No Reason To Live

Author: Randy Newman Artist: Randy Newman Album: Little Criminals Song: Short People

Being rather short myself I just had to love this song, when I heard it for the first time. As Kurt Vonnegut jr. would have put it, I had to laugh like hell.

Playing The Piano

Wikipedia classifies "Short People" as a Novelty Song and has these quite interesting facts:

Although Newman had never charted a single before and his previous album Good Old Boys had been his first to reach the Billboard Top 150, "Short People" soon gained attention as a novelty song, although some saw it as offensive. The song consequently became a major hit on radio, staying at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and being only kept from reaching #1 by Debby Boone's You Light Up My Life... In 1978, a bill was put forward in the parliament of the state of Maryland to make it illegal to play "Short People" on the radio. Contrary to popular myth, the bill did not pass.

Wikipedia tries hard to make the given offense more digestible and so did the artist on a couple of occasions, as e.g. in an interview with the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star: "It was too bad that was my one big hit--a novelty record like The Chipmunks did," ... "It was a hit that did me no good, that did me harm. A bad break" ... "The song became so popular, ... that I'd watch a ball game on TV and they'd joke about it at half time. I was losing my sense of humor."

For the last twenty years Mr. Newman has worked mostly as a film composer and gained many prizes for that work including an Academy Award. He has scored many of Pixar's movies including Toy Story 1 & 2.

... The paternal side of his family includes three uncles who were noted Hollywood film-score composers: Alfred Newman, Lionel Newman and Emil Newman. Newman's cousins Thomas and David, and nephew Joey are also composers for motion pictures. ... Of all names: Alfred Newman, my ass, mad stuff.

The Lyrics writ out

Short People got no reason, Short People got no reason, Short People got no reason to live.

They got little hands and little eyes. And they walk around tellin' great big lies, they got little noses and tiny little teeth, they wear platform shoes on their nasty little feet.

Well, I don't want no Short People, don't want no Short People, don't want no Short People round here.

Short People are just the same as you and I  (A Fool Such As I). All men are brothers until the day they die  (It's A Wonderful World).

Short People got nobody, Short People got nobody, Short People got nobody to love.

They got little baby legs and they stand so low. You got to pick 'em up just to say hello. They got little cars that go beep, beep, beep. They got little voices goin' peep, peep, peep. They got grubby little fingers and dirty little minds. They're gonna get you every time.

Well, I don't want no Short People, don't want no Short People, don't want no Short People 'round here.

The Song Presented


Randy Newman is the first artist here that gets a second exposure. He maintains a nice if maybe a little boring blog styled website with all his lyrics and webcasts of quite a lot of parts of live performances. Many of those lyrics are very nice and so are the performances. It's mostly in RealMedia, which is a pity. Old fart stuff but so is he and so are we. Amen.

Post Scriptum: For a while I'll be done now with English lyrics that I am obsessed with a bit as I do not hesitate to admit. I shall take it on me and republish some German and Yiddish poetry here in this column. If you take a liking to this, please come back to tinytalk 1.01. Still, i will have to remain adamant in that I don't want no short people here.

last updated: 05.04.22, 07:16

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