Newborn moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s to record on the Contemporary label and, while he enjoyed some success, many critics dismissed him as having become such a technical virtuoso with powerhouse chops that he had lost all emotion and feeling in his music. Whether it was the result of this kind of rejection, as some feel, or if Newborn simply suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness, he fell into a slow and steady psychological decline. For the next decade he spent time in and out of mental institutions. His career was almost nonexistent. Compounding that was a hand injury that impaired his playing, as well as the fact that musical tastes were changing rapidly. Things weren’t the same for many of the world’s great jazz artists as they had been in the 1940s and 1950s. Newborn moved back to Memphis in the early 1970s, which, according to some, accelerated his mental decline. In 1974, while preparing to record the album Solo Piano, which was to be his comeback album, he was attacked and brutally beaten, leaving him hospitalized with several broken fingers, a fractured cheekbone, and other injuries that required surgery. Surprisingly, however, on the evening of his release from the hospital, Newborn went to Ardent Studios in Memphis and recorded “Solo Piano”. Although it received mixed reviews from critics, it was nominated for a Grammy Award the following year. The album was produced by Newborn’s close friend and colleague Fred Ford, a jazz pioneer himself who in the late 1970s traveled with Newborn to the Montreaux Jazz Festival and other European gigs. Ford also used Newborn on another album he produced, Vanilla, by actress Cybil Shepherd.