Andy Paley

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Andy Paley
Born Washington, D.C.
Origin Albany, New York
Genres Power pop, film score
Associated acts The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, Catfish Black, the Paley Brothers Jonathan Richman, the Sidewinders
Notable instruments
drums, guitar, piano, vocals

Andy Paley is an American record producer and musician, who has been active since the late 1960s. His work includes stints as a producer for Madonna, the Ramones, Jonathan Richman, Debbie Harry and Brian Wilson.

Early career[edit]

Paley began performing in his early teens as a drummer and singer for local Albany NY area bands. He was a founding member of and the drummer for the Boston, Massachusetts band, Catfish Black, which also included future Modern Lovers members Jerry Harrison and Ernie Brooks. The band was renamed the Sidewinders and was later joined by Billy Squier. The band performed around Boston and in NYC at venues like Max's Kansas City. They released an album, produced by Lenny Kaye, which featured songs written and sung by Paley. The Sidewinders broke up in the mid-1970s. Paley then played on Elliott Murphy's album Night Lights, and performed with Jonathan Richman after the break-up of the original Modern Lovers.[1]

The Paley Brothers[edit]

Andy went on to form The Paley Brothers[2] with his brother Jonathan - a guitar/bass player and singer who also was part of the early Boston punk scene, and had played with Boston and NYC bands like The Nervous Eaters and Mong. The Paley Brothers ultimately signed to Sire Records. For Sire, they released a four-song EP, produced by Jimmy Iovine, and a self-titled ten-song album in 1977, produced by Earle Mankey. The album is referred to as power pop,[2] with the punk and straight rock roots of the brothers mixed in. In 1978, The Paley Brothers recorded a single with the Ramones (another Sire group), the Richie Valens song "Come On Let's Go", that was included on the Ramones' Rock and Roll High School soundtrack. Shortly thereafter, an unreleased track, "Baby, Let's Stick Together", was produced by Phil Spector for their second album. According the Sire Records head Seymour Stein, the recording was one of the last sessions done at Gold Star Recording Studios by the Wrecking Crew before the studio burned down.[3]

Despite a lack of commercial success, The Paley Brothers achieved an underground cult following,[how?] and toured extensively, opening for acts ranging from Shaun Cassidy (at Madison Square Garden in 1978) to the Patti Smith Group, and but they disintegrated as an act in 1980 without the second album being finished. Said Jonathan Paley, "It was more of an evolution. Andy went on the road with Patti Smith's band and got into production work; I went and sailed around the world."[3]

In late 2013, The Paley Brothers released a compilation album The Paley Brothers: The Complete Recordings. The album includes 11 tracks of previously unreleased songs from the second album (including "Baby, Let's Stick Together"), along with the fifteen previously-released tracks from the 1977 Paley Brothers EP and album and the single "Come On Let's Go".

Collaborative work[edit]

In 1979, Andy Paley played guitar on Jonathan Richman's album Back in Your Life, and continued to perform on and off with Richman and later incarnations of the Modern Lovers, and produce many of their recordings, through the 1980s. He produced Richman's 1985 album Rockin' and Romance. Andy then focused on songwriting, session work and record production and working with Madonna, k.d. lang, Mandy Barnett, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elton John, Brenda Lee, Little Richard and many others.

Paley has also worked extensively and co-written with Brian Wilson. In 1988 he produced and co-wrote songs on Wilson's solo comback album Brian Wilson and continued to work with him on unreleased material in the 1990s. He also co-wrote numerous tracks on Wilson's 2004 Album "Gettin' In Over My Head".

Film and television work[edit]

He produced the soundtracks for Dick Tracy (1990) and A Walk on the Moon (1999) and wrote the original music for Traveller (1997, starring Bill Paxton). In 2009 he contributed to the soundtrack of World's Greatest Dad, directed by Bobcat Goldthwait and starring Robin Williams. He also wrote the musical score for Season One of Showtime's The L Word.

Paley writes and produces the music for Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants. He and Tom Kenny - the voice of Sponge Bob - co-wrote the It's a Sponge Bob Christmas! album - released in 2012. He leads the Andy Paley Orchestra, which provides the music for The Thrilling Adventure & Supernatural Suspense Hour, a theater group in Los Angeles that performs original stage productions in the style of old radio melodramas.


  1. ^ Tim Mitchell, There’s Something About Jonathan, 1999, ISBN 0-7206-1076-1
  2. ^ a b Tim Sendra. "Paley Brothers | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  3. ^ a b Quoted by Gene Sculatti in liner notes for "The Paley Brothers: The Complete Recordings"