Ira Newborn

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Ira Newborn
Birth nameJames Ira Newborn
Born (1949-12-26) December 26, 1949 (age 73)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation(s)Composer, orchestrator, conductor, actor
Musical career
GenresFilm score
Years active1975–present

James Ira Newborn (born December 26, 1949) is an American musician, actor, orchestrator and composer, best known for his work composing motion picture soundtracks.

Life and career[edit]

Newborn was born in New York City. References to him as James Ira are the result of a joke and incorrect. He has scored or written songs for films such as Sixteen Candles,[1] Weird Science, Ferris Bueller's Day Off,[2][3] Uncle Buck, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Mallrats, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective[4] and Into the Night, for which he wrote music for B.B. King. He frequently worked with director John Hughes. He also stepped in as musical director and producer for The Blues Brothers. Newborn's many film credits also include a small acting role in Xanadu, in which he appears as a 1940s bandleader.

Newborn may be best known for composing the soundtrack for the Naked Gun series of police satires starring Leslie Nielsen. Newborn's brassy big band/blues theme song for the franchise first appeared on the TV series that inspired the films, 1982's Police Squad!.

Newborn has also worked in concerts and commercials, on Broadway and in the recording industry as a performer, arranger, composer and conductor.

He is also an adjunct faculty member at New York University, from which he received his bachelor's degree in 1972.[5] Influenced by an eclectic variety of composers, such as Johann Sebastian Bach, James Brown and the Beatles, as a guitarist Newborn led and played in several musical groups before signing on as the musical director for the vocal group the Manhattan Transfer.

Newborn has contributed to albums by many artists such as Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Billy Joel and the Pointer Sisters.

As a songwriter[edit]

Newborn wrote two songs performed by B.B. King for the Into the Night soundtrack: "My Lucille" and "Into the Night." Two songs co-written by Newborn appeared on the Into the Night soundtrack album, but not in the film: "Don't Make Me Sorry," co-written by Joe Esposito and performed by Patti LaBelle, and "Keep It Light," co-written by Reginald "Sonny" Burke and performed by Thelma Houston.

Newborn co-wrote "Clap Your Hands" for the Manhattan Transfer and "Get It On and Have a Party" for Patti Brooks on the Dr. Detroit soundtrack. Both "Geek Boogie" from Sixteen Candles and "Geek Romance" from Weird Science were credited to Ira and the Geeks.

He co-wrote "I Guess I'm Just Screwed" for The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear with David Zucker and Robert LoCash. With Peter Segal, he co-wrote "The Food Song" for the Naked Gun 33+13: The Final Insult soundtrack.



Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
1981 All Night Long Jean-Claude Tramont Universal Pictures with Richard Hazard and José Padilla
1983 Doctor Detroit Michael Pressman Universal Pictures soundtrack produced with Robert K Weiss inc song writing credits for James Brown, Pattie Brooks and Dan Aykroyd
1984 Sixteen Candles John Hughes Universal Pictures with Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall
1985 Into the Night John Landis Universal Pictures
Weird Science John Hughes Universal Pictures
1986 Wise Guys Brian De Palma Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Ferris Bueller's Day Off John Hughes Paramount Pictures
1987 Dragnet Tom Mankiewicz Universal Pictures
Amazon Women on the Moon Joe Dante
Carl Gottlieb
Peter Horton
John Landis
Robert K. Weiss
Universal Pictures
Planes, Trains and Automobiles John Hughes Paramount Pictures with Steve Martin and John Candy
1988 Caddyshack II Allan Arkush Warner Bros. with Jackie Mason and Robert Stack
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! David Zucker Paramount Pictures
1989 Collision Course Lewis Teague De Laurentiis Entertainment Group with Jay Leno and Pat Morita
Uncle Buck John Hughes Universal Pictures with John Candy and Macaulay Culkin
1990 Short Time Gregg Champion 20th Century Fox
Gladden Entertainment
with Dabney Coleman and Matt Frewer
My Blue Heaven Herbert Ross Warner Bros.
1991 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear David Zucker Paramount Pictures
1992 The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them Matthew Meshekoff Miramax
Brain Donors Dennis Dugan Paramount Pictures
Innocent Blood John Landis Warner Bros.
1994 Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Tom Shadyac Warner Bros.
Morgan Creek Productions
Naked Gun 33+13: The Final Insult Peter Segal Paramount Pictures
1995 The Jerky Boys: The Movie James Melkonian Touchstone Pictures
Mallrats Kevin Smith Gramercy Pictures
1996 High School High Hart Bochner TriStar Pictures
1997 Bad Manners Jonathan Kaufer Phaedra Cinema
1998 BASEketball David Zucker Universal Pictures Credited as James Ira Newborn



  1. ^ Trunick, Austin. "Sixteen Candles". Under The Radar. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  2. ^ Kamen, Matt. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off soundtrack is finally being released". Wired. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  3. ^ Zaleski, Annie (15 September 2016). ""Sixteen Candles" is begging for the "Ferris Bueller" treatment". Salon. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  4. ^ Holden, Stephen (4 February 1994). "Reviews/Film; On the Trail Of a Lost Fish". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Ira Newborn: Music Adjunct Faculty, Music and Performing Arts Professions". NYU Steinhardt. New York University. Retrieved 31 December 2020.

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