Jenny Boylan’s Man of the Hour for February 2nd, 2009 is American composer Randy Newman. Born on November 28, 1943, Newman has written great rock and roll tunes, not to mention providing the scores for dozens of films.
My favorite aspect of Newman’s work is the way he assumes a persona other than his own in so many of his songs. Once, when asked what he was most proud of about his songs, Newman replied, “All the lies.” This makes his songs particularly elusive; some times it’s a safe bet to assume that Newman believes exactly the opposite of the thing he’s actually singing.
I love that manipulation of the truth; it makes me think of the lovely quote by Oscar Wilde, “Sometimes we tell the truth best when we wear a mask.”
And then, in the scores for movies, especially, say, Ragtime, or Toy Story, the songs seem so close to the heart, so honest and vulnerable, that I always assume that these are the “real” Randy Newman. But I know better.
A youtube in which Randy Newman talks about his writing style:
and one of my favorites, Louisiana 1927:
Randy Newman, American composer, is Man of the Hour!