Randy Newman's wry and quirky pop songs of the 1970s earned him a reputation as a songwriter's songwriter, but he's famous to most audiences for his songs and scores for popular animated movies like Toy Story (1995), A Bug's Life (1998) and Monsters, Inc. (2001). Randy Newman began writing songs at an early age, and in 1968 released his first album, Randy Newman Creates Something New Under the Sun (later retitled just Randy Newman). During the 1970s he released several albums, heavy on piano and his distinctive croaking voice; they received high critical praise and won him loyal fans, but they didn't quite make Newman into rock star celebrity. He had a top 40 hit with "Sail Away" (1972), but it was his 1977 song "Short People," a controversial parody about bigotry, that became his biggest hit. Another satirical single, "I Love L.A." (from his 1983 album Trouble in Paradise), still managed to became a popular anthem for Los Angeles. Since the 1980s, Newman has concentrated on writing songs and scores for dozens of films, including Ragtime (1981), The Natural (1984, starring Robert Redford), James and the Giant Peach (1996), Seabiscuit (2003) and the sequels Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010). Randy Newman was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
Randy Newman has been Oscar-nominated as a composer more than a dozen times, beginning with the 1981 movie Ragtime; he won best original song for “If I Didn’t Have You” from Monsters, Inc. (2001) and for “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 (2010)… Randy Newman’s uncles — Alfred, Lionel and Emil Newman — were also film composers and conductors; Alfred Newman was the musical director for 20th Century Fox studios for many years… In 1970 singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson released an entire album of Newman songs, Nilsson Sings Newman… Three Dog Night’s cover of Newman’s “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” was a number one hit for the group in 1970.