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Other segments from the episode on February 15, 1999

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, February 15, 1999: Interview with Randy Newman; Review of the album "Dusty in Memphis."

Transcript

Show: FRESH AIR
Date: FEBRUARY 15, 1999
Time: 12:00
Tran: 021501np.217
Type: FEATURE
Head: Randy Newman
Sect: Entertainment
Time: 12:06

TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Randy Newman has been nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Original Musical or Comedy Score for "A Bug's Life;" Best Dramatic Score for "Pleasantville;" and Best Original Song for "That'll Do" from "Babe: A Pig in the City." We're going to hear an expanded version of an interview we presented last year after the release of Newman's four CD box set, "Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman."

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP -- SINGER-SONGWRITER, RANDY NEWMAN)

I've been around the world
I had my (unintelligible)
You'd think I'd be happy
But I'm not

Everybody knows my name
But it's just a crazy game
Whoa it's lonely at the top

GROSS: Randy Newman's box set includes Newman classics like "Lonely at the Top," "Davy The Fat Boy," "Sail Away," "Political Science," and "Rednecks." It also features demos and other previously unreleased tracks. And his scores from such films as "Rag Time," "The Natural," "Parenthood," and "Toy Story."

Randy Newman, welcome back to FRESH AIR.

RANDY NEWMAN, SINGER-SONGWRITER; MUSICIAN: It's good to be here.

GROSS: I want to focus on that third CD, the CD of mostly demos and previously unreleased material. The first song on that CD is called "Golden Gridiron Boy," and this is a song about not getting the girls and not being a football hero. How did you write this song?

NEWMAN: I don't know. It sounds like I wrote it with my foot. No, but I was 18 -- actually I got it wrong, it should have been "Gridiron Golden Boy." I mean, that's the way I wrote it, but I must have got flustered at the recording session.

And I think Lenny Waronker called me and says, "why don't you write a song" -- I started writing songs when I was, like, 16, and it was football season and he was a giant football fan and I was a football fan. And he says, "why don't you write a football song?"

As if it were, you know -- the last one, I think, was the Desi Arnaz movie which was like 30 years before anyway. As if it weren't a completely archaic form in the first place. Besides, you know, the nerd doesn't end up getting the girl or anything. It was a very strange effort.

GROSS: Speaking of strange, this record was produced by Pat Boone. How did you get hooked up with Pat Boone?

NEWMAN: My father was a doctor and Pat Boone was a patient. And he heard me sing, and was one of the first people, actually, that liked the way I sung. So, I'm forever grateful to him.

GROSS: Now, Glen Campbell was featured on guitar on this track.

NEWMAN: Yeah, he did a lot of demos. He's probably on a lot of these other things too. He was doing demos then. When I started, the first people I worked with were Leon Russell and David Gates, who later went on to form Bread. And Jimmy Gordon who was in Blind Faith. And a lot of those people played demos -- early demos with me.

GROSS: Let's hear "Golden Gridiron Boy." Do you want to say anything else about it before we spin it?

NEWMAN: No, I'll say what I said in the liner notes of the box set, love means never having to say you're sorry.

GROSS: OK, this is Randy Newman recorded in 1962.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP -- SINGER-SONGWRITER RANDY NEWMAN PERFORMING "GOLDEN GRIDIRON BOY")

In his football uniform
He looks 10 feet tall
All the girls run after him
And my girl is in front of them all

Cause he's a football hero
She's in love with him
In every game
It's still the same

She talks of nothing but him
When he makes a touchdown
She goes wild with joy
And every score I lose more ground

To her golden Gridiron boy
I'm too small to make the team
I can only play in the band
But I'm big enough

To have a dream
That one day she'll understand
And I'm the one who loves her
And he loves the cheers of the crowd

One day she'll see what she means to me
And I know that she'll be proud
Well I'm too small to make the team
I can only play in the band

But I'm big enough
To have a dream
That one day she'll understand
He just loves the glory

That's all he ever wants
And that's the inside story
Of a golden gridiron boy
Yeah that's the inside story

Of a Golden Gridiron boy

GROSS: Randy Newman, did you expect that to be a hit?

NEWMAN: No, I didn't. I don't think I did.

GROSS: And you were right.

NEWMAN: I was right, yeah. I almost never -- all it's been is like a skeleton in the closet. But, you know, it's a very sad, sad song when I really listen to it. The guy -- "I'm too small to make the team," wow.

GROSS: "I can only play in the band."

