By Alfred Ardis
Randy Newman was born on November 28, 1943 in Los Angeles, California. His full legal name is Randall Stuart Newman. His mother, Adele, was a secretary and his father, Irving George Newman, was a physician.
When Randy was a baby, he moved with his parents back to his mother's home state of Louisiana. Even after eventually moving back to Los Angeles, he still spent his childhood summers in New Orleans until he was eleven years old. He graduated from the Los Angeles school, University High and took college classes at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Although his parents weren't directly involved in the musical scene, three of his paternal uncles were composers for Hollywood films. He also had two cousins and a nephew who were composers. At the age of seventeen years old, he joined the tradition of his extended family to become a professional composer himself. He released his first single at the age of eighteen.
Newman is a singer and songwriter. Many talented artists have performed his compositions over the years. He is also a musical arranger and pianist.
During the nineteen-sixties, Gene Pitney, Jerry Butler, The O'Jays, Cilla Black and Irma Thomas began to record his songs. He also became a member of a band called The Tikis. The Tikis later renamed themselves Harpers Bizarre and became well known for a version of "Feeling Groovy" which was a Paul Simon song.
Some of his most famous tunes and lyrics are quite sarcastic, which is one of his trademark components. "I Love L.A." has both positive and negative things to say about the metropolis, but it is a popular tune either way. "Short People" is a spoof about people who are of smaller stature. He often wrote lyrics that were from another's perspective, such as a tune called "Political Science" in the narrating voice of a U.S. citizen complaining about lack of global gratitude for his country. He has written musical scores for many films, including Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Ragtime and The Natural, just to name a few.
He had been nominated for fifteen Oscars for his music before finally winning one in 2001. This award was for the Academy Award Best Original Song for the tune "If I Didn't Have You" from the movie "Monsters, Inc." He was overcome with emotion when he finally won, as the competition was quite stiff. Paul McCarney, Sting and Enya were the competitors whom he'd triumphed over. During his acceptance speech, he received a standing ovation.
Randy Newman continues to dazzle the world with his musical talents. Having won two Emmy Awards and four Grammy Awards along with the Oscar, he keeps on going strong.
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