Randy Newman is part of the Newman clan of musical geniuses.
The dynasty got its start with Randy’s uncle, Alfred, who at age ten began earning a living a a piano player. He became a fixture at 20th century Fox. He was nominated for an Oscar 45 times, and won nine times. His brother Lionel, Randy’s father, was nominated ten times. He won in 1970 for Hello, Dolly. Together, the Newman family has been nominated for an Oscar 70 times. Their story is here.
Randy has been nominated 17 times. He won twice: 2002, “If I Didn’t Have You,” Monsters, Inc, and 2011, “We Belong Together, Toy Story 3, original song. He was nominated for this in 1996, but he did not win. He even sang it.
It lost to “Colors of the Wind.” You remember “Colors of the Wind,” don’t you? It was from Pocahontas. It is the most politically correct movie theme in the last three decades – maybe even five. Get your barf bag out. The lyrics are here.
In contrast, Randy is famous for this politically incorrect gem from 1977: “Short People.”
Bizarre, you say? By 1977, that was his trademark. Here is a song he recorded in 1970.
To show his versatility, here is the original version. It is a country rock version. Backing him up was B-Bender guitar master, Clarence White. (For my assessment of White, go here.) It appears on the appropriately titled album, 12 Songs. It was Newman’s second studio album for Warner Brothers.
On that album was the song that made him famous. It was on Eric “The Animals” Burdon’s first solo album in 1966. In 1970, Three Dog Night made it famous. I like Newman’s version better. That’s because of Ry Cooder. And White.