NEWMAN: Quite an admission, yeah. I didn't exactly have my finger on the pulse of the American public's desire for heroes, you know.

GROSS: So, did this experience discourage you since nothing happened with the record or did it encourage you because at least you got a record made?

NEWMAN: No, it was -- I knew it was an aberration. I hadn't planned on having a career as a singer in anyway. For a while thereafter I just wrote and that's when I thought, I do, and then vaguely I thought I'd do movies someday like my uncles did. I kept studying music.

So, I don't remember it as being very important to me. As -- I mean, there's nothing less important than a record you put out that disappears in half a day, you know. I don't remember waiting, oh boy, this could be -- you know, I could go on one of those Dick Clark tours. I didn't think of it that way.

GROSS: So, you weren't expecting to be a singer, but you were hoping to be a songwriter. You were a songwriter. You were writing for a publishing company.

NEWMAN: That I was.

GROSS: What was your image of a songwriter back then? This is a kind of a transitional period in the early '60s. You know, you're past Tin Pan Alley, you're kind of in the end of the Leiber and Stoller era, and right at the kind of dawn of the period where bands were going to be writing their own songs.

NEWMAN: The image that I cherish and love is the image -- I don't know whether you would remember who -- I remember Donald O'Connor and Sid Field. I think they used to play this song where they'd say, "listen to this, listen to this." Jimmy Cagney had a movie like that once, except he was a writer. I can't think of what it was -- with Pat O'Brien.

I loved the idea of these two guys getting all excited about some Korean War song or something. The image I had was that ancient motion picture image of Tin Pan Alley and, you know, two guys hammering it out. And it was also of Carole King and Gerry Goffin and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and the people who were very successful, contemporaneously, with my attempts to write songs for people.

GROSS: Randy Newman is my guest, and he has a new box set called "Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman." I want to get another track from the third CD on your four CD box set, and this is the CD of demos and other mostly previously unreleased material.

This is a song called "Love Is Blind" which is -- just as the first song that we heard, "Golden Gridiron Boy," is very out a character for you. This kind of cheerful -- well not cheerful, but an upbeat football song.

NEWMAN: It's a generic lyric.

GROSS: Yeah. Exactly.

NEWMAN: That's what it is.

GROSS: Right. You say in the notes that you wrote it when you were 18.

NEWMAN: Yeah.

GROSS: So, you were 18 and already writing that "love is bitter, love is hopeless, love is blind." It leads me to think that you already had a sense of your self as writing more dark and cynical songs than your average songwriter.

NEWMAN: Well, there are some pretty lugubrious love songs. I mean, a lot of them are pretty bleak, you know, you stopped loving her today, and a lot of country things. But I was a pretty down cat, I guess. I don't know.

GROSS: Well, let's hear this song "Love Is Blind," written in about 1962. The recording we'll hear is 1968. And this is from Randy Newman's box set "Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman."

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP -- SINGER-SONGWRITER RANDY NEWMAN PERFORMING "LOVE IS BLIND")

They say that love is a sweet thing
And for lovers the sun will always shine
But in spite of what they say
I think of love this way

Love is bitter love is hopeless love is blind
I learned the hard and lonely way
Love can last through the years
I've spent a thousand empty years today

Hiding behind veiled tears
Now poets may write about love
Wise men may sing his praise
But I'll always remember

As I go through the empty days
Love is bitter love is hopeless love is blind

GROSS: "Love is Blind," one of the demos on Randy Newman's box set, "Guilty." What were you saying there?

NEWMAN: I was laughing at the ending. I was just sort of aimless wandering, you know, in the motion picture movie business we call it "grazing."

LAUGHTER

I was waiting to end it. I know where I should have gone, but I didn't go there. It made me laugh.

GROSS: Well, that was a demo. Did you ever record it other than that for yourself?

NEWMAN: No. I never thought enough of it.

GROSS: Well, I like it a lot. Why don't you like it?

NEWMAN: I do too.

GROSS: OK.

NEWMAN: Oh, "veil of tears."

GROSS: Oh, sure.

NEWMAN: Things like that. Yeah, sure, but I grew to not be able to stand that stuff coming from myself. I mean, I'll listen to records and love them, and they'll have lyrics like that in them. But I can't do it. You know, it's like if you know better, don't do it.

GROSS: I just figured I could put kind of like quotes around the veil of tears and say, oh, that's a little tip of the hat to the genre.

