Randy Newman Biography

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Randy Newman on his career as songwriter: "I didn't make any calculated decision - 'Well, I'm good at this, so that's what I'll do.' Wasn't out of any great love for it, though. I was good at it. I never wanted to be a doctor, like my father, or a lawyer. Baseball player, I wanted to be..." As fate would have it, the majors passed him by - too much music in the blood.

Newman's uncles Lionel and Emil were composer/arrangers and a number of relatives worked in the music and movie business; even his physician father, Irving, wrote songs for a hobby (and had a Bing Crosby B-side credit for "Who Gave You The Roses" in 1959). But during Newman's childhood, all other influences were overshadowed by his "Uncle Al" - the reknowned (prior to the MAD mascot) Alfred Newman, who scored dozens of classic films (How The West Was Won, Airport, How Green Was My Valley), as well as the 20th Century Fox signature fanfare.

A respected, larger-than-life patriarch of the Newman clan, Al Newman likely had little idea that his nephew Randy would go on to marry the haunting orchestral arrangements he heard on the soundstages to his own unique vision of pop music. Randy himself had no idea: "What I do now didn't exist then..I figured I'd do pictures..."


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What Short People means to me | Reviewer: Linda Wilson | 5/25/2006

Short People was a hit when I was a senior in high school. At the time, I had a vague notion of what the song meant, but I didn't take it too seriously. Yesterday, I was watching Elie Wiesel, author of Night, on the Oprah show. It was gut-wrenching thinking of the millions of lives snuffed out just because of their religious beliefs. This morning, on my way to school (I'm an art teacher), I heard 'Short People' on the radio as the "novelty song of the day" on an oldies station. The full meaning of the song punched me in the gut hearing it again after so many years. It's ridiculous to hate ANYONE just because they're born to a different race, creed, religion, etc. other than one's own. The word "short" could be substituted with "black, fat, Chinese, Muslim"--whatever, and with a few minor lyric changes, it all boils down to bigotry. Thank you, Randy, for reminding everyone with your "silly" song how ignorant we are.

Linda K. Wilson

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