Our Current Composer in the Spotlight is:
Mariposa students learn about the Composer of the Month at our Flag Ceremonies which are held weekly. An overview of the Composer is presented and students hear selections from the Composer's catalog. Each Composer of the Month runs from mid-month to mid-month. In addition, the Composer's music is played before school as Mariposa Students enter campus!
OUR CURRENT COMPOSER IN THE SPOTLIGHT IS
Randall Stuart Newman (born November 28, 1943) is an American singer-songwriter arranger, composer and pianist who is known for his distinctive voice, mordant (and often satirical) pop songs and film scores.
Since the 1980s, Newman has worked mostly as a film composer. His film scores include Ragtime, Awakenings, The Natural, Leatherheads, Pleasantville, Marriage Story, Meet the Parents, Cold Turkey and Seabiscuit. He has scored nine Disney-Pixar animated films: Toy Story; A Bug's Life; Toy Story 2; Monsters, Inc.; Cars; Toy Story 3; Monsters University; Cars 3; Toy Story 4 and Disney's The Princess and the Frog and James and the Giant Peach.
Newman has received twenty Academy Award nominations in the Best Original Score and Best Original Song categories and has won twice in the latter category, contributing to the Newmans being the most nominated Academy Award extended family, with a collective 92 nominations in various music categories. He has also won three Emmys, seven Grammy Awards and the Governor's Award from the Recording Academy.
Newman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 for classics such as "Short People", and as a Disney Legend in 2007. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2013.
Newman was born on November 28, 1943, his father's 30th birthday, in Los Angeles. He is the son of Adele "Dixie" (née Fuchs/Fox; August 30, 1916 – October 4, 1988), a secretary, and Irving George Newman (November 28, 1913 – February 1, 1990), an internist.He lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, as a small child and spent summers there until he was 11 years old, when his family returned to Los Angeles. The paternal side of his family includes grandparents Luba (née Koskoff) (July 21, 1883 – March 3, 1954) and Michael Newman (Nemorofsky) (1874–1948), and three uncles who were noted Hollywood film-score composers: Alfred Newman, Lionel Newman and Emil Newman.Newman's cousins, Thomas, Maria, David and Joey, are also composers for motion pictures. He graduated from University High School in Los Angeles. He studied music at the University of California, Los Angeles, but dropped out one semester shy of a B.A.
Newman has been a professional songwriter since he was 17. He cites Ray Charles as his greatest influence growing up, stating, "I loved Charles' music to excess." His first single as a performer was 1962's "Golden Gridiron Boy", released when he was 18. The single flopped and Newman chose to concentrate on songwriting and arranging for the next several years.
An early writing credit was "They Tell Me It's Summer", used as the b-side of the Fleetwoods 1962 single, "Lovers by Night, Strangers by Day", which led to further commissions from the Fleetwoods and also Pat Boone. Other early songs were recorded by Gene Pitney, Jerry Butler, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Jackie DeShannon, the O'Jays and Irma Thomas, among others. His work as a songwriter met with particular success in the UK: top 40 UK hits written by Newman included Cilla Black's "I've Been Wrong Before" (No. 17, 1965), Gene Pitney's "Nobody Needs Your Love" (No. 2, 1966) and "Just One Smile" (No. 8, 1966); and the Alan Price Set's "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear" (No. 4, 1967). Price, who was enjoying great success in England at the time, championed Newman by featuring seven Randy Newman songs on his 1967 A Price on His Head album.
In the mid-1960s, Newman was briefly a member of the band the Tikis, who later became Harpers Bizarre, best known for their 1967 hit version of the Paul Simon composition "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)". Newman kept a close musical relationship with Harpers Bizarre, offering them some of his own compositions, including "Simon Smith" and "Happyland". The band recorded six Newman compositions during their short initial career (1967–1969).
In this period, Newman began a long professional association with childhood friend Lenny Waronker. Waronker had been hired to produce the Tikis, the Beau Brummels and the Mojo Men, who were all contracted to the Los Angeles independent label Autumn Records. He in turn brought in Newman, Leon Russell and another friend, pianist/arranger Van Dyke Parks, to play on recording sessions. Later in 1966, Waronker was hired as an A&R manager by Warner Bros. Records and his friendship with Newman, Russell and Parks began a creative circle around Waronker at Warner Bros. that became one of the keys to Warner Bros.' subsequent success as a rock music label.
In 2011, Newman endorsed jazz singer Roseanna Vitro's album, The Randy Newman Project (Motéma Music, 2011).
Newman's song compositions are represented by Downtown Music Publishing.
His 1968 debut album, Randy Newman, was a critical success but never entered the Billboard Top 200. Many artists, including Helen Reddy, Bette Midler, Alan Price, Van Dyke Parks, Dave Van Ronk, Judy Collins, Cass Elliot, Art Garfunkel, the Everly Brothers, Claudine Longet, Dusty Springfield, Tom Odell, Nina Simone, Lynn Anderson, Wilson Pickett, Pat Boone and Peggy Lee, covered his songs and "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" became an early standard.
