Song of the Day #1,046: ‘Rosemary’ – Randy Newman

Of the artists I hold most dear, Randy Newman has gotten the least exposure on the blog to date. I’ve featured only three of his songs over the past few years.

I plan to remedy that over the next two weeks.

Initially I planned to do a traditional 5-day theme week on Newman, but in combing through his albums I was struck by how well he conveys such disparate moods and emotions. Deeply felt, earnest love songs sit next to scathing, cynical diatribes and it’s all quintessentially Randy Newman.

So I’ve decided to showcase that range by presenting one week of sensitive Newman followed by a week of acerbic Newman.

First up is a track from 1970’s 12 Songs, Newman’s second album. His self-titled debut was a heavily orchestrated affair that went out of print for years before resurfacing recently. I don’t own it (more on that later).

12 Songs is a subtle, quiet record featuring Newman on piano backed up by an understated band. What it lacks in production values it makes up for in songwriting brilliance. It remains one of the best things he’s ever done.

The best-known track on 12 Songs is ‘Mama Told Me (Not to Come),’ though it is well known not in Newman’s version but as the rock cover by Three Dog Night. But every song on this record is a highlight. As an introduction to Newman, you can’t do much better than this.

Rosemary, won’t you come out tonight?
The moon is shining and the stars are bright
If you stay inside, how can I love you, dear
When you’re up there and I’m down here?

Come on down, we’ll take a walk in the park
I know a place there where it’s good and dark
I’ll hold yours, baby, and you’ll hold mine
I’m thinking about you all the time

Hear that wind blow
‘Gainst your window
And I call your name

I need you so, baby
I’m ready to go, baby
Ain’t that a shame?

Take your shoes off
Come with me
Take your shoes off

Come on down, we’ll take a walk in the park
I know a place where it’s good and dark
I’ll hold yours, baby, and you’ll hold mine
I’m thinking about you all the time

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,046: ‘Rosemary’ – Randy Newman

  1. Dana says:

    Well, I’m looking forward to the next two weeks. Just heard “Shame” pop up on my IPod on the plane ride back form New York and I was reminded once again how brilliant the man is.

  2. Amy says:

    I’ve been missing Randy Newman week?!?! :(

    This voice just makes me so happy. I’m not familiar with this song, but it has that quintessential Newman sound, so I’m loving it.

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