Randy Newman celebrates 68 years of life under the sun, and so we are celebrating his incredible career of comical songs and heart warming film scores. Join us as we take a look at the man behind both the satire and sweetness, Randy Newman.
Though born in LA, Randy Newman spent his early years growing up in New Orleans and then back in California, surrounded by uncles and cousins that were all well known film composers. With music in the family, its no wonder Newman began writing and recording his own songs at just 17, but with little success, he decided to focus on song writing and arranging music.
Many of Newman’s early successes were performed by the likes of Cilla Black and Gene Pitney and he also spent a few years in the 60s as part of the group Harpers Bizarre, helping them achieve a few top 40s, and maintaining a close relationship with them over the years.
In ’68, Newman released Randy Newman, his debut album which received critical success. Though it never even entered the top 200 albums, some of the industries most well known artists, from Dusty Springfield to Nina Simone, covered many of his hits, including I think it’s going to rain today, which became an early standard.
12 songs, Newman’s second album achieved similar notoriety, though it was Randy Newman Live that cemented his cult following and his first break into the Billboard Top 200 albums.
It was around this time that, as Newman produced more and more successful but equally controversial studio albums (just read a little bit about the drama surrounding his hit Short People), that Newman also began composing for films. While Newman has written music for everything from the musical Ragtime to ¡Three Amigos! starring Steve Martin, his work for Disney Pixar films is what has truly made him shy in all of the public’s eyes.
Every score for a Pixar film by Newman has earned at least an Academy Award nomination, and finally won an Oscar for the single If I didn’t have you written for Monster’s Inc. Newman also has written for television, and won an Emmy for the theme song to Monk, It’s a jungle out there.