In 1969, he did the orchestral arrangements for Peggy Lee's single "Is That All There Is?", as well as her album with the same title (which also contained her cover versions of two of his songs: "Love Story" and "Linda"). Also in 1969 he recorded "Gone Dead Train" for the 1970 movie and soundtrack album to Performance, starring Mick Jagger.
In 1970, Harry Nilsson recorded an entire album of Newman compositions (Newman played piano) called Nilsson Sings Newman. The album was not a commercial success, but critics liked it (it won a "Record of the Year" award from Stereo Review magazine), and it paved the way for Newman's 1970 release, 12 Songs, a more stripped-down sound that showcased Newman's piano. Ry Cooder's slide guitar and contributions from Byrds members Gene Parsons and Clarence White helped to give the album a much rootsier feel. 12 Songs was also critically acclaimed (6th best album of the seventies according to Rolling Stone critic Robert Christgau), but again found little commercial success, though Three Dog Night made a huge hit of his "Mama Told Me Not to Come". The following year, Randy Newman Live cemented his cult following and became his first LP to appear in the Billboard charts, at No. 191. Newman also made his first foray into music for films at this time, writing and performing the theme song "He Gives Us All His Love" for Norman Lear's 1971 film Cold Turkey.
1972's Sail Away reached No. 163 on Billboard, with the title track making its way into the repertoire of Ray Charles and Linda Ronstadt. "You Can Leave Your Hat On" which was covered by Three Dog Night, then Joe Cocker, and later by Keb Mo, Etta James, Tom Jones (whose version was later used for the final striptease to the 1997 film The Full Monty), and the Québécois singer Garou. The album also featured "Burn On", an ode to an infamous incident in which the heavily polluted Cuyahoga River literally caught fire. In 1989, "Burn On" was used as the opening theme to the film Major League, whose focus was the hapless Cleveland Indians.
His 1974 release Good Old Boys was a set of songs about the American South. "Rednecks" began with a description of segregationist Lester Maddox pitted against a "smart-ass New York Jew" on a TV show, in a song that criticizes both southern racism and the complacent bigotry of Americans outside of the south who stereotype all southerners as racist yet ignore racism in northern and midwestern states and large cities. This ambiguity was also apparent on "Kingfish" and "Every Man a King", the former a paean to Huey Long (the assassinated former Governor and United States Senator from Louisiana), the other a campaign song written by Long himself. An album that received lavish critical praise, Good Old Boys also became a commercial breakthrough for Newman, peaking at No. 36 on Billboard 200, spending 21 weeks there.
Little Criminals (1977) contained the surprise hit "Short People", which also became a subject of controversy. In September 1977, the British music magazine NME reported the following interview with Newman talking about his then-new release. "There's one song about a child murderer," Newman deadpans. "That's fairly optimistic. Maybe. There's one called 'Jolly Coppers on Parade' which isn't an absolutely anti-police song. Maybe it's even a fascist song. I didn't notice at the time. There's also one about me as a cowboy called 'Rider in the Rain.' I think it's ridiculous. The Eagles are on there. That's what's good about it. There's also this song 'Short People.' It's purely a joke. I like other ones on the album better but the audiences go for that one." The album proved Newman's most popular to date, reaching No. 9 on the US Billboard 200 chart.
1979's Born Again featured a song satirically mythologizing the Electric Light Orchestra (and their arranging style) titled "The Story of a Rock and Roll Band".
His 1983 album Trouble in Paradise included the single "I Love L.A.", a song that has been interpreted as both praising and criticizing the city of Los Angeles. This ambivalence is borne out by Newman's own comments on the song. As he explained in a 2001 interview, "There's some kind of ignorance L.A. has that I'm proud of. The open car and the redhead, the Beach Boys ... I can't think of anything better than that." The ABC network and Frank Gari Productions transformed "I Love L.A." into a popular 1980s TV promotional campaign, retooling the lyrics and title to "You'll Love It!" (on ABC) The song is played at home games for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Los Angeles Kings who use the song along with their goal horn. In spite of its prominence, however, it failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1985 Newman performed a set at the first Farm Aid concert that included a duet with Billy Joel on facing grand pianos. Newman performed "Sail Away".
In 2003 Newman's song "It's a Jungle Out There" was used for season 2 of the USA Network's show Monk; it won him the 2004 Emmy Award for Best Main Title Music.
In the years following Trouble in Paradise, Newman focused more on film work,
Awards and honors
Newman has been nominated for 20 Academy Awards, winning twice – Best Original Song in 2002 for "If I Didn't Have You" from Monsters, Inc., and Best Original Song in 2011 for "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3. He has received three Emmys, seven Grammy Awards, and the Governor's Award from the Recording Academy. Newman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2007, he was inducted as a Disney Legend. In 2010, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Newman was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. In September 2014, Randy Newman received a Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award and performed at the annual film music gala Hollywood in Vienna for the first time together with his cousin David Newman.