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Movie Soundtracks of the Month (November): Happy Birthday Randy Newman

11.28.2011
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Born November 28th, 1943, Randy Newman has etched himself a legacy among great singer/songwriters, composers, and pianists. He was known for his satirical pop songs where he portrayed fictional characters such as a slave trader, a US nationalist, and a “lunatic” as he puts it who has an unjustified prejudice against short people. He is perhaps most famous for his selected songs and film scores that have accompanied some amazing films. In addition to score’s for such films as The Natural, Awakenings, James and the Giant Peach, Seabiscut and Princess and the Frog he songs and scores for selected Pixar films have become almost as beloved as the films themselves. He has won two Academy Awards (twenty nominations), three Emmys, and five Grammys. So is this mac daddy good at what he does? I think it’s safe to say. So on behalf of your’s truly and the rest of the JoBlo community, happy birthday Randy and keep those classics coming.

1. "YOU GOT A FRIEND IN ME": TOY STORY

In 1995 this charming little tale about toys that come to life came and changed the landscape of animated films forever. From the moment this song hit our ears and Andy and Woody hit that screen and displayed the bond that we’ve all shared with our respective “child play things” we were hooked. This particular song has been in all three Toy Story films including providing a moment of revelation in the classic sequel and was even given some spanish flavor in the film to close out the trilogy. Simply put this song has become just as special and magical as what has been regarded by some as one of the best trilogies of all time. Purchase the soundtrack here

2. THE NATURAL

I love me some Robert Redford, I love me some Barry Levinson, and I love me an inspirational baseball story. I just saw this film recently and had no idea who composed the score of which I was already a fan. When I decided to dedicate this column to Newman and discovered that it was in fact him who composed it I was taken aback. This is far removed from what the man is most famous for but it proved to be just as wonderful to me as the classic songs that he’s provided for Pixar. Chalk this up to you learn something new everyday and take yet another pat on the back Randy. Purchase the soundtrack here

3. A BUGS LIFE

This is a film in the world of Pixar that I have never really seen get the attention it deserves, definitlely feels like the unwanted stepchild of the bunch. The movie had an engaging underdog story and as far as the music goes I believe it has the best orchestrated score of any of the Pixar films to date. Along with the music Randy gave us a just as memorable track called “The Time of Your Life” perfectly capturing the character to root for that our little Flik was. So I officially give A Bugs Life the kudos it has always had coming to it. You have not been forgotten. Purchase the soundtrack here

4. PLEASANTVILLE

Let me tell you how the selection of this score came to be. In deciding to write this column I had to look up other films that Randy Newman has scored. As above, I was surprised to see that he had scored 1998s Pleasantville. Now I remember when this film first came out something was pulling me towards it and I urged my mom to let me rent it on Pay Per View. I was an adolescent shit who could not appreciate at the time any substance that the film may have had. I didn’t get it. Fast forward to present day and I decide to give the score for Pleasantville a gander and yes, in true Randy Newman fashion it was a pleasure to the ears. So much so that it has inspired me to pick up and rewatch a film that bored me to tears in 1998. A score that moving can’t be attached to a movie not worthy of it can it? Goes to show you the power that a film score has for a movie. It is linked folks. Purchase the soundtrack here

5. TOY STORY 2: "WHEN SHE LOVED ME" WRITTEN BY RANDY NEWMAN & PERFORMED BY SARAH MCLACHLAN

I had difficulty deciding what to place at five on this list. Many songs performed by Randy Newman deserve the honor but two words came to mind when this song creeped it’s way into my head…amazing collaboration. Pixar films have been known to have selected scenes in their films that put a lump in your throat and rib check you. This is the song that started it all folks. Heartbreaking lyrics written by the man of the hour sung in a hearbreaking fashion by the lovely Sarah McLachlan, I am listening to the track again as I write this and am getting choked up even now. Judge me not. It works every time. Purchase the soundtrack here

[HONORABLE MENTION] - "IF I DIDN'T HAVE YOU": MONSTERS, INC

Damn do I love this mans voice. I know I didn’t give him that compliment for the song above but I am listening to this song as I type this and I’ll be damned if this mans vocals don’t just grab you. I’ve heard some people say they prefer the rendition of this song sung by John Goodman and Billy Crystal for this particular soundtrack. Not for this sap. Newman’s voice attached to a Pixar song is a source of comfort, his lyrics are touching and meaningful. I’d go so far as to play this song to my better half if I pissed her off. That’s power. Here’s to hoping another classic track comes our way with the long anticipated prequel. Purchase the soundtrack here

Extra Tidbit: Randy Newman has become the subject of a couple hilarious parodies on the hit show Family Guy. In interviews Newman has stated this is probably how he is going to be remembered. Poppycock sir, poppycock.
Source: JoBlo.com
Tags: soundtracks

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8:23PM on 11/28/2011
I was at the exact target age - audience wise when the first Toy Story came out. So I was fortunate enough to see this man in concert earlier this year, it was wonderful, especially being able to hear hearing "you've got a friend in me." I'll always treasure that night :)
I was at the exact target age - audience wise when the first Toy Story came out. So I was fortunate enough to see this man in concert earlier this year, it was wonderful, especially being able to hear hearing "you've got a friend in me." I'll always treasure that night :)
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10:48AM on 11/28/2011
"When She Loved Me" is truly heart-breaking.
"When She Loved Me" is truly heart-breaking.
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9:32AM on 11/28/2011
I'm not ashamed to say this: Sarah MacLachlan's "When Somebody Loved Me" from Toy Story 2 made me cried.
I'm not ashamed to say this: Sarah MacLachlan's "When Somebody Loved Me" from Toy Story 2 made me cried.
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