Music News

Randy Newman

Anyone living in the United States after 1970 -- when Randy Newman's classic 12 Songs was released -- has heard Randy Newman somewhere, somehow. Because of his hit songs, including "Short People" and "I Love L.A.," and his scoring of numerous movies and television shows, Newman's presence and his knack for writing a catchy, well-crafted song have made their mark across a broad swath of American popular culture. This could easily result in the music's being ephemeral, but in fact, the singer-songwriter's real gift has been the ability to effortlessly straddle the line between mass accessibility and artistic sophistication. Newman is also one of the few highly public musicians who have been able to maintain a private life while also using their fame for good -- and he's done it without seeming pretentious, which is rare indeed.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.