Randy Newman’s Macworld 2008 Performance – Brilliant or Crazy?

Stevenotes are often noted by a musical guest or performer. Typically they sing a song and that’s it. Macworld 2008 was a little different. Singer/Songwriter Randy Newman performed – and spoke – at the Keynote in a way that I don’t think any other performer ever has.

The point of his first “song” seems to be that while the US Government is currently being run horribly, that history has provided proof that they are not the worst leaders in the history of the world. I hesitate to call it a song, because it wasn’t really sung, it was more rambled or spoken while the piano was being played.

Then he rambles some more about knowing how to operate his answering machine. Then he suggests that Buzz and Woody from “Toy Story” had a love scene that was cut from the original film, followed by a performance of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”

Regardless of your political beliefs, I’m not really sure that an Apple Keynote is the best place to be bringing them into the spotlight – mainly just because that seems “off topic”. That would be like me discussing the Democratic Primaries here on the site. It’s a topic I certainly have the right as a US Citizen to discuss – but it’s kind of off topic for an Apple blog.

You can watch the video above to see Randy’s entire performance at Macworld 2008 and decide for yourself how you feel about the appropriateness of his performance – and heck, you might get an idea of the man’s general sanity.

One thing you have to give him, like it or hate it, his performance will definitely be remembered for years to come.

Comments

  1. i just kept thinking of will saso and why he wasn’t up there performing….

  2. I think he’s a talented artist but his appearance at Macworld was… weird…
    It’s almost like HE didn’t even know what he was doing there. He seemed to not even know Steve Jobs’ name, he only referred to him with pronouns. His political ramblings and incoherent attempt to relate to technology were definitely unnecessary. All he had to do was say “hello” to everyone, play a song… and say “thank you for having me”.

  3. I thought he was awesome. People are too uptight; it’s ok to hear opinions that not everyone agrees with!

  4. I can’t stand when I hear a musician throwing in their 2 cents about their political views. I paid money or showed up to be entertained, not to hear your 2 cents on politics.

    That’s why I can’t stand U2 and don’t get Apple’s love affair with them. Every time Bono opens his mouth in public or between songs it’s to peddle his views on something. Shut just up and sing the song already.

    Grrr! …I better stop….

  5. While Randy Newman is an excellent singer/songwriter, he remains a kook and should stick to what he knows.

    Piko

  6. John Morgan says:

    It was a brilliant performance! Sort of like an updated “Political Science”. I guess if you’re humor-challenged it wasn’t very interesting though.

  7. first of all, Randy Newman has a long history with Pixar/Disney and now Apple. But really, are you kids that naive to think that Apple, (or Microsoft, Sony or MSNBC/General Electric)… are just neutral companies making entertainment and consumer goods? These companies ALL have private armies of lobbyists and lawyers to protect their corporate interests in the political sphere. They have as much of a political agenda as anyone when it comes down to their bottom line. Some lean conservative, some liberal… all lean corporate. Apple long ago seems to have determined that playing to progressive/liberal politics and consumers will benefit their bottom line. Its a niche market like any other and it has worked well for Apple in the ‘creative’ marketplace which is a bit more open-minded and liberal than the business world at large.

    It really bugs me when people can’t understand U2 is no more political than any other band… its just a bit more partisan in a way that tics off conservatives like Krye up here. heheh…

  8. There were two other “political” suggestions during the keynote.
    Steve’s choice of Linkin Park song which he let play for awhile.
    As well as pointing out the Political Debate Podcast and recommending people check it out.

  9. Richard Wilson says:

    “Regardless of your political beliefs, I’m not really sure that an Apple Keynote is the best place to be bringing them into the spotlight – mainly just because that seems “off topic”.”

    I thought that It was great !!! Our world is run be F’ing lunatics and most people don’t even know it… Anything to get the word out. Or we can just bury our heads in the latest and greatest gadget… Or our ASS !!!

  10. I was there for the keynote and really enjoyed Randy Newman’s performance. It was not the centerpiece of the keynote. It was some entertainment tacked at the end. I understand that you might have some ruffled feathers if you are a Republican partisan but I don’t think his remarks were out of line or unsupportable.

  11. It seems to me, that people in the states need to not only bring up their political issues more often (if that’s possible) but also make actions on their accusations.

  12. I’ve heard that song before, a while ago, and while I don’t think he was the BEST choice of artist for the Stevenote, I don’t think he picked that song with some sort of ‘I’ve got a soapbox, I’m gonna use it’ ulterior motives…

    Granted, he seems like a nut-bar, but he’s funny and endearing and a good artist.

  13. Rudi Simmons says:

    I don´t really see what the big deal is. To me, he seemed a kind, intelligent, talented old man who was just being himself on stage, not putting on an act for anyone…

  14. Well, I posted the video on YouTube. And yes, I was surprised in the first moment. People say “never involve politics in business”, which is true.

    But on the other hand:
    - I found it a brave and strong step of Apple – respect!
    - Consider, Apple used to have the slogan “Think Different”
    - Randy is an artist, and it was satire, it was art
    - I am sure, the large huge majority liked the performance
    - Besides all political positions: I liked the smart mix of art, love to his country (call it patriotism if you will), criticism, scathing humor and satire.

    At the bottom line: Isn’t all that rather something positive?

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