Happy 75th Birthday to singer-songwriter and composer Randy Newman. Best known for his distinctive voice and film scores for 8 Pixar films—as well as Ragtime, Meet the Parents, and The Natural—he was hailed as the greatest songwriter alive by Paul McCartney.

His singles included, ‘Short People’, ‘I Love L.A.’,  ‘Feels Like Home’ (Bonnie Raitt), and ‘Mama Told Me Not To Come’ (Three Dog Night). A Grammy and Emmy Award-winner, Newman has been nominated for 20 Academy Awards and won twice—for ‘We Belong Together’ (Toy Story) and ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ (Monsters, Inc.). His eleven solo albums also landed him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. WATCH his most beloved song… (1943)

– Photo by Angela George, CC license

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • 125 years ago today, New Zealand became the first country in which women voted in a national election (1893)
  • American-born socialite Lady Astor was elected as a Member of the Parliament in the UK and became the first woman to sit in the House of Commons (1919)
  • The Grand Ole Opry began broadcasting in Nashville, Tennessee on WSM radio as the Barn Dance (1925)
  • Gaining independence today: Panama from Spain, 1821; Mauritania from France, 1960; East Timor from Portugal (1975)
  • The Rolling Stones released the album Let It Bleed (1969)
  • In the wake of Velvet Revolution protests, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced it will give up its monopoly on political power (1989)
  • President Bill Clinton signed a bill that ended the federal speed limit of 55 mph (1995)
  • It is also a landmark day for Albanians: Over the years, they gained their independence from the Ottoman Empire (1912), were liberated by the Albanian partisans (1944), and voted for their new Constitution by referendum in 1998— all on this, their Flag Day.

Happy Birthday to Berry Gordy, Jr., the record producer, songwriter and founder of the Motown label, who turns 89 today. His gift for identifying and producing musical talent, and the careful management of his artists’ public image, made Motown an industry powerhouse–and a musical genre in itself.berry gordy jr-the Recording Academy-medium

And, what a lineup of stars he managed—the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. Gordy also wrote hundreds of songs and published an autobiography, To Be Loved,

And on this day in 1907, scrap-metal dealer Louis B. Mayer opened his first movie theater n Haverhill, Massachusetts. Growing up poor and dropping out of school, he became the co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios (MGM) in 1924.

Mayer was skilled at developing star actors for his wholesome musicals and dramas, including The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, Gone With the Wind, and Singin’ in the Rain. WATCH a montage of their famous films…