Andrew Gold: Musician and songwriter whose collaborators included Ronstadt, Garfunkel and Cher

Andrew Gold was part of the outstanding musical scene which developed in Los Angeles in the 1970s and included Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne. Gold, a multi-instrumentalist, played on numerous albums and also had his own hit singles with "Lonely Boy", "Never Let Her Slip Away" and "Thank You For Being A Friend". He could have had, and perhaps should have had, more solo success but his voice was probably not distinctive enough. "I know I can sing," he told me in 2000, "but I also know that I'm not Lennon or Sinatra."

Andrew Gold was born in Burbank in August 1951, the son of two highly musical parents. His father, Ernest, was a film composer who wrote the scores for On The Beach (1959) and Exodus (1960), and his mother, Marni Nixon, had a singing role in The Sound Of Music (1962) and was also Natalie Wood's singing voice in West Side Story (1961) and Audrey Hepburn's in My Fair Lady (1964).

For part of his adolescence, Gold was educated in the UK. His musical talent was soon appreciated and in the early 1970s he was playing in two Los Angeles bands, Bryndle and the Rangers, both with the guitarist Kenny Edwards. While at Oakwood School in Hollywood, he met Linda Ronstadt, then singing with the Stone Poneys.

Both Edwards and Gold were invited to join the Stone Poneys, and his burgeoning talent was soon recognised. Gold sang and played guitars and keyboards on her big-selling and highly acclaimed solo albums, Heart Like A Wheel (1974), Prisoner In Disguise (1975), Hasten Down The Wind (1976), Living In The USA (1978), Mad Love (1980) and Get Closer (1982).

In 1975 Linda Ronstadt had her only US No 1 with a revival of "You're No Good", previously a hit for Betty Everett and the Swinging Blue Jeans. The record was produced by Peter Asher but it was a tour de force for Gold, who played electric piano and drums as well as the guitar solo. Gold sang a duet with Ronstadt on a revival of the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved", while Ronstadt encouraged him to make solo records and sang backing vocals on his first hit, "Lonely Boy".

Although Gold put personal references in "Lonely Boy" (1975) including his year of birth, he told me 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."

In1978, Gold had a UK Top 10 single with the ultra-catchy "Never LetHer Slip Away". "It's like McCartney meets Brian Wilson," he explained, "I can always tell when I am going into that mode. There's a very cheap synthesiser on that record, but it was right for the song." Gold promoted the single in the UK, admittedly spending much of his earnings in the gambling club, Crockfords. This led to his album track, "I'm A Gambler". He followed up with another Top 20 single, "How Can This Be Love".

Gold had a third hit in 1978 with "Thank You For Being A Friend", which had a new lease of life when it was sung by Cindy Fee as the theme for TheGolden Girls (1985-92). Gold released the albums, Andrew Gold (1975), What's Wrong With This Picture (1976), AllThis And Heaven Too (1978) and Whirlwind (1980). He did, however, refuseto sign contracts with music publishing companies, calling them "banks with real bad interest rates posing as song pluggers."

There is no doubt that Gold was regarded as a very safe pair of hands and he was invited to play on scores of albums. They included Maria Muldaur (1974), Kate And Anna McGarrigle (1975), Jennifer Warnes' Shot Through The Heart (1979) and Stephen Bishop's Careless (1976). He was strongly featured on Art Garfunkel's album, Breakaway (1975) and provided most of the accompaniment on the stunning No 1 single, "I Only Have Eyes For You". Less successful was his support for a Playboy model, Barbi Benton, who was determined to be a pop and country singer.

Among the albums he produced were Rita Coolidge's Heartbreak Radio (1981) and Nicolette Larson's All Dressed Up And No Place To Go (1982).

After Gold had done some session work for the UK group, 10cc, he was offered a place in the group, which at the time wasn't convenient. After 10cc had broken up, he formed the band Wax, with Graham Gouldman. Their most successful album was American English (1987) and they had hit singles with "Right Between Your Eyes" and "Bridge To Your Heart". The duo worked on different projects right up to Gold's death.

There was less session work in the late '80s, but Gold was on Cher's multi-million selling Heart Of Stone (1989).In 1992, the UK band, Undercover, had a Top 10 with a revival of "Never Let Her Slip Away", and he wrote a US country hit for Wynonna Judd, "I Saw The Light". A torch song, "Try Me Again", that he and Ronstadt had written for Hasten Down The Wind, was revived by Trisha Yearwood and was also a country success.

In 1995, Gold, Edwards, Wendy Waldman and Karla Bonoff reformed Bryndle for an album. Gold also made an album, Greetings From Planet Love, as the Fraternal Order of the All which was a tribute by way of original songs to his favourite 60s bands. He moved to Nashville for The Spence Manor Suite (2000) and his co-writers included Raul Malo of the Mavericks. There were some desultory performances though, notably playing Alvin of the Chipmunks on their version of Garth Brooks' "Friends In Low Places". His last solo album was Copy Cat (2008).

Possibly the strangest testimony to his success came in 1996 when his theme song for the TV series Mad About You (1992-99) was used to start Rover, a remote-controlled robot on the Mars Pathfinder space probe.

Andrew Gold, musician and songwriter: born Burbank, California 2 August 1951: married twice (three daughters); died 3 June 2011.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Ashdown Group: C# Developer - (C#, VB.Net, SQL, Git, TDD)

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...

Ashdown Group: Business Relationship Manager

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Business Relationship Manager - Enfield, North Lond...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea