Saturday, November 28, 2009

In defense of Randy Newman

His satirical songs are often taken the wrong way -- isn't that what satire is all about?

But Randy Newman can write lyrics and songs and musical scores. Did you know he set an Academy Award record for 15 nominations without a win? And then he finally got an Oscar, in 2001 for a song from Monsters Inc., and he began his acceptance speech with: "I don't want your pity!"

And he probably didn't. But let's shower a little on him today, along with kudos, because today Randy Newman hits the big sixty-six.

As a performing artist -- where many of us would notice his work -- he never gained widespsread popularity. A sardonic voice at a piano has never been a proven formula for creating mass appeal. But some of his music is grand. It didn't seem that "Louisiana 1927" got discovered until Hurricane Katrina struck, but it had been around since 1974. "Burn On" didn't catch fire until it became the perfect hook for the movie Major League.

"Short People", well, he's right. They got no reason to live.

"In Defense of Our Country," which closes with the following verse, proves that Randy Newman can still bring it:

The end of an empire is messy at best
And this empire is ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free

Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.


  1. Randy Newman needs no defense.

    He has a song on "Dusty in Memphis."

  2. Actually, he has two songs on that album, "I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore" and "Just One Smile."