I Love LA

Album: Trouble In Paradise (1983)

Songfacts®:

  • Randy Newman was asked to write a song about Los Angeles as a theme to the 1984 Olympics, which were held there. Instead, he wrote a tongue-in-cheek "homage" to the car-cruising, sun-worshipping Los Angeles culture, complete with mentions of a "Big nasty redhead" and a "Bum down on his knees."

    LA officials didn't think this was the image they wanted, but Newman released the song anyway. Despite the unsavory references to the city, the song became an anthem for Los Angeles, as most people didn't listen far beyond the chorus. This is typical of Newman's songwriting; he often writes lyrics that mean more than what's on the surface. "I don't want to sing everything out of the side of my mouth," he once said.
  • "There is an aggressive ignorance to the song - ignorant and proud of it," Newman told Rolling Stone. "There's nothing wrong with the Beach Boys and open-top cars. But the guy talks about the bum and is still shouting, "We love it!"
  • It was Don Henley, a transplant from Texas, who suggested Newman, a native, write a song about Los Angeles, as many of the songs about the city were written by people who weren't from there.
  • Randy Newman's cousin, Tim Newman, directed the video. Tim had lots of experience directing commercials, but had never done a music video. For most of the video, we see Randy driving around Los Angeles, taking in the beautiful sights along the way. Tim said it was the most fun he ever had at his job.
  • For a while this was the adopted theme song for the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team. It is also played after every LA Dodgers home victory. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Julian - Anaheim, CA

Comments: 6

  • Gary from NySomeone famous was “the bum“ in the video, who was it?
  • Mike from West Richland, WaI grew up in Socal and I remember that comercial some what. The only people I remember was
    John McEnroe arguing with a cop over a ticket. (no sound, but it looked like he was arguing with a chair referee at Wimbledon). I also remember Pedro Guerrero, a Dodger player from the ‘80s. He waved at the camera liked he always did, with only the index finger on his right hand.
  • Alan from London, United KingdomThe song was featured in the hilarious Leslie Nielsen movie "Naked Gun"
  • Rich from La, CaThanks Laura, there's a lot of popular myths out there about Randy Newman's Homage to my hometown. Most were started by folks who hate LA.

    And you are right, this is still the first song that plays at the conclusion of all Laker Home Victory's. Its our anthem.
  • Mark from Byrdstown, TnWhat the hell ever happened to Newman? Other than the theme song for "Monk" what is he up to these days?
  • Laura from Cypress, CaTo my knowledge (I was involved in the making of the music video) Randy did not write "I Love LA" because he had been asked to compose a theme for the 1984 Olympics. The song and video were released in early 1983 at which time, thanks to VH1 and MTV, it received national attention. Within months of its' release, Randy and Laura (the big nasty redhead) promoted the song which became popular with radio stations and their listeners who called for the City of LA to adopt the song as the official city anthem. At the same time, Frank Sinatra released "LA is my Lady", which appealed to a different audience. Although the City of LA did not want to officially adopt either song, they did recognize Randy at a city council meeting in which he received a city proclomation. In 1984, Nike aired a commercial which used the song "I Love LA" and featured a few of the US Olympians. This was the songs only tie to the 1984 Olympics. The Los Angeles Lakers did and quite possibly still do play the song at their games. Another interesting fact...the "I Love LA" video was the only non-Michael Jackson video up for "Best Video" at the 1983 American Video Awards. Unfortunately, it did not win.
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