What can you tell me about the composer and singer of It’s a Jungle Out There, the theme song from the TV show Monk?
—Frank P., New Mexico
The man behind the song is Randy Newman, a multiple Grammy winner known for his sly and twisted wit as a lyricist as much as for his soundtrack credits and hit songs. He recorded a few mainstream hits, including Short People, I Love L.A. and You’ve Got A Friend In Me (from the movie Toy Story), but his most consistent success is as a songwriter. A Los Angeles native from a musical family, Newman started writing songs at 17. Three Dog Night had a hit with his Mama Told Me Not To Come, and Joe Cocker scored with You Can Leave Your Hat On. He wrote the scores for films such as Ragtime, The Natural, Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and Avalon, receiving 16 Oscar nominations for his work.