Andrew Gold (1951-2011) possessed prodigious talent, found rarely in each generation: a mellifluous, passionate vocalist; a compelling lyricist and composer; a creative and meticulous producer, arranger and engineer; and a virtuoso performer on multiple musical instruments. He was also skilled with drawing and fashioned many works on paper, including self-portraits, studies, cartoons, illustrated commentaries, and more. Every day, somewhere across the globe, someone is enjoying the music of Andrew Gold, unquestionably some of the most beloved sounds of the past 50 years. His works on paper are less well-known, but equally revealing of his talents. On POBA, we hear early versions of later releases and some of his never-released demos and recordings and see some original works on paper.
California born and raised, Andrew wrote his first songs when he was a mere 13 years old and got his first record deal with Polydor UK at the age of 16. His passion and talent for music were in his blood: 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, an exceptional singer and musical performer, was the actual voice behind some of the most acclaimed musical performances on film, including the singing voices of Natalie Wood in West Side Story, Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady; and Deborah Kerr in The King and I, among others.
In his teens, Andrew diligently mastered a band’s worth of instruments including guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. His first major pop music success came by teaming up with country-rock singer, Linda Ronstadt and her music producer, Peter Asher. Beginning with Heart Like a Wheel (1974), Andrew collaborated on the majority of Linda’s records, crafting the sounds of such memorable Ronstadt chart-toppers as “When Will I Be Loved,” and “Heat Wave.”
Earning kudos from critics, fans and peers, Andrew’s vocal and instrumental prowess and deft songwriting enhanced live and recorded performances of a virtual “Who’s Who” of rock/pop, including Roy Orbison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Celine Dion, Diana Ross, Carly Simon, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Cher, Art Garfunkel, Trisha Yearwood, Wynonna Judd, Jesse McCartney, Jennifer Warnes, Stephen Bishop, Nicolette Larson, Eric Carmen, Maria Muldaur, Neil Diamond, Juice Newton, Leo Sayer, Vince Gill, Aaron Neville, 10cc, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and many more.
Andrew was an accomplished solo artist, releasing numerous and well-received albums and singles, including the playful Greetings from Planet Love, his one-man band performing 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. His solo single “Lonely Boy” was a Top 10 hit in the U.S., as was “Thank You for Being a Friend” which later became the theme for the massively popular television sitcom, The Golden Girls. Both the TV show and the song itself are considered classics. His performance of “Final Frontier,” the theme to the long-running TV sitcom Mad About You also made galactic history: his rendition was used as the wake-up call for the Mars Pathfinder space probe in 1996, making this vocal the first human voice heard on Mars!
Andrew performed in several groups, joining with singer/songwriter/musician Graham Gouldman of 10cc to form Wax UK 1983, recording three albums that spawned two international hits. Andrew had also co-founded the ensemble, Bryndle, with Karla Bonoff, Wendy Waldman, and Kenny Edwards in the 1970s (reunited in the 1990s).
As an artist of works on paper, Andrew Gold created moving portraits, line drawn studies, whimsical and often satirical cartoons, and more. On POBA, we see a collection of more than 50 of his wide-ranging images including illustrated commentaries on love (the major theme of his musical works), self-portraits in charcoal, pen and ink, and watercolor; drawings of the rock music “scene” and his musical groups; studies of faces and people; slapstick line drawings of people on the streets; tongue-in-cheek social commentary drawings; fanciful, childlike characters including clowns, “robots of freedom” and action figures; anthropomorphized creatures such as his “ant guys” and more that show Andrew Gold’s talent as well as his piercing yet heartfelt observations of the life and world around him.
These and the many other works he produced, wrote, and/or performed merely scratch the surface of his prodigious lifetime of musical and artistic accomplishments. There is still a considerable amount of his studio work that has yet to be released, with plans to make these available to the public through POBA. His music and his story live on at POBA, as well as on his website.