Andrew Gold performing in 1980
|Birth name||Andrew Maurice Gold|
|Born||August 2, 1951|
Burbank, California, U.S.
|Died||June 3, 2011 (aged 59)|
Los Angeles, California
Andrew Maurice Gold (August 2, 1951 – June 3, 2011) was an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and record producer who influenced much of the sound of Los Angeles-dominated pop rock in the 1970s. Gold played on scores of records by other artists, most notably Linda Ronstadt's, and had his own success with the U.S. Top 40 hits "Lonely Boy" (1977) and "Thank You for Being a Friend" (1978), as well as the UK Top Five hit "Never Let Her Slip Away" (1978). In the 1980s, he had further international chart success as half of Wax, a collaboration with 10cc's Graham Gouldman.
During the 1990s, Gold produced, composed, performed on and wrote tracks for films, commercials, and television soundtracks, such as "Final Frontier", the theme of the sitcom Mad About You. Some of his older works later experienced newfound popularity: "Thank You for Being a Friend" was used as the opening theme for The Golden Girls, and the children's novelty song "Spooky Scary Skeletons" (1996) became an Internet meme in the 2010s. In 1997, Gold released a tribute to 1960s psychedelic music, Greetings from Planet Love, issued under the pseudonym "the Fraternal Order of the All". He died in 2011, aged 59, after a struggle with kidney cancer.
Gold was born in Burbank, California, and eventually followed his parents into show business. His mother was singer Marni Nixon, who provided the singing voice for numerous actresses, notably Natalie Wood in West Side Story, Deborah Kerr in The King and I, and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady; his father was Ernest Gold, an Austrian-born composer who won an Academy Award for his score for the movie Exodus. He had two younger sisters.
Gold began writing songs at the age of 13. Abroad in England for school, the 16-year-old Gold scored his first recording contract on the strength of a selection of demos he submitted to Polydor Records' London office. That contract resulted in the single "Of All the Little Girls," which was recorded with his friend and collaborator Charlie Villiers, and released in 1967 under the name Villiers and Gold.
By the early 1970s, Gold was working full-time as a musician, songwriter and record producer. He was a member of the Los Angeles band Bryndle, alongside Kenny Edwards, Wendy Waldman, and Karla Bonoff, releasing the single "Woke Up This Morning" in 1970. He played a major role as multi-instrumentalist and arranger for Linda Ronstadt's breakthrough album, 1974's Heart Like a Wheel, and her next two albums. After Ronstadt's Hasten Down the Wind Gold began a career as a solo artist. Among other accomplishments, he played the majority of instruments on "You're No Good," Ronstadt's only No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, and on "When Will I Be Loved," "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave", and many other hits. He was in her band from 1973 until 1977, and then sporadically throughout the 1980s and 1990s, performing at some of her concerts.
In 1975, Gold debuted as a solo artist, with the album Andrew Gold, and played most of the instruments on Art Garfunkel's solo hit "I Only Have Eyes For You" (which went to No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart), as well as several other cuts on Garfunkel's album Breakaway.
Although "Lonely Boy" was the bigger radio hit in the States, the single "Thank You for Being a Friend" from Gold's third album, All This and Heaven Too, peaked at No. 25 in 1978, later gaining popularity as the theme song for The Golden Girls, performed by Cindy Fee.
Gold's biggest UK hit was "Never Let Her Slip Away," which made it to No. 5 twice on the British singles charts, once by him and again 14 years later by dance-pop group Undercover. Freddie Mercury, a friend of Gold's, was an uncredited background singer.
Gold also toured with The Eagles, worked in the studio and toured with Ronstadt and Jackson Browne; recorded and toured with James Taylor, and was second engineer on part of Joni Mitchell's album Blue.
In 1981, Gold produced, co-wrote, sang and played on three 10cc tracks that appeared on the hit-making pop-rock band's 1981 album Ten Out of 10. Subsequently, Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman of 10cc invited Gold to become a member of the group. Although he had worked with them in the studio, business conflicts prevented him from joining their ranks. In late 1983, 10cc broke up, and in the aftermath, Gold and Gouldman formed Wax. Wax recorded and toured for five years. They enjoyed international success, particularly in the UK, where the duo had several hits including "Right Between the Eyes" and their biggest hit, "Bridge to Your Heart". Wax broke up as a recording and touring entity in 1989, but Gold and Gouldman continued to write and record together whenever possible.
Gold played on Cher's hit 1989 album Heart of Stone and, during the early '90s, wrote and composed hits for Trisha Yearwood as well as Wynonna Judd, for whom he co-wrote the No. 1 single "I Saw The Light" with Lisa Angelle. (Later, Gold would produce Angelle on her own album, which featured a number of songs on whose authorship and composition they collaborated.) He also produced singles for Vince Gill, wrote and produced tracks for Celine Dion, and arranged a cover of the Everly Brothers' hit "All I Have to Do Is Dream" that was sung by stars Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen in the 1984 science-fiction film Starman.
