Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thank You For Being a Facebook Friend

Stranded Dirty & Branded

A couple of years ago, I became Facebook friends with Andrew Gold.

(I'd never met him, but one of my real-life friends was friends with him, so I sent him a request and a note about how much I always enjoyed his 1980 album Whirlwind. I guess people usually only talked to him about "Thank You For Being a Friend" or "Lonely Boy," so maybe whenever anyone knew anything else about him, he was thrilled. But really, his career was pretty deep. He played nearly all the instruments on Art Garfunkel's cover of "I Only Have Eyes for You" in 1975 and 4 years earlier, helped engineer Joni Mitchell's Blue. In any event, he accepted my friend request. He may even have written on my wall.)

And then, he died. A little over a year ago, in June. In his sleep, at age 59.

And a few weeks later, I logged onto Facebook. Which told me that 4 of my friends had a birthday. So I wrote messages on 3 walls.

But the 4th was Andrew Gold.

And I literally stopped still in my tracks, trying to figure out what the proper etiquette is for the Facebook wall of someone whose work you admired, who accepted your Facebook friend request (perhaps in a moment of weakness), but whom you never knew, and now he's dead.

It's a First-World problem for the digital age.

By 1980, Andrew Gold's days of being a chart-topping solo artist were pretty much over. He was invited to join 10cc, but couldn't for business reasons. So he later joined a group with Graham Gouldman of 10cc called Wax.

You could argue that Gold should have stayed with the soft-rock singer-songwriter stuff he was known for. You could say he should have just silently admired New Wave music without feeling he had to try the style himself.

You could say all that.

And you could be right.

Still, years later I heard this song. In the middle of the night. Playing on a college station. While I was driving through New Hampshire. And I found a phone, called the station, learned who it was, and hunted down the record.

Sure, the lyrics are a bit strained. And the production has that early 80s gloss that hasn't aged well.

But every time I hear it, I'm right back in New Hampshire. At 3:00am. Looking for a phone booth.

But Facebook has no emoticon for that...

(Bonus points for the loud needle drop and surface noise on this clip)


Anonymous said...

Cool song. Should've been a hit.

Robert said...

I had an opportunity to work with Andrew a few years back. He was good friends with one of my cowriters and he produced a demo of one of our songs. his version is still my favorite. He was a great guy, and was such an awesome talent...

FYI, I loved Whirlwind. When I was working with Keck at KCOU in Columbia, I played Kiss This One Goodbye any chance I could.