Every day, somewhere across the globe, someone is enjoying the music of Andrew Gold. Whether it’s his joyous ode “Thank You for Being a Friend,” his plaintive hit “Lonely Boy,” his chiming guitar work and supple arrangements on various classic tracks such as Linda Ronstadt’s smash “You’re No Good,” his crafty, ear-friendly art-pop as one half of the duo Wax UK, or one of his engaging children’s albums, Andrew produced some of the most beloved sounds of the past 50 years.
Andrew’s remarkable career in popular music showcased his prodigious talents as a mellifluous, passionate singer; a polished, thoughtful, astute songwriter; a creative, meticulous producer, arranger and engineer; and a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist. Born in Burbank, CA. on August 2, 1951 and raised in Hollywood, Andrew was a precocious kid. He wrote his first songs when he was a mere 13 years old, dazzled by the sweet and glistening din of the British Invasion ensembles – especially the Beatles. Diligently, he mastered a band’s worth of instruments including guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. It’s no surprise that music was Andrew’s calling. His father, Ernest Gold, was one of Hollywood’s premier composers, winning an Academy Award for scoring the epic feature-film “Exodus.” And his mother, Marni Nixon, was an accomplished singer and musical performer renowned for providing the singing voices of famous actresses in high-profile films, such as Natalie Wood in “West Side Story”; Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady”; and Deborah Kerr in “The King and I.”
While a schoolboy abroad in England, Andrew scored his first recording contract at the age of 16 after he submitted a selection of demos to Polydor Records’ London office. It would only be a few years later when he would have his first major impact on the world of pop music, teaming up with then-rising country-rock singer Linda Ronstadt and her producer Peter Asher. Beginning with her 1974 breakthrough album “Heart Like a Wheel,” Andrew collaborated on the majority of Linda's records in the 1970s. He sang and played behind her as a mainstay of her band, manning virtually every instrument on her #1 hit "You're No Good" (which features a classic Gold guitar bridge) and much of “Heart Like a Wheel." As Linda’s go-to arranger, he crafted the sounds of such memorable Ronstadt chart-toppers as "When Will I Be Loved," and "Heatwave.” Andrew was in Linda’s band from 1973 until 1977, and also played with her from time to time throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Earning kudos from critics and fans as well as the respect of his peers, Andrew was subsequently invited to share his skills with a who’s who of music-industry superstars. His vocal and instrumental prowess and deft songwriting enhanced the records or live performances of many major artists, including Celine Dion, Carly Simon, 10cc, James Taylor, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Diana Ross, Cher, Art Garfunkel, Trisha Yearwood, Wynonna Judd, Jesse McCartney, Eric Carmen, Jennifer Warnes, Stephen Bishop, Nicolette Larson, Eric Carmen, Maria Muldaur, Neil Diamond, Juice Newton, Leo Sayer, Vince Gill, Aaron Neville, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Japanese superstar Eikichi Yazawa.
But Andrew was becoming an accomplished solo artist, too. In the mid-‘70s, he released four well-received pop-rock albums: “Andrew Gold” (1975), “What’s Wrong with This Picture” (1976), “All This and Heaven Too” (1978), and “Whirlwind” (1979). The elegant, melancholy single "Lonely Boy," taken from “What’s Wrong with This Picture,” was a Top 10 hit in the U.S., as was "Thank You for Being a Friend" from “All This and Heaven Too.” "Thank You for Being a Friend" later became the theme for the massively popular television situation-comedy “The Golden Girls” – which continues to be watched and adored on cable TV, in syndication on broadcast TV, and on DVD throughout the world since its original NBC network run from 1985–1992. The song itself is considered a classic pop tune – a uplifting anthem of camaraderie with appeal that cuts across all demographics. Meanwhile, “Lonely Boy” has been featured on the soundtracks of a variety of films including 1997’s “Boogie Nights” and 1998’s “The Waterboy.”
Over the past three decades, Andrew continued to fashion memorable music. In the U.K. and beyond, he continued to have solo success with singles such as "Never Let Her Slip Away" and "How Can This Be Love.” His popularity the U.K. was such that he was asked to join hit-making British group 10cc in the early 1980s. Although he declined the offer, he joined with 10cc singer/songwriter/musician Graham Gouldman to form Wax UK in 1983, recording three albums that spawned two international hits, "Right Between the Eyes" and "Bridge to Your Heart.” Although they dissolved Wax in 1989, Gold and Gouldman continued to write and record together whenever possible. Back in the early 1970s, Andrew had co-founded the ensemble Bryndle with Karla Bonoff, Wendy Waldman, and Kenny Edwards; they reunited in the early 1990s, producing the tuneful, engaging albums “Bryndle” (1995) and “House of Silence” (2001) before going their separate ways again.
True to his lineage, Andrew produced and wrote songs and music for numerous television and movie soundtracks. He also sang “Final Frontier,” the theme to the long-running Paul Reiser-Helen Hunt TV sitcom “Mad About You.” (Andrew’s rendition of “Final Frontier" was actually used as the wake-up call for the Mars Pathfinder space probe in 1996, making his vocal the first human voice heard on Mars.) He found time to write and produce hit recordings for many of his aforementioned friends and colleagues, as well as producing a handful of tracks on “The Stars Come out for Christmas” series of charity albums. In addition, he composed and recorded the exuberant holiday-themed children’s albums “Halloween Howls” and “A Sugarbeats Christmas.” With whimsy and affection, he formulated “Greetings from Planet Love” as a one-man band under the pseudonym The Fraternal Order of the All, with original songs written and performed in the style of Gold's favorite 1960s bands such as The Beatles, The Byrds, and The Beach Boys. He released an album of Wax UK rarities, “Bikini Wax,” and a best-of compilation with bonus cuts, “The Wax Files.” A career retrospective entitled “Thank You for Being a Friend: The Best of Andrew Gold” was issued in 1997.
Andrew didn’t stop there. Finely-wrought solo albums – “....Since 1951,” “Warm Breezes,” “The Spence Manor Suite,” and “Intermission” – were confected and unleashed. There is still a considerable amount of his studio work that has yet to be released but should soon be made available to the public.
Gold died in his sleep, apparently from heart failure, on June 3, 2011 at age 59. He is survived by his second wife Leslie Kogan, his three daughters from his first marriage, and his mother. And though he passed away, his music will live on and on.
As longtime friend and Grammy-winning producer Peter Asher put it, “Andrew's talent was almost eerie. He was a self-taught instinctive musician who seemed to be able to play any instrument he had a mind to. He was a brilliant writer, a great singer, and a highly imaginative producer and arranger -- on top of being a multi-instrumentalist of the highest order. And he never failed to come up with something extraordinary every time he played.”