If you only know “Short People” and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” then you don’t know Randy Newman.
From his 1968 debut album through the 2017 Grammy-winning Dark Matter (not to mention many of his very popular film soundtracks), Randy Newman has populated his music with characters who reflect the complexities and contradictions of the late 20th and early 21st century United States.
Often misunderstood due to his forsaking the more confessional approach of pop/rock/folk singer-songwriters, Newman, steeped in our national, musical and cinematic history, offers his listeners unflinching portraits of outcasts, patriots, bigots, loners, lovers, and losers, all struggling to understand our world, even as its very foundation seems to be shifting beneath them.
Gilbert L. Gigliotti is a professor of English and Latin at Central Connecticut State University and the host for more than two decades of “Frank, Gil, and Friends” every Tuesday morning on WFCS 107.7 FM. He earned his PhD in comparative literature at The Catholic University of America.
His books on Frank Sinatra, Eva Gardner and now Randy Newman (The Words & Music of Randy Newman will be out in December 2018) belie his more traditional academic interests in American Puritans like Cotton Mather and the literature of ancient Greece and Rome.
Oliver Wolcott Library
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