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The album was not a commercial success, but critics liked it (it won a "Record of the Year" award from Stereo Review magazine), and it paved the way for Newman's 1970 release, 12 Songs, a more stripped-down sound that showcased Newman's piano.
Ry Cooder's slide guitar and contributions from Byrds members Gene Parsons and Clarence White helped to give the album a much rootsier feel.
Newman kept a close musical relationship with Harpers Bizarre, offering them some of his own compositions, including "Simon Smith" and "Happyland".
The band recorded six Newman compositions during their short initial career (1967–1969).
Records and his friendship with Newman, Russell and Parks began a creative circle around Waronker at Warner Bros.
that became one of the keys to Warner Bros.' subsequent success as a rock music label.
The album also featured "Burn On", an ode to an infamous incident in which the heavily polluted Cuyahoga River literally caught fire.
In this period, Newman began a long professional association with childhood friend Lenny Waronker.
Waronker had been hired to produce the Tikis, the Beau Brummels and the Mojo Men, who were all contracted to the Los Angeles independent label Autumn Records.
He lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, as a small child and spent summers there until he was 11 years old, when his family returned to Los Angeles.
The paternal side of his family includes grandparents Luba (née Koskoff) (July 21, 1883 – March 3, 1954) and Michael Newman (Nemorofsky) (1874–1948), and three uncles who were noted Hollywood film-score composers: Alfred Newman, Lionel Newman and Emil Newman.
12 Songs was also critically acclaimed (6th best album of the seventies according to Rolling Stone critic Robert Christgau), but again found little commercial success, though Three Dog Night made a huge hit of his "Mama Told Me Not to Come".