Little Criminals proved to be Randy Newman's commercial breakthrough, thanks in large part to an unlikely top 10 novelty hit. "Short People" may be responsible for positing Newman in the public consciousness as a kind of highbrow Ray Stevens-type wag. On the bright side, it sneaked its B-side--the unremittingly grim album closer, "Old Man on the Farm"--onto thousands of jukeboxes. One can imagine barflies the world over punching in the wrong number and being confronted by a solo pianist morosely mumbling, "Waitin' for some rain to fall / Waitin' for some mail to come / Waitin' for the dawn again / Old man on the farm." In 1977 that may have been more subversive than "Anarchy in the U.K." While Little Criminals isn't as focused as its studio predecessors and is marred by one or two throwaways, it's studded with memorable songs, including "Baltimore" (one of Newman's best rock arrangements), the desolate "Texas Girl at the Funeral of Her Father," and "In Germany Before the War," a chiller inspired by M, Fritz Lang's 1931 melodrama about a child-murderer.