Randall Stuart "Randy" Newman (born November 28, 1943) is a singer/songwriter, arranger, composer, and pianist who is notable for his mordant (and often satirical) pop songs and for his many film scores.
Newman is noted for his practice of writing lyrics from the perspective of a character far removed from Newman's own biography. For example, the 1972 song "Sail Away" is written as a slave trader's sales pitch to attract slaves, while the narrator of "Political Science" is a U.S. nationalist who complains of worldwide ingratitude toward America and proposes a brutally ironic final solution. One of his biggest hits, "Short People" was written from the perspective of "a lunatic" who hates short people. Since the 1980s, Newman has worked mostly as a film composer. His film scores include Ragtime, Awakenings, The Natural, Leatherheads, James and the Giant Peach, Meet the Parents, Seabiscuit and The Princess and the Frog. He has scored six Disney-Pixar films: Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Cars and most recently Toy Story 3.
He has been awarded an Academy Award, three Emmys, four Grammy Awards, and the Governor's Award from the Recording Academy. Newman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2007, Newman was inducted as a Disney Legend.
Newman grew up in a musical family with Hollywood connections; his uncles Alfred and Lionel both scored numerous films. By age 17, Randy was staff writer for a California music publisher. One semester short of a B.A. in music from UCLA, he dropped out of school. Lenny Waronker, son of Liberty Records' president, was a close friend and, later, as a staff producer for Warner Bros., helped get Newman signed to the label.