In an era when political correctness is pursued to unyielding extremes, singer-songwriter Randy Newman is an astute observer, immune to any notion that social commentary should refrain from satire and stereotypes. Eight years after Three Dog Night earned him his first chart success by covering his song "Mama Told Me Not to Come," Newman conquered the Top 40 on his own via 1978's "Short People," generating as much controversy as he did record sales. It wasn't the only time he caused indignation; one of Newman's early strengths was his ability to level scathing indictments against egoism and injustice by cushioning his tunes with hooks and humor. His "Rednecks" lambasted the South's good-ol'-boy mentality, just as "Sail Away" pierced any notion of benevolence attached to early America's slave traders. A later tune, "I Love L.A.," took on the yuppie mentality, challenging the dictate that greed was good. Equally adept at writing soundtracks a trait he inherited naturally from his uncles Alfred and Lionel, two of Hollywood's most revered composers he dulled his edge and achieved his greatest acclaim by becoming Disney's preferred songsmith, in the process garnering an Oscar nomination for "You've Got a Friend" from the animated film Toy Story. It's rare to find Newman touring and even rarer to see his name on a Miami marquee, which make this concert an auspicious event indeed. Lee Zimmerman
Randy Newman performs at 8:00 p.m. Thursday,
October 26, at the Carnival Center for the
Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami.
Tickets cost $43, $53, and $65. Call