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98 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is not Toy Story
This is just about the best introduction available to one of the best songwriters in the world today. It is a better selection than the more up to date (and far more expensive) Rhino "Best Of" and is better suited to the curious newcomer than the fan oriented box set.
So what is so special about Randy Newman? He is a songwriting craftsman to rank with Carole King or...
Published on 30 Aug. 2002 by J. Skade

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3 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Randy Newman
Wow. You really have to love this guy to listen to this rubbish. Nothing to redeem him whatsoever. Anybody want a free copy, just P&P? Be my guest.
Published on 27 Dec. 2011 by OldSock


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98 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is not Toy Story, 30 Aug. 2002
By 
J. Skade "joeskade" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman (Audio CD)
This is just about the best introduction available to one of the best songwriters in the world today. It is a better selection than the more up to date (and far more expensive) Rhino "Best Of" and is better suited to the curious newcomer than the fan oriented box set.
So what is so special about Randy Newman? He is a songwriting craftsman to rank with Carole King or Lieber and Stoller and his song have been covered by (amongst others) Judy Collins, Harry Nilsson, Tom Jones, Nina Simone, UB40, Peggy Lee and Dusty Springfield. But what sets him apart is his subtle irony and the skewed humanity of his songs. More often than not these are narrated by some unpalateable characters - "In Germany Before The War" for example, though the narrative changes from third person to first, is told from the point of view of the Dusseldorf child murderer. The grim subject matter hides behind a delicate melody and a beautiful string arrangement.
The cd begins with three tracks from Newman's first quirkily orchestrated album the best of which is "Love Story" which with economy and wit encapsulates the emptiness of two lives. "Mama Told Me Not to Come" one of only two tracks from "12 Songs" moves into rock'n'roll territory.
The four tracks from "Sail Away" give a good idea of the different strains in Randy Newman songs. "Sail Away" itself sounds like a big ballad with a beguiling melody and a haunting piano figure, yet the lyrics portray a slave trader enticing negroes aboard his ship with promises of a wonderful life in America. The song becomes a criticism not only of slavery and racism but of American values as a whole. "Simon Smith" is a jaunty piece of fun with a sting in the tail - you could sing this catchy song for years without appreciating the satire. "Political Science" sums up american foreign policy with the line "let's drop the big one now", the song is enormously funny (and quite scary when you think of George W Bush). "God's Song" is a brave attempt to discuss religion in a popular song with God speaking in the first person - Newman often tries to confront big issues and religion crops up again and again in his work.
Newman's next three albums are represented generously here the highlights being "Louisiana 1927" a gorgeous ballad about the Mississippi floods, "Baltimore" and "My Life is Good" a twisted little number narrated by one of Newman's most loathsome characters - called Randy- which name drops Bruce Springsteen to great comic effect.
The cd closes with Newman singing "Lonely at the Top" to an audience which sounds as though it is in single figures (yes,that IS ironic Alana)
Nobody else touches Newman's subject matter, nobody writes with his unsentimental intelligence, beautifully judged irony and unfailing humanity. He is a true great and if you are not moving straight to your shopping basket, I hope it is because you are going to buy all the original albums instead.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic, 29 Jun. 2007
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman (Audio CD)
This is a fabulous collection. If you can get it cheap its an essential purchase, even if you have got all his original albums. The range of music on offer here is amazing. The early tracks like 'Love Story' have a Phil Spector like feel to them. Big orchestral arrangements, contrast wonderfully with Newmans southern drawl and simple Piano parts. Later tracks perhaps, better show the true talent of this great songwriter. From beautiful ballads like 'I think its going to rain today' to various degrees of satire and wit (take your pick from many songs). Randy Newman wrote numerous hits for other people so 'Mama told me not to come' is better known as a Three Dog Night Hit. 'Simon Smith....' was a hit for Alan Price.

Picking favourite tracks is difficult, but upon recently listening to 'Political Science' again, its relevance today is the same as it was in 1972 when I think Nixon was President of the U.S. "South America stole our name, lets drop the big one they'll be no-one left to blame us". However 'My Life is Good.' remains my favourite for his indignant delivery "My Life is good you old bag". A splendid reference to Bruce Springsteen follows later in the song "Rand I'm tired how would you like to be the boss for a while" - cue a Clarence Clemons like Sax solo...

