music in Toy Story 3, Cars, Monsters Inc., Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life and The Natural. Odd how he has won so many awards for animated movies but that is Hollywood. He also has Emmy’s for Cop Rock and 2 for Monk.

Obviously film and video composing is his career but popular music, recording and performance are his passions that he carries out with singular independence. We always count on Randy Newman for something different, sardonic, sarcastic and witty.

Randy Newman’s greatest hit was Short People off the Little Criminals CD. My ex-wife hated this song: she was 5 foot nothing tall and didn’t see the humor.

Sail Away

A fantasy look at America as pitched by a slave trader to slaves coming from West Africa. The song sounds like a ballad until you listen to the lyrics.

I Love L.A.

Randy Newman is one part L.A. lifestyle critic and then a passionate local boy celebrating the joys of the West Coast.

This is one of my favourite songs demonstrating Newman’s ambivalence towards the luxury and grime of Los Angeles. The song plays both side of the fence, always rocking out.  

It was one of the first 5 CDV’s I bought with my laserdisc player in 1988 and the video glistens. I love the line “big nasty redhead by my side” – my wife is a redhead. She gets the joke. The video for the song portrays an inviting lifestyle while driving in a convertible with the redhead listening to The Beach Boys. Ah, the good life!

Randy Newman to collect

Other than Little Criminals ( Canada) , its hard to pick out one Randy Newman CD that’s head and shoulders above the rest. Here’s my short list:

I can never hear enough Randy Newman. Life may suck sometimes but Randy Newman remembers to put the humor back into life. We need that to survive.

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By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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