Randy Newman

Randy Newman

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"Randy Newman creates something new under the sun," read the banner on the back of Newman's debut album, but it was more that, in keeping with the intended irony of the statement, Newman was intent upon taking clich├ęs and using them to satirize social conventions, a popular parlor game in the late '60s. Thus, we have "Love Story" (predating the sappy book/movie of the same title), in which the lovers retire to Florida and pass away, "So Long Dad," in which a son squares things with his old man, and "Davy the Fat Boy," in which an affectionate friend exploits the title character. But there were also songs like "Living Without You" and "I Think It's Gonna Rain Today," which were so painfully lonely you wished they weren't so sincere. Taken together, this was an audacious first album by a major, if extremely quirky, talent.

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