“Can we please stop with Randy Newman already? He sucks and he has had zero impact on the music industry aside from insulting short people and making sucky songs for movies, which people forget about as soon as the film is out of the theaters. Stop trotting out flippin’ sucky Randy Newman.”
I read this in an email and nearly flung my iPad across the room. The ignoramus who wrote it was referring to Newman’s Oscar win for Best Original Song in a Film. She is also a music industry veteran. She also is the originator of a networking group for women in entertainment in the LA area that has over 1,000 members. I am one of these members, and the above quote was a post to the email list for said networking group.
Her statement made me angry for so many reasons, and I tried to reply. I lifted my hands to the keyboard, but put them down again. Then lifted them…then lowered them. Up, down, up, down, what the fuck? I couldn’t do it! Why?
The next day I reasoned that there was just too much to say, I didn’t know where to begin, and I was so disgusted that someone so involved with music could be so mothercunting goddamn ignorant of Randy Newman’s enormous impact on music. Folks who only know him for “Short People” live in hovels and only have AM radio.
I’m sure I am preaching to the choir as my readership is comprised of super-genius music buffs. I’m also sure many of you are thinking “What? You’re actually surprised someone in the music biz has her head up her front butt?”
I know, I know. I just thought she was, you know, SMART. Or at least educated about her business. She talks the talk, but man, she just blew it to hell.
Although you, my comrades, are brilliant, and I am writing a blog entry, not a response to her uninformed, stupid-ass message, allow me to enumerate the ways she is mistaken about Mr. Newman.
1. “Short People” is a satire about prejudice. He has made statement after statement about that, but the masses failed to hear his message. (Even though the chorus actually says “short people are just like you and me”) Some radio stations even banned the song. Newman grew to dislike “Short People,” despite its commercial success, because of its misinterpreted message.
2. Randy Newman has been writing hits since the 60s, most of them chart hits for other artists: Gene Pitney, Cilla Black, Three Dog Night, Peggy Lee, Dusty Springfield, to name a few. He’s in the songwriter’s hall of fame.
3. Some of his songs, recorded by himself or other artists are fucking gorgeous. He’s one of my favorite songwriters, and believe me, I’m a tough customer. Dusty Springfield’s version of his song “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today” is just beautiful. In fact, he wrote a handful of tunes on “Dusty in Memphis,” which is required listening for anyone I consider a friend. If you haven’t heard it, I will force it on you. I will. Speaking of his beautiful songs…
4. His album “Good Old Boys” is fucking fantastic. One of my favorite songs ever, “Marie,” is on it. Not only is this a brilliant album, but it’s an important one. It came out in 1972 and it’s a concept album, written from the perspective of a black man from the deep south. There is also a satirical song about rednecks oppressing black people, and he incorporates historical events, like the Louisiana flood of 1927 and Huey Long’s Governorship into the lyrics, as well. Amazingly, this album saw commercial success. (Often, brilliance of this calibre is lost on the public.)
5. He has scored a shitload of films, not just the ones Ms. Poopypants derides. Good ones, too. “The Natural,” “Ragtime,” “Parenthood,” christ, the list goes on and on. Just…look up his discography.
I could blather on but I think I’ve made my case. Randy Newman is a heavy hitter. Don’t you be tellin’ ME he’s had “zero impact on the music industry.” Why don’t you actually learn your shit before you open your ASS mouth to trash him, Big Wig Industry Weasel?
I’m right, she’s wrong, forever and ever, amen.