NEWMAN: Well, that's being too kind. It's just, you know, none of it was heartfelt and I don't think I'd been in love with anybody. I certainly didn't have all these sophisticated, you know, bitter and blind at 18. So, I mean, I hope not.

But I just didn't think of recording it. I like it too. I like everywhere it goes. There's a harmonic, you know, structure of it -- it sounds like me. It's what I do today.

GROSS: My guest is Randy Newman. We'll talk more after a break.

This Is FRESH AIR.

BREAK

GROSS: My guest is Randy Newman. He has a four CD box set called "Guilty," collecting his best known songs, film sores, and previously unreleased demos and outtakes.

Now you were telling us before that when you started writing songs you didn't think of yourself as a singer. When did you actually start performing your own songs and thinking of yourself as a performer?

NEWMAN: Well, it would be two separate answers, probably. I mean, I think the first time I was on stage was in 1970. And I was -- I remember the first time I played, it was someplace in San Enselmo (ph) -- The Lion's something -- The Lion's Share?

And my back was to the audience and I -- I think I took a dexadrine (ph) or something which made me go inward a bit. And my back was facing them and there was a little upright piano and I just played, and it was the last time I ever took anything on stage.

And it was just kind of uncomfortable, but I sort of liked it. The next time I performed I did like it. And I still do. Which is the reason for doing it. But I -- and so I thought of myself as a performer, yeah.

You know, sometime in 1970-1971 -- not in the traditional sense, but I could make an audience laugh and they'd get quiet for the songs they were supposed to be quiet for. And I liked it. It's a good deal easier than writing for me.

GROSS: When you started to think of yourself as a singer who could do the songs that you were writing, how did it change your songwriting?

NEWMAN: Oh, that's really a good question. I think it made it more difficult because I was stricter about what I would say. Now, "veil of tears," I'd have been happy if, you know, Neil Diamond had recorded it or somebody else had recorded it. Garth Brooks, you know, even now.

But I'm not going to say "veil of tears" unless it's a movie and it's really called for. It would take a lot -- the situation would have to be, or almost would have to be a "veil of tears" for me to do it.

GROSS: I think that your becoming a singer opened up your songs in terms of subject matter too. I mean, how many other singers would be willing to sing songs in the persona of a racist or of someone who is very insecure and unsure of themselves in a way that a lot of the characters in your songs are?

NEWMAN: True. Actually, you know, there's more of it lately than there ever has been. Alanis Morrisette does it, you know, a lot of these great girl writers are willing to admit to insecurities and bad behavior -- with knowledge. People write songs when they behave badly, you know, "She's Having My Baby," and things like that. And don't realize it, you know.

But if it's a conscious, artistic thing, you know, some of the rap too is that way. It's very unusual, you're right. It's an unusual persona -- to take on a persona that's less than heroic or admirable. But I started doing it in '65, and I still didn't think of myself as necessarily having a recording career.

I'm so precise about this date, because of this box set I can hear that "Simon Smith" was the first song that I wrote that was a little, I believe, a little off center. Maybe there was an earlier one, I don't know.

GROSS: Well, I want to get to another song from the third CD of the box set. And again, this is the CD with the previously unreleased sessions and the demos. And a couple of the tracks from the CD are from a live album that was released, though I think it might not have been terrifically distributed.

And the song I want to play is called "Maybe I'm Doing It Wrong." And it's a waltz about sex not quite measuring up to what it's supposed to be.

NEWMAN: Or the individual not measuring -- yeah, yeah, you're right. You're right.

GROSS: Well, both. Insecure about his performance and about the response that he's getting in himself.

NEWMAN: That's right, yeah.

GROSS: So many pop songs are supposed to be sung in the voice of the seducer who's bragging about how good a lover he is. Did you intend this to subvert that kind of song?

NEWMAN: Yeah. And it's really a great idea because it's a widespread thing, you know, people don't necessarily talk about it. You have no idea from knowing a person, in my experiences at least, what they're like sexually or -- you can't even guess at that. That and money.

You can try and borrow five dollars from somebody you've known for 30 years and they won't give it to you, and it's a complete unknown. And I really like -- this song is short, but I always thought it was a great idea for a song. I wished I'd done more, but I couldn't think of what more to do.

GROSS: Let's hear it. This is "Maybe I'm Doing It Wrong."

