Randy Newman (born November 28, 1943) is an American songwriter, arranger, singer and pianist who is notable for his mordant, immaculately written pop songs and for his many film scores.
Newman is noted as a lyricist of considerable sophistication. He often writes songs from unusual perspectives, often utilizing an unreliable narrator. For example, "Sail Away" is a slave trader's come-on, "Birmingham" is written from the perspective of a manâ€”"a roller in a steel mill"â€”who loves his ordinary life in Birmingham, Alabama, while "Political Science" complains of worldwide hatred of America and proposes a final solution in a brutally ironic way. His many place-name songs, which are often archetypal examples of ambivalent Americana, include "I Love L.A.", "Baltimore", "Louisiana 1927", and "Dayton, Ohio - 1903". Newman is also a consummate musician whose deceptively simple songs mask complex craftsmanship, and he is a skilled arranger. As a singer, Newman's drawl is reminiscent of that of blues artists like Sonny Boy Williamson and of New Orleans rock-and-roll singers like Chris Kenner.
His film scores include Ragtime and The Natural, and he scored the first four Disney-Pixar films, including Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and Monsters, Inc. He also scored the 1996 film James and the Giant Peach.