Take Five: Andrew Gold

A multi-instrumentalist, producer, songwriter, arranger, engineer, live performer and recording artist, the late Andrew Gold is best known for his pair of 1970s hit singles “Lonely Boy” and “Thank You for Being a Friend.” Seven years after the latter’s release, the song took on a second life when it was used as the opening theme of the popular TV sitcom The Golden Girls. In addition to a fruitful solo career, Andrew Gold worked with a long and wide-ranging assortment of artists, lending his suite of talents to their work. Gold passed away in 2011; August 2 of this year would have been his 72nd birthday. Here are five tracks that merely scratch the surface of Andrew Gold’s deep well of creativity.

“You’re No Good” from Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like a Wheel (1974)
Before he began a successful recording career as a solo artist, Gold worked largely behind the scenes; he played most of the instruments on three of Linda Ronstadt’s biggest smash singles, including this, her biggest hit, a cover of a song first recorded by Dee Dee Warwick in 1963.

“Never Let Her Slip Away” from All This and Heaven Too (1978)
On the heels of his successful singles “Lonely Boy” (U.S. #7) and “Thank You for Being a Friend” (U.S. #25), Gold released “Never Let Her Slip Away,” the third single from his third solo album. The song performed modestly on U.S. charts (#67 on Billboard’s Hot 100, #16 on the Adult Contemporary chart), but it was a smash overseas, soaring to #5 in the UK (earning a Silver record) and #2 in Ireland. With its memorable ARP synthesizer arrangement, “Never Let Her Slip Away” would be Gold’s last charting single for many years to come.

“Bridge to Your Heart” from Wax’s American English (1987)
After playing on several 10cc recordings (and being asked to join that group, an invitation he turned down), Gold formed Wax, a duo with 10cc’s Graham Gouldman. Billed in the U.S. as Wax UK, the group failed to gain popularity in America, but internationally it was a different story. Wax scored hit singles around the world, including this song, a Top 20 hit in eight countries.

“Spooky Scary Skeletons” from Andrew Gold’s Halloween Howls (1996)
By the mid 1990s, Gold had worked on dozens and dozens of album projects for other artists. But in 1996 he made time for a kid-centered project, a collection of Halloween-themed pop songs. The tunes found popularity among the younger set, and the music had staying power: in June 2023 – 27 years after its release and 12 years after Gold’s passing – the album’s single “Spooky Scary Skeletons” earned a Gold Record award.

“Love Tonight” from The Fraternal Order of the All’s Greetings from Planet Love (1997)
One of Gold’s least-known projects is also his very best. A loving pastiche of late-sixties styles – psychedelia, baroque pop, folk rock and more – Greetings from Planet Love is Gold’s love letter to the best music of that era. Displaying an inimitable sense of exuberance and style, his original songs skillfully evoke the spirit of the ‘60s. Long unavailable in any form, the astounding Greetings from Planet Love has just been reissued, for the first time ever on vinyl.