I Love L.A.

“I wrote “I Love L.A.” because Don Henley said to me, “Everybody’s writing L.A. songs, people not from here. You’re from here. Why don’t you write one?” There is an aggressive ignorance to the song – ignorant and proud of it. There’s nothing wrong with the Beach Boys and open-top cars. But the guy talks about the bum [“Look at that bum over there, man/He’s down on his knees”] and is still shouting “We love it”.”Randy Newman 1121)

Davy The Fat Boy

“It’s sung by a con man who is telling these parents that he is going to take care of their son, who is a freak – in the carnival sense of the word. There might be something to do with my own self worth, but I didn’t think there was when I wrote it.”Randy Newman (1121)

Sail Away

“But I had this idea of a slave ship and a sea shanty – this guy standing in a clearing, singing to a crowd of natives. These people in my songs don’t know they’re bad. They think they’re fine. I didn’t just want to say, “Slavery is awful.” It’s too easy. I wasn’t doing Roots.”Randy Newman (1121)

Louisiana 1927

“I remember my aunt talking about that flood [the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 – Ed]. She worked for [Governor – Ed] Huey Long at some point, in New Orleans. Good Old Boys was meant to be a concept record. I wrote “Rednecks,” then felt I had to do more for the guy, explain why he was that way with “Birmingham,” “Whirlwind,” and “Louisiana 1927.” The chorus [“They’re tryin’ to wash us away”] – That’s the North. It’s the feeling that the rest of the country would like them to disappear. It’s much more relevant now. The whole country feels as if it’s a swamp.”Randy Newman (1121)

You’ve Got A Friend In Me

“The song [Newman’s first Oscar winner – Ed] is about the friendship of Woody and the boy, Andy [in Toy Story – Ed]. I asked for adjectives; they gave me “friendly,” “comforting.” I took them seriously. Cartoon figures have adult emotions, just like a character in Dunkirk.”Randy Newman (1121)


“I started it two and a half years ago. It was seeing Vladimir Putin in those pictures with his shirt off. Like what the hell does he want? He’s the most powerful man in the world – and he wants to be Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt. The song is less critical than I thought it would be, although the tone gets menacing at the end.”Randy Newman (1121)

She Chose Me

“I wrote it a long time ago for a TV show, Cop Rock [a bizarre 1990 hybrid of police drama and musical numbers – Ed], about a guy who was relatively ugly and had a beautiful wife.”Randy Newman (1121)