Randy Newman on joining Rock Hall: ‘I'm glad I didn't have to die to get in’

By Daniel S Levine,

When Randy Newman was announced as a member of the latest group of artists to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Oscar-winning, Grammy-winning and Emmy-winning singer-songwriter was relieved. The 69-year-old would get in before he died.

“Years ago I was up for it in some kind of way, and I hoped I'd get in,” the “Short People” singer told Billboard. “When I didn't, I thought maybe after I died I'd get in. My family could go there and see me. But I'm glad I didn't have to die to get in.”

Newman has a slew of awards to his name, including two Oscars for his work on Pixar films. In 2011, he won for Toy Story 3’s “We Belong Together.” He’s working on his next Pixar project, Monsters University, and his first album since 2008.

He is also already a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and was named a Disney Legend. Still, he knows that the Rock Hall is a different honor.

“Well, it's world famous, and it's somehow a bigger thing in the eyes of the world than the Songwriter's Hall of Fame or a star on Hollywood Boulevard,” he explained to Billboard. “The (Rock and Roll) Hall of Fame has other resonance, like the Baseball Hall of Fame has tremendous kind of historical reverence to it. There's a great number of people I respect a great deal in there. It's not a small thing. It's nothing I would ever think, 'Oh, it's nothing.' It's not nothing. It's significant. I'm very happy.”

He has no plans for slowing down, even as his iconic album Sail Away celebrates its 40th anniversary. He doesn’t have any songs finished for his new album, though. “I have to sit down and work at writing them,” he explained. “I don't get ideas very much unless I have to have them. I have to open the process. But I'm confident about it. The last two albums I've made are as well as I do. There was no decline in quality.”

The Rock Hall announced the Class of 2013 on Tuesday. Newman joins Heart, Rush, Public Enemy, Albert King and the late Donna Summer, who died in May. Producers Quincy Jones and Lou Adler will receive the non-performer award.

 
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