Cynical romantic, subversive political satirist, social commentator, champion of the underdog – and brilliant one-man medicine show in the bargain – Randy Newman has been one of pop music’s secret hidden weapons for more than four decades. Raised in Los Angeles, the summers he spent in New Orleans as a youngster had a profound influence on both his piano style and his songwriting, which in later years skewered Southern stereotypes in an ironic fashion that only an insider could get away with. A songwriter since his teens, his earliest songs were covered by artists ranging from Gene Pitney and Alan Price, to Judy Collins, Dusty Springfield and Three Dog Night, highlighted by the 1970 ‘tribute’ LP, Nilsson Sings Newman. His sardonic wit and unabashed sentimentality have inspired a myriad of American and British songwriters to stretch the envelope and in so doing, expand the boundaries of rock, pop, folk, country, R&B and (since the ’80s) film music. A six-time Grammy winner, two-time Oscar winner, three-time Emmy winner (the list goes on), Randy Newman is an American treasure.
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