…is surely provided by this interview with Randy Newman.
I mention the Beach Boys, and how I love them (‘yeah, they’re great’), but that Brian Wilson’s arrangements sound meek next to Nelson Riddle’s. ‘Absolutely. Those guys were really sophisticated. Gordon Jenkins, Billy May. The Beach Boys was baby stuff.’ The one pop writer he gives unqualified praise to is Carole King. He recalls going up into the hills above LA with his teenage friend Lenny Waronker — the son of a music executive, who grew up to be one himself — so they could listen to a hip Chicago radio station. ‘He’d say, “Oh, that’s a Carole King song.” And it was better, her stuff. I could hear it. And a lot of the reason it was better is that she knew the old song repertory.’