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP -- SINGER-SONGWRITER RANDY NEWMAN PERFORMING "MAYBE I'M DOING IT WRONG")

Maybe I'm doing it wrong
Maybe I'm doing it wrong
Just don't move me the way that it should
Maybe I'm doing it wrong

There ain't no book you can read
There ain't nobody telling him
And I don't think I'm getting
What everyone's getting

Maybe I'm doing it wrong
Sometimes I'll throw off a good one
At least I think it is
No I know it is

I shouldn't be thinking at all
I shouldn't be thinking at all
Maybe I'm doing it wrong
Maybe I'm doing it wrong

Just don't move me the way that it should
Maybe I'm doing it wrong

GROSS: Randy Newman. One of the tracks included on his new four CD box set called, "Guilty."

Why did you write that song as a waltz?

NEWMAN: Don't know. It just came out that way. Almost every song I've written has had words and music sort of come at the same time. But, no, usually the music comes a little first. So I probably was just clumping along like that. I didn't do it for any artistic reason, though I'd be happy to take credit for any sort of Viennese reason that you'd like to give me.

GROSS: Thanks for the invitation. I have a reason I'd like to give you.

LAUGHTER

NEWMAN: Yeah.

GROSS: This song is about a kind of frustration in sexuality, but the waltz has such a nice lilt, such an easy lilt that it's a nice contrast.

NEWMAN: It does. It's sort of in one. Yeah, it could be. It might be also -- I loved a record called, "If You Got to Make a Fool of Somebody." I don't know which came first, but I mean, maybe I wanted to write something like that.

This is an instance I listen to the audience, where sometimes -- Harry Nilsson once told me -- you know, it was a constant thing with him, not performing. Why he didn't perform. And one time -- it was mainly, I think, because he was frightened of it. I think, but I don't know.

But he said once it was because he was worried it would hurt his work. That the audience reaction would be like throw him off because he wouldn't know his good stuff. And it's a very small thing that you can isolate it as a writer. I mean, the audience will react to some things like sometimes I'll throw off a good one.

Like I probably could have done better there, you know. But they laughed at it. I knew they liked it. So I left it alone.

GROSS: Randy Newman, recorded last December. We'll hear more in the second half of the show. His box set is called "Guilty."

I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.

BREAK

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Composer Randy Newman has been nominated for three Academy Awards for his music for "Pleasantville," "A Bug's Life, and "Babe: A Pig in the City." We're listening to an expanded version of the interview we recorded last year. Just before the break we were talking about his song "Maybe I'm Doing It Wrong," sung from the point of view of someone insecure about his lovemaking.

Now, could you ever imagine writing your singing a song in the opposite persona sung in a voice of the great seducer, the great lover. Baby, I'm so good.

NEWMAN: Only as a joke. I mean, why talk if that's the case? Only as a joke, I've probably done that. Almost certainly, I've done it in some of my songs. You know, bragging.

GROSS: Mmm-hmm.

NEWMAN: I can't think of one now. "An Emotional Girl" to some slight strange degree. But I know there's better -- "You Can Leave Your Hat On," that guy's sort of lame. And yet they take it and treat it as straight sex.

GROSS: I'm glad you mentioned "You Can Leave Your Hat On," that song was used -- what's the movie called? I'm just blanking out on the title. "Full Monty."

NEWMAN: "Full Monty" and "9 1/2 Weeks."

GROSS: Well, "Full Monty" was such a big art house hit. Did that revive the song and bring you into present royalties?

NEWMAN: The other thing was an even a bigger hit.

GROSS: Oh.

NEWMAN: "9 1/2 Weeks" was such a big hit in Europe that it was a hit in almost worldwide. So I guess it was revived both times, yeah.

GROSS: So you never know which gold songs are going to come back at you.

NEWMAN: Yeah, and I did a TV show with Joe Cocker, and I did the thing -- let's see, what did I do it in -- key of E. And I said, "what key do you do it in?" I figured maybe he'd do it higher. I figured G, maybe a minor third. He said, no. He did it in C.

And up there, I could sing it in -- I could've sung it in C and the band could have really rocked, you know. And you could have heard it, and he had a hit with it up there. Where I was mumbling around -- you know, I was trying to get the character right.

I just didn't have any sense of -- I mean, I wish I had done it in C to tell you the truth.

GROSS: So the song sounded different when he did it?

NEWMAN: Yeah. I made, being a sixth higher made it -- you know, took you way up there and you really belted it out. Whereas mine was more furtive -- furtivo.

GROSS: Yours was more the heavy breather.

