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Randy Newman's American Dreams

Kevin Courrier

348 pages
Ecw Press

Among his peers, Randy Newman is considered one of the most respected singer-songwriters in contemporary American music. For over 40 years, he has composed a variety of hits for artists as diverse as Judy Collins, Three Dog Night, and Tom Jones. In 1997, Newman caused controversy with the chart-topping “Short People,” wrote the stage musical Faust, and became a successful composer for such acclaimed films as The Natural, Avalon, Toy Story, and Monsters Inc. Yet, despite his vast body of work, Newman is still far from being a household name.

This book examines why this enigmatic, audacious composer has been so largely unacknowledged — and misunderstood — by listeners and fans alike. With detailed precision, Courrier delves into the reasons for Newman’s peripheral status on the cultural landscape, suggesting that, at heart, he has always been a musical outsider and built a career in the mainstream by donning a brilliant disguise. This is an illuminating portrait of the artist as a masked man — an Artful Dodger taking readers on an equivocal voyage up through the streams and tributaries of a vast and sometimes tragically complex American domain.

Author Bio

Kevin Courrier is a writer/broadcaster and film critic at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Courrier has also written about film and pop culture in Box Office, the Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star.