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Randy Newman. 'The Man They All Dig Doesn't Dig Himself'
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September 8th, 1969: Randy Newman. "The Man They All Dig Doesn't Dig Himself"

At 26, Randy Newman says he is getting old and losing enthusiasm, despite receiving praise from the likes of Paul McCartney and Frank Sinatra. Newman speaks with Royston Eldridge from Melody Maker.

The events we write about at Gaslight Records happened in some form or another 50 years ago to the day. Roll along with us and imagine you are back in 1969.

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September 8th, 1969: Randy Newman released his self-titled debut album last year. The 26-year-old's song, "I Think It's Going To Rain Today" has already been covered by artists such as Eric Burdon & The Animals, Nina Simone and Ray Charles.

Earlier this year, Royston Eldridge of Melody Maker spoke with Randy Newman about his songwriting, being covered by popular artists, and feedback he has received from the likes of Paul McCartney and Frank Sinatra. Here are some of Newman's comments from the interview.

On his songs: "They embarrass me, they aren't what I thought they might have been. I wasn't satisfied with the way most artists have recorded my songs, no artist is. It's my own fault, I'm too lazy. I think I'm getting old and losing a bit of my enthusiasm for it. I'm getting more cynical about hits which is deadly. I concentrated on myself for a while. It was something I had to do.

I don't like what I do in retrospect. I can't retain my pride in anything no matter how many people pat me on the back and say how great one of my songs is. It doesn't do anything for me.

It's a movement of time rather than progression. 'Don't look back' is excellent advice in this business but that's a lazy man's refuge and I don't give myself that refuge anymore, I don't listen. There are some numbers that I cringe to think I wrote.

The radio depresses me. I don't listen too much but the Cream's 'Sunshine Of Your Love' was good. It was like I was 14 again. It cheered me up to hear it."

On artists he'd like to cover his songs: "Ray Charles did 'I Think It's Gonna Rain'. The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix - they're the people I like. Dylan would be a great honor."

On praise from other artists: "McCartney called me from LA to say how much he liked my album, which was a kick for me. I might take a shot at the Sinatra album. I think it's impossible, but I'll be proud to do it."

On writing pop songs: "As a writer of pop songs, I try to produce something that will be commercial. This is the job of the popular songwriter.

I never forget that song is destined, hopefully, for public consumption, but I never calculatingly set out to write something commercial. I haven't that brand of intelligence."

On being a singer: "I don't think I have the personality to be a singer."

Listen to Randy Newman's debut album below via Spotify or Apple Music.

Listen to Eric Burdon and The Animals version of "I Think It's Going To Rain Today" from 1967 below.

Quotes are taken from an article first published in 1969 in Melody Maker: "Randy Newman: The Man They All Dig Doesn't Dig Himself". Royston Eldridge.

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