Friday, November 28, 2008
Today is Randy Newman's 65th birthday. Randy is an amazing singer-songwriter and has been for four decades. I did learn that he was once part of the group Harper's Bizarre who of course gave us all that great 1967 hit "Feeling Groovy". My favorite Newman song of all time is "You've Got A Friend In Me" that amazing little song from Disney's "Toy Story". You just don't get too much better than that song. Of course my second favorite of his authorship is the Academy Award winning song "If I Didn't Have You" from the Disney-Pixar hit "Monsters Inc". Randy's work as a film composer began in 1971, with his work on the Norman Lear satire Cold Turkey. He returned to film work with 1981's Ragtime, for which he was nominated for two Academy Awards. Something that I didn't know before was that Randy co-wrote the 1986 film ¡Three Amigos! with Steve Martin and Lorne Michaels. Not only that-- Randy wrote three songs for the film, and provided the voice for the hilarious singing bush. He also scored the first four Disney/Pixar feature films; Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, and Monsters, In. He also scored the 1996 film James and the Giant Peach and the 2006 Disney/Pixar film Cars. Some of his additional film scores include Avalon, Parenthood, Seabiscuit, Awakenings, The Paper, Overboard, Meet the Parents and its sequel, Meet the Fockers. His score for Pleasantville was an Academy Award nominee. He also wrote the songs for Turner's Cats Don't Dance. One of Newman's most iconic and recognizable works is the central theme to The Natural, a dramatic and Oscar-nominated score, which was described by at least one complimentary critic as "Coplandesque."Newman had the dubious distinction of receiving the most Oscar nominations (fifteen) without a single win. His streak was broken when he received the Oscar for "If I Didn't Have You", beating the likes of Enya and Paul McCartney. After receiving an enthusiastic standing ovation, a bemused but emotional Newman began his acceptance speech with "I don't want your pity!"Besides writing songs for films, he also writes songs for television series such as the Emmy-Award winning current theme song of Monk, "It's a Jungle out There".In October 2006 it was revealed that Randy Newman will be writing the music for an upcoming Walt Disney movie called The Princess and the Frog, which is scheduled for release in 2009. During the Walt Disney Company's annual shareholder meeting in March 2007, Randy Newman performed a new song written for the movie. He was accompanied by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. I spent a quiet Thanksgiving at home cooking for my writing partner John Nugent and my longtime companion John Long. I am very thankful to the many people who give to John Nugent and I their many talents without compensation. The first and foremost is Tim Doran. He's such an amazing person. There isn't very much that I wouldn't do for him. And of course there is Bill Lewis who has been right there for me always for twenty years and great singers like Brian Martin and Paul Horvanes and Karmyn Tyler. They give so very much all of the time. I spent a good portion of the day just calling these people and thanking them for always saying "yes" when I needed them. The only person I missed was dear Tony Westbrook in New York. I was so damn busy with that turkey (I hadn't cooked one in ages of yesterday) that I missed sending him his personal accolade. He is an amazing singer and a tremendous friend. I hope that everyone had a great holiday. And thank you all who have entered my life and given so much. It is also the first Thanksgiving weekend that I have not been in photographic retail in twelve years. It was very strange, but I will let God lead the way as to what comes necxt for me.