NEWMAN: Yeah, but in sort of harmless, you know. I think some women's group were offended. But I meant the guy to be kind of laughed at. Though as I get older I take it more seriously, you know.

GROSS: Well, since you mentioned "You Can Leave Your Hat On" you have your own recording of that on the new four CD box set. So why don't we listen to that?

NEWMAN: Sure.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP -- SINGER-SONGWRITER RANDY NEWMAN PERFORMING "LEAVE YOUR HAT ON")

Baby take off your coat
Real slow
Baby take off your shoes
Here I'll take the shoe

Baby take off your dress
Yes yes yes
You can leave your hat on
You can leave your hat on

You can leave your hat on
Go on over there
Turn on the light
No all the lights

Come back here
Stand on this chair
That's right
Raise your arm up into the air

Shake 'em
You give me reason to live
You give me reason to live
You give me reason to live

GROSS: That's Randy Newman recorded in 1972. One of the recordings featured on his new box set, "Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman."

I want to get to another one of the songs on here that I believe was never released. And this is a song called "Let Me Go." And you wrote it for a film called "The Pursuit of Happiness."

NEWMAN: Yeah.

GROSS: I looked up in Leonard Maltin's guide to films, and he describes it as "a sympathetic tale of a young man sent to jail more for his attitude in court than for any particular offense."

NEWMAN: I don't remember the court. I remember the picture -- Michael's Sarazen (ph), Barbara Hershey. It was an assignment -- it was an expression -- the song was attempting to be an expression of not caring. He wasn't like a committed sort of radical type. You know, they made all those movies in the '70s, I mean, like a plethora of bad pictures about youth.

This wasn't a bad picture, but the director wanted, as I recall, was something that showed that nothing mattered to this kid.

GROSS: Did you want to say anything else about writing it before we hear it?

NEWMAN: No, but I've always done -- felt that I've done well when I had assignments like that. He wasn't even that specific, but that's what I thought it needed. I like that kind of thing where I've had assignments for, you know, like "Parenthood" or the Disney pictures. It makes songwriting five times easier. And you lower your standards quite a bit too.

LAUGHTER

GROSS: That's important.

NEWMAN: Yeah, very.

GROSS: Let's hear "Let Me Go," written and performed by Randy Newman. Recorded in 1970.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP -- SINGER-SONGWRITER RANDY NEWMAN PERFORMING "LET ME GO")

Maybe I'll write you a letter
Maybe I'll give you a call
Maybe I'll drop you a line
When I'm feeling better

Maybe I won't have to
Somewhere rivers flowing
Lonely lonely into the sea
Somewhere the flowers grow

That don't mean anything to me
Let me go let me go let me go
Don't give me the answer
Cause I don't want to know

Just let my heart go beating
A little bit longer
I'm so young
I'm so young

GROSS: Now, Randy Newman you describe that song as being written about someone to show how little he cares, but there's so much emotion in the way that you sing "I'm so young."

NEWMAN: Yeah, I meant it to be like an excuse, "leave me alone. Oh, I'm so young." But it's a tough medium to do that kind of thing. I mean, for irony to come across. But yeah -- see, the thing I figure, anyone who would want to go "don't put anything on me I'm so young. I'm so young."

Only a jerk would say that, I think. So -- and the guy knows it, you know. That's probably putting more into than can be conceivably got, but that's what I meant. You know, I'm so young. People with youth use their youth as a -- something to beat you with, you know. Or I would use it as something to beat you with.

It was like in the '70s and in the record business there were a bunch of people with English accents all of a sudden. They could have had an IQ of 48 but the English accent would somehow intimidate everyone and they rose within the hierarchy in record companies. It's that what I meant.

GROSS: My guest is Randy Newman. We'll talk more after a break.

This is FRESH AIR.

GROSS: My guest is Randy Newman. Last week he was nominated for three Academy Awards for his music for three films: "Pleasantville," "A Bug's Life," and "Babe: A Pig in the City." Some of his earlier film scores are included in his new box set "Guilty."

You come from a film music extended family. Your uncles were Lionel and Alfred Newman.

NEWMAN: And Emil Newman (ph), the forgotten Newman.

GROSS: Alfred Newman was head of music for 20th Century Fox. Film scores include "Grapes of Wrath," "Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Captain from Castillo," "All about Eve," "Wuthering Heights." Did your uncles being in the film music business help you think about music as being part of storytelling?

