Randy Newman has long been one of the most musically and lyrically ambitious singer-songwriters in popular music history. By 17 Newman was a working songwriter and in 1968 he made his debut with Randy Newman. Before long an unusually wide range of artists were recording his songs. Critics lauded the musical depth, edge and literary quality of his lyrics as the 70's brought 12 Songs, Live and the classic Sail Away. Produced by Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelma, the adventurous 1972 release employs both large ensembles and leaner groups and ranges from the satiric title track about slave traders to material previously covered by other artists like "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear" (Alan Price) and "Dayton, Ohio - 1903" (Harry Nilsson) to a song composed specifically for Frank Sinatra in mind "Lonely at the Top." Bottom line, Newman's quiet masterpiece Sail Away is among the darkest, funniest and most insightful set of songs ever recorded.