Little Criminals

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This article is about the music album. For the 1995 film, see Little Criminals (film).
Little Criminals
Studio album by Randy Newman
Released September 23, 1977[1]
Recorded July–September 1977
Warner Bros. Recording Studios, North Hollywood, and The Burbank Studios
Genre Rock
Length 38:21
Label Warner Bros., Reprise
Producer Lenny Waronker, Russ Titelman
Randy Newman chronology
Good Old Boys
(1974)
Little Criminals
(1977)
Born Again
(1979)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau B+[3]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[4]

Little Criminals is a 1977 album by Randy Newman. Like most of Newman's work, the album eschews traditional pop-music themes (there is not one love song on the album) in favor of musical story-telling, often featuring quirky characters and cynical views. The first song on the album – "Short People" – became a hit single in its own right. The album itself peaked at #9 on the US Billboard 200 chart, Newman's highest-charting album to date.

Some of the instrumental work and backing vocals on the album are performed by members of the Eagles. In particular, Glenn Frey played guitar on two tracks, Joe Walsh played guitar on three tracks, and Don Henley and Tim Schmit sang background vocals on one track each. Frey and J. D. Souther, who had earlier been the duo Longbranch Pennywhistle, sang background vocals on three tracks.

Newman wrote, conducted and played keyboards on all tracks. Synthesizers were programmed by Michael Boddicker.

In September 1977, the British music magazine, NME reported the following interview with Newman talking about his then new release. "There's one song about a child murderer," Newman deadpans. "That's fairly optimistic. Maybe. There's one called 'Jolly Coppers on Parade' which isn't an absolutely anti-police song. Maybe it's even a fascist song. I didn't notice at the time. There's also one about me as a cowboy called 'Rider in the Rain.' I think it's ridiculous. The Eagles are on there. That's what's good about it. There's also this song 'Short People.' It's purely a joke. I like other ones on the album better but the audiences go for that one."[5]

The song "Baltimore" was covered by Nina Simone, Nils Lofgren, The Tamlins, David Gray and Billy Mackenzie. The song "I'll Be Home", meanwhile, had been written by Newman years before this album was recorded, and was originally performed in 1970 by Harry Nilsson on his album Nilsson Sings Newman.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Randy Newman. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Short People"   2:54
2. "You Can't Fool The Fatman"   2:44
3. "Little Criminals"   3:04
4. "Texas Girl at the Funeral of Her Father"   2:40
5. "Jolly Coppers on Parade"   3:46
6. "In Germany Before the War"   3:39
Side two
No. Title Length
7. "Sigmund Freud's Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America"   3:02
8. "Baltimore"   4:02
9. "I'll Be Home"   2:47
10. "Rider in the Rain"   3:54
11. "Kathleen (Catholicism Made Easier)"   3:35
12. "Old Man on the Farm"   2:14

Personnel[edit]

  1. "Short People" – 2:54
  2. "You Can't Fool The Fatman" – 2:44
  3. "Little Criminals" – 3:04
  4. "Texas Girl at the Funeral of Her Father" – 2:40
  5. "Jolly Coppers on Parade" – 3:46
  6. "In Germany Before the War" – 3:39
  7. "Sigmund Freud's Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America" – 3:02
  8. "Baltimore" – 4:02
  9. "I'll Be Home" – 2:47
  10. "Rider in the Rain" – 3:54
  11. "Kathleen (Catholicism Made Easier)" – 3:35
  12. "Old Man on the Farm" – 2:14

References[edit]

  1. ^ Liner notes, Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman, 1998
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 31, 1977). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ Rolling Stone review
  5. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 304. CN 5585.