Deep Dive: Randy Newman
Today we celebrate the birthday of Randall Stuart Newman, but you can call him Randyâ¦or at least you can try. All things being equal, though, youâd probably get a far better response by addressing him as âMr. Newman.â He might not be the kind of guy to reply, âMr. Newman is my father, call me Randy,â but he is the kind of guy who might give you a withering stare and ask sarcastically, âOh, are we on a first-name basis already?â Better to play it safe.
To commemorate this momentous occasion, we thought weâd offer up a few suggestions for albums from Newmanâs considerable back catalog that you might have overlooked over the years, in case youâd like to spin something by this superior songwriter thatâs at least new to you.
- RANDY NEWMAN (1968): Itâs been said that Newmanâs self-titled debut album sold so poorly that Warner Brothers actually offered consumers the opportunity to trade in their copy for another item in the WB catalog. Weâd like to think that thereâs no truth to this tale, but if it wasnât apocryphal, then weâd hope that precious few folks took advantage of that opportunity, since any album that includes âI Think Itâs Going to Rain Todayâ is an album worth keeping.
- BORN AGAIN (1979): Coming as it did on the heels of LITTLE CRIMINALS, the album which housed Newmanâs biggest hit single, âShort People,â this LP ended up being heard by a lot fewer people than its predecessor, but thatâs what happens when even the man who recorded it described it as âa weird album full of peculiar songs.â That said, itâs also an album which has remained all too undiscovered over the years and is well worth revisitingâ¦or visiting for the first time! ELO fans will particularly enjoy â or maybe actively dislike â Newmanâs âtributeâ to the band.
- BAD LOVE (1999): At the time of its release, Newman hadnât released a proper studio album in more than a decade, instead preferring to focus on his burgeoning career writing movie and television scores and â perhaps for a change of pace â a musical (RANDY NEWMANâS FAUST). Although it wasnât a commercial blockbuster, BAD LOVE was critically acclaimed,
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