Song of the Day #1,530: ‘Every Time it Rains’ – Randy Newman

My next ‘Piano Man’ is one of the all-time greats… Randy Newman. Newman has had such a long and varied career, alternating between biting satire and Disney movie scores, that it seems silly to pin him down into specific categories.

But that’s not going to stop me.

Newman got his start in the Brill Building tradition, writing elegant, soaring pop ballads for the likes of Dusty Springfield and Peggy Lee.

When he started recording his own music, he revealed his love for New Orleans jazz, a style he has stayed with for 50 years. But he has also demonstrated a folk influence, with some of his early work nodding to Bob Dylan.

I can even argue that Newman gets a check in the ‘Country Plus’ category — just listen to ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me,’ the Toy Story theme he wrote for Sheriff Woody, ‘Big Hat, No Cattle’ from Bad Love or ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ from 12 Songs.

That leaves ‘Malancholy’ and Mr. Newman certainly doesn’t disappoint. He has penned some of the most mournful, lovely songs I’ve ever heard. Love songs, lost love songs, songs about giving up or never losing hope. The man wrote ‘When She Loved Me,’ the devastating tear-jerker at the center of Toy Story 2, and that pretty much solidifies his melancholy bona fides all by itself.

So Randy Newman becomes my first artist to land a clean sweep of the five categories (nobody else has managed more than three so far). Does that make him my ultimate musical sweet spot? Could be.

Every time it rains
I sit at home and wonder why
Ever since you said good-bye
I’ve felt so all alone
Every time it rains
Summer showers soak the ground
I watch the rain come pouring down
And I call out you name

Every time it rains
I hang my head and want to die
And I don’t seem to care that I’m
just not making it on my own
Every time it rains

Sometimes late at night
I close my eyes
And pretend that you’re here with me
But every time it rains
I realize just how lonely my life is going to be

Every time it rains
Every time I hear the raindrops fall
I may say I don’t mind at all
But I do

Every time it rains
Every time I try to tell myself
That in time I’ll find somebody else
But it won’t be you
Every time it rains
Every time it rains

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,530: ‘Every Time it Rains’ – Randy Newman

  1. Dana says:

    Newman is, no doubt, the man! Despite limited vocal and technical abilities, he can write like few others in multiple genres and styles. For me, though, the sweet spot is when he roots his melodies firmly in the jazz, blues and folk styles.

  2. Rob says:

    Randy Newman is an American Treasure, along the likes of Mark Twain. It’s hard to believe that the same man wrote “When She Loved Me”, “It’s Money That Matters”, “Dixie Flyer”, “Shame”, “Political Science”, “I Want You To Hurt Like I Do” and “Miss You”. He can write it all … very well. He may not have a mantlepiece littered with Grammies or Oscars (though he does have some) like artists like Prince or Michael Jackson, but I believe he is regarded as one of our generations finest songwriters, a master craftsman.

  3. Amy says:

    I think you’re stretching to fit him into a couple of these categories, but I have no argument with you, Dana, or Rob – the man is, indeed, an American Treasure, who is one of the finest songwriters of all time.

    Of course, this conclusion leads me back to my very first reaction to your project – why can’t you respond to something simply because it’s fine, without it having to comport to some category or another. Randy Newman is brilliant, sharp, funny, warm, and wise – how could someone who appreciates quality NOT appreciate him?!

  4. Clay says:

    My attempt to find common threads among my favorite artists is not intended to diminish their talents in any way. But I think there are talented musicians of all sorts and people tend to like certain ones for certain reasons.

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