NEWMAN: Maybe. The first album sounded like I was trying very much to get things in the right place, to put people -- the song "Cowboy," you know, I didn't use a piano on it because it was an indoor instrument. It used to be in movies you pay attention to stuff like that where -- I didn't like it when I heard a piano outside somehow. It took me inside. But, yeah, I think it probably did. I had never thought of it before, but yeah.

GROSS: Did having them in the family prevent you from being willing to sell your soul in order to make it in Hollywood?

NEWMAN: I never had a romantic view of Hollywood, and I never had -- because, you know, the actors weren't around by the time they were working on the picture. And I would see that, you know, I'd hear them talk about this director or that actor or actress. There was never any glamour to it, for me, particularly.

I don't know. Maybe you sell your soul a little when you do a movie anyway -- movie music. But I don't feel that way, I think I've done some of my best work writing stuff that I never would have gotten to had I not been -- had not the movie dictated that I write something like that.

Like "The Natural," I mean, I'm not going to write heroic music like that, I don't think. Or at least if I did, it would be very dissonant I think. And I'm glad I got to it.

GROSS: I thought we could hear some of your new orchestral movie music, and this is not from the box set, this is from the CD of "A Bug's Life," and you did the score for the movie. And I thought we'd play "Victory." This is a really interesting piece. I don't know if you remember them by name or not. Is that a no?

NEWMAN: No, I don't remember them.

GROSS: Well, why don't I play some of this and then you can tell us a little bit about writing it and about how it's used in the actual movie.

NEWMAN: Sure.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP -- "VICTORY" COMPOSED BY SINGER-SONGWRITER RANDY NEWMAN FOR THE FILM "A BUG'S LIFE")

GROSS: Music Randy Newman composed for the film "A Bug's Life." Some of that really hearkens back to classic adventure film scores.

NEWMAN: Yeah, but it's 20th-century, you know. I might not have known I could do that if -- had it not called for it. It's a grasshopper chasing a -- flying through the air chasing an ant, but to me it's -- but it brought forth in me some sort of, you know, like Bartok on a bad day. At least, you know, it's sort of decent 20th-century music. And technically difficult.

And unbelievably well played by, you know, there's one crummy horn entrance, but that's all right. But those musicians had that music, maybe we did it in an hour and a half -- that one thing. And that is really difficult for everybody.

For the piccolo players, for the horn players -- phenomenally difficult, for the trumpet players -- sort of difficult, and the violin players -- very very very difficult. It's an unbelievable orchestra that we have out here, and the best reading orchestra -- there couldn't be a better one in the world. It's impossible. They sit down and they play that thing, and that's hard.

GROSS: It must be pretty exiting for you to hear played what you've only heard in your head before.

NEWMAN: Yep. It's about the best thing I do. I like it so much that I'm willing to put up with a lot of down side to that job to do that. I really liked hearing that just now.

Listening to me sing, it's more important -- songs, I guess, and songwriting. But I don't know how loud this is in the movie, but it's not the main thing going on. When the ant gets away, is the main thing. But I like that.

GROSS: It sounds really good to me.

NEWMAN: Yeah, me too.

GROSS: Randy Newman, thank you very much for talking with us.

NEWMAN: Great pleasure, as always.

GROSS: Randy Newman, recorded last December after the release of his four CD box set, "Guilty." Last week he was nominated for three Academy Awards for his music for the films "Pleasantville," "Babe: A Pig in the City," and "A Bug's Life."

This is FRESH AIR.

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not
be in its final form and may be updated.

TO PURCHASE AN AUDIOTAPE OF THIS PIECE, PLEASE CALL 888-NPR-NEWS

Dateline: Terry Gross, Washington, DC
Guest: Randy Newman
High: A profile of singer-songwriter Randy Newman. His four CD box set "Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman" was recently released.
Spec: Entertainment; Lifestyle; Culture; Music Industry; Randy Newman

Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright 1999 WHYY, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by FDCH, Inc. under license from WHYY, Inc. Formatting copyright 1999 FDCH, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WHYY, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.
End-Story: Randy Newman
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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52:30

'Fresh Air' remembers Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim (Part 3)

We conclude our tribute to Sondheim by listening to archival interviews with collaborators and performers, including Stephen Colbert, James Lapine, Paul Gemignani and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

52:30

'Fresh Air' remembers Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim (Part 1)

Sondheim, who died Nov. 26, was the lyricist and composer who gave us Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and other shows. In 2010 he spoke about his writing process, from rhyming to finding the right note.

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