On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day in New York City, several BMI team members were treated to a late-night solo performance by 2003 Richard Kirk Award winner and BMI icon, Randy Edelman, at the trendy new club Chelsea Table + Stage. The sold-out crowd was excited to see Edelman, who began doing his solo show, Around the World in 80 Minutes (more like two hours), sparingly in New York and London about 18 months ago. The evening was a true musical extravaganza that echoed 50 years of music making in every area of composition. With only a piano, Edelman managed to powerfully translate his vast catalog of both passionate songwriting and a deep treasure trove of film music.
Accompanied by both humorous and emotional stories, he launched his program with a series of personal and quirky songs. A conservatory graduate, his virtuosity at the piano is evident from the evening’s beginning, with every passage having sonic resonance. He also showcased many cover versions of his songs, including Barry Manilow’s “Weekend in New England,” Patti LaBelle‘s “Isn’t It A Shame,” The Carpenters’ “You,” Olivia Newton-John’s “If Love Is Real,” Blood Sweat and Tears’ “Blue Street,” and a cascade of others. But as the evening progressed, the music gradually changed, becoming heightened and more complex, signaling Edelman‘s arrival as one of Hollywood’s most prolific composers. He managed to expertly translate his orchestral soundtracks to very specific and musically intricate piano transcriptions, giving a satisfying replication to his film work that covers so many different genres.
He assembled two vast medleys of his scores. The first which he calls his “Haha” comedy medley includes My Cousin Vinny, The Mask, While You Were Sleeping, Kindergarten Cop, 27 Dresses, Ghostbusters II, and Shanghai Noon. He sprinkles into this medley his long running MacGyver theme as well as several fun stories, which include Adam Sandler‘s first film, Billy Madison. After a break with two unlikely song stories, one being his #1 hip-hop song “My Place,” recorded by Nelly, then contrasted with his moving tale of the great Bing Crosby’s last song ever recorded, “The Woman on Your Arm,” which is Edelman’s tribute to his grandparents.
He then switched gears continuing with the more serious “Non- Haha” movie medley, full of his soaring and emotional scores for Dragonheart, Gettysburg, XXX, The Bruce Lee Story, Anaconda, and Last of the Mohicans. He referred laughingly after that to several children’s scores, The Chipmunks, The Care Bears, and a shaggy dog named Beethoven, and then revisited a few of his sports themes, notably
BMI had the chance to catch up with him at the after party. He recalled getting an advance check from BMI when he was 17 years old for $500. When his father asked him what it was for, he hesitated and said he didn’t know. His father said, “Well, this seems to be a pretty good organization.” Edelman also shared his advice to all young composers, which is to forget about composition at the start. More important is to first be a wonderful musician, practice every day, and listen all the time to every possible form of music that has ever been written…everything…then consider film composition.
What’s next for Edelman? He has just finished the Amazon Prime horror film The Possession of Anne, the documentary Too Hot to Handle, the comedy A Look in the Rear View and has recently released the music to his musical Shortcuts, about the building of the Panama Canal. He is also starting his new album, Can’t Be Killed by Any Conventional Means. As far as his March 16 show, while it may have seemed he was winging it at times, nothing could be further from the truth. It was a detailed, thought out, musical romp, through his back pages, told as a sensational musical tale, and there’s more on the way.