Guest DJ Randy Newman : All Songs Considered In this 2008 interview Randy Newman talks about his musical family, how Ray Charles has influenced his work over the years and what it was like hearing The Beatles for the first time.

Guest DJ Randy Newman

Guest DJ Randy Newman

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Note: This week we're featuring select episodes from our Guest DJ archives. Today we've got a conversation with Randy Newman. The singer, composer and pianist recently released his 11th solo album. It's called Dark Matter. Bob Boilen originally spoke with Newman back in 2008 when Newman released his previous record, Harps And Angels.

Randy Newman, performing at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall Ross Gilmore/Redferns hide caption

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Ross Gilmore/Redferns

Randy Newman, performing at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Ross Gilmore/Redferns

All Songs Considered's Bob Boilen says that Randy Newman's new CD, Harps and Angels, is as good as anything he's ever done — and, at times, better. Boilen says he's happy he doesn't have to say, "I really liked his older stuff," and that it's a relief to be able to say, "I like him better when he's older." He invited Randy Newman to guest DJ an episode of the show and talk about his favorite songs, as well as the musicians who've influenced him the most.

Newman tells stories about his musical family. Three of his uncles composed for film, the most well-known being Alfred Newman. He recalls the lady who took care of him and his brothers when he was young introducing him to LaVern Baker and Elvis Presley. But Newman says that Ray Charles was probably his biggest influence; Newman thinks he sounded like Ray Charles before he even heard him. And he remembers the rock-star stature of the conductor Toscanini and the first time he heard the Beatles' harmonies.

Guest DJ Randy Newman

How Green Was My Valley

Love Denied

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Alfred Newman

  • Song: Love Denied
  • from How Green Was My Valley
Beethoven cover

Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21

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Arturo Toscanini

  • Song: Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
  • from Beethoven: 9 Symphonies/Leonore Overture No. 3
Saved cover

Saved

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LaVern Baker

  • Song: Saved
  • from Soul on Fire: The Best of LaVern Baker
Harps and Angles cover

Harps and Angels

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Randy Newman

  • Song: Harps and Angels
  • from Harps and Angels
Ray Charles cover

Just for a Thrill

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Ray Charles

  • Song: Just for a Thrill
  • from Genius of Ray Charles
Randy Newman cover

Political Science

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Randy Newman

  • Song: Political Science
  • from The Randy Newman Songbook, Vol. 1
Cover for The Beatles 1

From Me to You

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The Beatles

  • Song: From Me to You
  • from The Beatles 1