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Randy Newman: My Life in 15 Songs

Here's how a comic genius built one of American music's greatest catalogs

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"I Think It's Going to Rain Today"

This might have been 1964 or '63. I may have had the first two chords of the tune, where the voice starts. I have always loved those vanilla-kind of chords, straight-ahead Stephen Foster. And once I had a style, I crystallized it: The music is emotional – even beautiful – and the lyrics are not. The honest truth is the song bothered me because of the darkness – it felt sophomoric, too maudlin. But Judy Collins did a great version [in 1966]. UB40's [1980 cover] was interesting. And I played piano for Barbara Streisand when she recorded it [in 1970]. Boy, it's real good. She has a hell of a voice.

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