Randy Newman is a criminally under-rated musician and songwriter. Get this collection and find out what you've been missing. Better still if you ever get a chance to catch one of his rare concerts see him live. To that end the last track on the album is probably the best 'Lonely at the Top' (which I believe he wrote with Sinatra in mind), which captures Newman in concert alone at the Piano in 1970. Its just magical.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lonely at the top, 29 Aug. 2009
By 
Dick Fisher (England & France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman (Audio CD)
Why Randy Newman's name is not better known in the UK I do not know. He has a witty and endearing style to his writing and this album contains some real gems. Louisiana 1927 for example tells the story of the 1927 New Orleans floods - a forerunner to those in this century and captures the pathos and human drama caused in a single phrase; "what has happened down here is the wind has changed".

If you like familiarity, there are other songs which you'll recognise - made into hits by others, but with the original capturing the humour and distinctive vocal style of the composer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Randy Newman's greatest hits, 4 April 2011
By 
P. Rudzinski (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman (Audio CD)
I bought this cd on the strength of hearing a few of his songs recently. I was amazed at the quality of his back catalogue and had not known how good he was.
For anyone who likes some of his stuff but has not heard much of it, buy this cd. You won't be disappointed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Hits, 20 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman (Audio CD)
In 2011 the Californian indie rock group The Blood Arm paid homage to this piano-playing, bespectacled Jewish misfit - whose back catalogue has received plenty of critical acclaim but has had little commercial appeal - with a ditty entitled 'Introducing Randy Newman'. Unfortunately, their clunky effort had all the wit and charm of a Barenaked Ladies record.

For a far better tribute to his talents try this budget-priced, broadly chronological 1987 survey of the first 15-20 years of his ongoing career as a solo artist. It provides a pretty representative impression of the various aspects of this often satirical singer-songwriter's work. There are some of his trademark ironically-written political and social commentaries such as 'Political Science', 'God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)', and 'Rednecks'. And there are a couple of heartfelt melancholic ballads like 'I Think It's Going To Rain Today' and 'Marie'. These profound numbers are joined by a few jauntily irreverent vaudevillian numbers as well in 'Mama Told Me Not to Come', 'Simon Smith (And The Amazing Dancing Bear)', and 'Short People'. Lonely at the Top also provides many reminders of why the nasally-voiced, self-styled smart-ass isn't as popular as someone like Elton John, such as 'In Germany Before The War', which pairs a delicate melody and sensitive string arrangement to a grim narrative told from the point of view of a child murderer.

But as with so many Greatest Hits (ahem!?) collections it isn't without its flaws: a couple of his better songs, like 'Suzanne', 'Guilty', and 'Davy the Fat Boy', are missing from the running order; and despite the fact the cover claiming that the CD has been digitally remastered the volume control noticeably waivers between some of its 22 tracks. However, this 70 minute compilation is a cheaper introduction than Best Of Randy Newman and more consistent than the newly-recorded, stripped-down versions of some of Newman's best known songs available on Songbook, Volume I and Randy Newman Songbook Vol. 2.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never a dull moment., 20 Jan. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman (Audio CD)
This was the first album of Randy's I listened to and I bought it on the strength of 'I love LA' which is a fantatsic jumpy, upbeat pop track best played loud. The brilliance of this album though is the sheer variety of musical styles which keep you going to the end. Notable tracks for me are 'Christmas in Capetown'and 'My life is good'. Sometimes the moral/political messages can be overwhelming (i.e 'Short people' ), but it's great music all the same.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars After a slow start, 2 Jun. 2006
This review is from: Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman (Audio CD)
This is irreverant genius, funny off the wall but still profund and moving in places, a unique artist
STAND OUT TRACKS

SHORT PEOPLE
I LOVE LA
MY LIFE IS GOOD
I THINK IT'S GOING TO RAIN
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super Newman, 13 July 2013
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This review is from: Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman (Audio CD)
An excellent compilation of one of Americas finest singer songwriters. Some of the tracks were quite new to me but overall a wonderful album.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 7 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman (Audio CD)
Good stuff
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 10 April 2015
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This review is from: Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman (Audio CD)
Excellent
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Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman
Lonely At The Top: The Best Of Randy Newman by Randy Newman (Audio CD - 1987)
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