In the 1990s, Gold once again joined forces with ex-bandmates Karla Bonoff, Wendy Waldman and Kenny Edwards to re-form Bryndle and release their first full-length album, Bryndle. In 1996, Gold left Bryndle and released the children's Halloween-oriented novelty album Halloween Howls with John Waite, featuring the track "Spooky Scary Skeletons." The same year, he released the solo album ....Since 1951, and produced Stephen Bishop's Blue Guitar album. Thereafter, he recorded the psychedelic '60s tribute album Greetings from Planet Love under the pseudonym "The Fraternal Order of the All," releasing it on his own record label, "QBrain Records." This album was a multi-tracked solo affair with Gold essentially playing all of the instruments and singing all of the vocals on original songs in the style of Gold's favorite 1960s bands such as The Beatles, The Byrds and The Beach Boys. He produced, composed, and/or wrote tracks for numerous films, such as the comedy Rectuma from director Mark Pirro, and contributed songs to many television soundtracks and commercials. Among his more high-profile gigs, he sang "Final Frontier," the theme song for the television sitcom Mad About You. In a remarkable turn of events, his rendition of the song was used as the wake-up call for the Mars Pathfinder space probe in 1996. Gold also produced seven albums for Japanese singer-songwriter Eikichi Yazawa.
In 2000, Gold compiled a Wax rarities album, House of Wax on Wax, as well as recording and releasing a new solo album The Spence Manor Suite; this last was followed in 2002 by another solo collection, Intermission. In the early 2000s, he formed a Byrds tribute band, Byrds of a Feather, which performed in the Los Angeles area. He appeared in a 2006 concert with the classic rock group America, and singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop, and the performance was later released as a DVD titled America And Friends – Live at the Ventura Theater. The show featured Gold performing "Thank You for Being a Friend," "Final Frontier," "Bridge to Your Heart" and "Lonely Boy," as well as accompanying America and Bishop on guitar and vocals. Gold had earlier produced America's Holiday Harmony Christmas album back in 2002, wherein he also played most of the instruments and co-wrote the track "Christmas in California."
In the early 2010s, Gold's song "Spooky Scary Skeletons" became the subject of Halloween-related Internet memes through its popularity on 4chan's video games board.[better source needed] Within a few years, the song turned into a full-on viral phenomenon, with multiple electronic dance remixes and cover versions uploaded to YouTube with views in excess of 350 million and counting, and a dance challenge on the social-media network TikTok that has generated over 2.5 million individual videos and upwards of 243 million views. By 2019, the popularity of "Spooky Scary Skeletons" had inspired a deluxe digital release of Halloween Howls. This version of the album included the addition of two extended electronic dance remixes of "Spooky Scary Skeletons."
In 2020, an early version of Gold's song "Savannah" was issued as a digital single. It was followed by Something New: Unreleased Gold – a posthumous compilation album of previously unavailable tracks, including some demos – in vinyl, CD and digital formats, along with two digital singles from the album: the title song and "Come Down to Me."
Personal life and death
Gold's first marriage was to Vanessa Gold, with whom he had three daughters, Emily, Victoria and Olivia.
In the early 1980s, Gold was engaged to singer Nicolette Larson; this ended shortly after the completion of Larson's 1982 album All Dressed Up and No Place to Go, which Gold produced.
He later married Leslie Kogan.
Although Gold put personal references in the lyrics to "Lonely Boy" (including his year of birth), he admitted in an interview that it was not autobiographical: "Maybe it was a mistake to do that, but I simply put in those details because it was convenient. I hadn't been a lonely boy at all. I'd had a very happy childhood."
