Tribute: Andrew Gold (1951-2011)

The multitalented songwriter/musician passes at age 59.

By , Columnist
You might not know Andrew Gold by name but you're sure to know at least a few of his songs, especially his classic TV themes: "Thank You For Being a Friend" from The Golden Girls and "The Final Frontier" from Mad About You (the song used in 1996 as the wake up call for the Mars Pathfinder space probe). You probably also know his top 40 hit, "Lonely Boy," and maybe even his top 100 hit, "Never Let Her Slip Away."

If those tunes strike your fancy, you might want to dig deeper and give a listen to his albums. Gold, son of Oscar-winning composer Ernest Gold and singer Marni Nixon, could write sentimental ballads and full out rockers, but his talent for crafting stunning pop melodies always shone, no matter what the style.

Andrew Gold passed away of cancer on June 3. He was one of my favorite songwriters and musicians.

You may also know him from his work with Linda Ronstadt. That's his searing guitar work and clear-as-a-bell backing vocals on her versions of "You're No Good" and "Heatwave."  He was a multi-instrumentalist, who added his talents to albums by such well-known artists as Art Garfunkel, Stephen Bishop, Cher, 10cc, and many others.

One of my favorite Andrew Gold projects was his work with a band called Bryndle. Bryndle featured Karla Bonoff, Wendy Waldman, and the late Kenny Edwards, and the songs on their self-titled release are beautiful, evocative, and occasionally filled with a strange, haunting melancholy. Gold's "Savannah" is a highlight of the record and quite possibly the best love song he ever wrote.

About ten years ago, I invited Gold to visit the record shop where I worked. To my surprise, he accepted the invitation and brought along his acoustic guitar. Sitting on a metal folding chair in the corner by our check-in desk, he sang and chatted for about two hours with the ten or fifteen people who stopped by to see him. It was like having an old friend come to call.

Thanks for the music, Andrew. You will be missed.

Recommended recordings : Andrew Gold, What's Wrong With This Picture? All This and Heaven Too, Thank You For Being a Friend (compilation)

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Mindy Peterman is a freelance writer whose focus is on television, movies and pop culture. She has written over one hundred articles for the award winning website and has conducted interviews with producer Peter Asher, psychic-medium John Edward, Greg Grunberg and Bob Guiney from Band…

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