- 1975: Andrew Gold (#160 US)
- 1976: What's Wrong with This Picture? (#95 US)
- 1978: All This and Heaven Too (#81 US; #31 UK)
- 1980: Whirlwind (#120 US)
- 1996: Andrew Gold's Halloween Howls
- 1997: Greetings from Planet Love (as The Fraternal Order of the All)
- 1998: ...Since 1951
- 1999: Warm Breezes
- 2000: The Spence Manor Suite
- 2002: Intermission
- 2008: Copy Cat
- 1978: An Interview with Andrew Gold (promo-only interview & music LP)
- 1991: Where the Heart Is: The Commercials 1988–1991
- 1997: Thank You for Being a Friend: The Best of Andrew Gold
- 1998: Leftovers
- 2011: The Essential Collection
- 2018: An Introduction to: Andrew Gold
- 2019: Complete Albums 1975–1980 (Digital)
- 2019: Lonely Boy: The Greatest Hits (Digital)
- 2020: Something New: Unreleased Gold
Live albums and EPs
- 2007: Andrew Gold – Live at the Ventura Theater (Digital EP)
- 2015: The Late Show – Live 1978
- 2013: Andrew Gold + What's Wrong with This Picture + All This and Heaven Too + Whirlwind...Plus
- 2020: Lonely Boy: The Asylum Years Anthology
Singles and EPs
- 1967: "Of All the Little Girls" (UK release – with the duo Villiers & Gold)
- 1970: "Woke Up This Morning" (with the band Bryndle)
- 1975: "Heartaches in Heartaches"
- 1975: "That's Why I Love You" (#68 US)
- 1976: "Stay"
- 1976: "Do Wah Diddy"
- 1976: "One of Them Is Me"
- 1977: "Lonely Boy" (#7 US Billboard, #3 US Cash Box, #7 Canada, #11 UK)
- 1977: "Go Back Home Again"
- 1978: "How Can This Be Love" (#19 UK)
- 1978: "I'm on My Way"
- 1978: "Thank You for Being a Friend" (#25 US Billboard, #11 US Cash Box, #7 Canada; #42 UK)
- 1978: "Never Let Her Slip Away" (#67 US, #60 Canada, #5 UK)
- 1979: "Kiss This One Goodbye"
- 1979: "Stranded on the Edge"
- 1979: "Nine to Five" (UK)
- 1996: "Spooky Scary Skeletons" (CD single)
- 2000: "Nowhere Now" (CD single)
- 2000: "Sorry to Let You Down" (CD single)
- 2005: Rhino Hi-Five: Andrew Gold ("Thank You for Being a Friend", "Lonely Boy", "Never Let Her Slip Away", "That's Why I Love You", "Hang My Picture Straight") (Digital EP)
- 2006: "The Best of Everything" (Digital)
- 2019: "Thank You for Being a Friend (Christmas)" and "Thank You for Being a Friend (Christmas)" (Duet featuring Alyssa Bonagura) (Digital)
- 2020: "Savannah" (Early version) (Digital)
- 2020: "Come Down to Me" (Solo demo) (Digital)
- 2020: "Something New" (Digital)
- 1986: Magnetic Heaven
- 1987: American English
- 1989: A Hundred Thousand in Fresh Notes
- 1998: Common Knowledge.com
With America and Stephen Bishop
- 2006: America & Friends – Live at the Ventura Theater
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- Leigh, Spencer. Obituary, Andrew Gold, The Independent, June 8, 2011.
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- Obituary, Telegraph, June 8, 2011.
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- "HOME". Andrewgold.com.
- "Top 100 Songs | Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard.com.
- "She Did It by Eric Carmen – Songfacts". Songfacts.com.
- Whitburn, Joel (October 11, 2010). "The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits". Billboard Books – via Google Books.
- Freddie Mercury provided uncredited backing vocals per these sources:
- "Top 500". Smooth Radio. Archived from the original on April 10, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
- Sweeting, Adam. Andrew Gold obituary. The Guardian. June 6, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
- "Never Let Her Slip Away". Johnnie Walker's Sounds of the 70s. BBC Radio 2. February 5, 2012.
- O'Neal, Sean. R.I.P. Andrew Gold, songwriter of "Lonely Boy" and The Golden Girls theme. The A.V. Club. June 6, 2011. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- Singer/Songwriter Andrew Gold Dies. Contactmusic. June 6, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
- Drive with Russell Woolf; Andrew Gold – Lonely Boy Archived March 10, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. June 16, 2011. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- "Mars Pathfinder". Mars.nasa.gov.
- "Live at the Ventura Theatre – America, America And Friends | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
- "Holiday Harmony – America | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
- "Spooky Scary Skeletons – Know Your Meme". Know Your Meme. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
- Feldman, Brian (October 16, 2019). "How 'Spooky Scary Skeletons' Became the Internet's Halloween Anthem". New York magazine.
- Dickson, E.J. (October 8, 2019). "The Writer of the 'Golden Girls' Theme Is Blowing Up on TikTok For Being Spooky". Rolling Stone.
- Zollo, Paul (March 27, 2020). "Premiere: 'Come Down To Me,' A Previously Unreleased, Unheard Song by Andrew Gold". American Songwriter.
- "Memorable moments satiate at New Orleans jazz festival". The Denver Post. May 12, 1990. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
I viewed it in my hotel room, and I hope someone in Denver saw Andrew Gold (whose "Lonely Boy" hit No. 7 in 1977) reduced to leading his family in competition on television's 'Family Feud' for $10000.(subscription required)
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 230. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.