Andrew Gold & Alyssa Bonagura | Merry Christmas: Thank You for Being a Friend

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Holiday: Pop Pop: Pop/Rock Moods: Mood: Christmas
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Merry Christmas: Thank You for Being a Friend

by Andrew Gold & Alyssa Bonagura

Andrew loved Christmas so what better way to honor that than to release his iconic song, "Thank You for Being a Friend" holiday style? Two different versions for your ear's delight! Even a duet!
Genre: Holiday: Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Thank You for Being a Friend (Christmas)
4:42 $1.29
2. Thank You for Being a Friend (Christmas Duet) [feat. Alyssa Bonagura]
4:06 $1.29
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Andrew's remarkable career in popular music showcased his prodigious talents as a mellifluous, passionate singer; a polished, thoughtful, astute songwriter; a creative, meticulous producer, arranger, and engineer; and a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist. Born in Burbank, CA. on August 2, 1951, and raised in Hollywood, Andrew was a precocious kid. He wrote his first songs when he was a mere 13 years old, dazzled by the sweet and glistening din of the British Invasion ensembles - especially the Beatles. Diligently, he mastered a band's worth of instruments including guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums. It's no surprise that music was Andrew's calling. 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, was an accomplished singer and musical performer renowned for providing the singing voices of famous actresses in high-profile films, such as Natalie Wood in "West Side Story"; Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady"; and Deborah Kerr in "The King and I."

While a schoolboy abroad in England, Andrew scored his first recording contract at the age of 16 after he submitted a selection of demos to Polydor Records' London office. It would only be a few years later when he would have his first major impact on the world of pop music, teaming up with then-rising country-rock singer Linda Ronstadt and her producer Peter Asher. Beginning with her 1974 breakthrough album "Heart Like a Wheel," Andrew collaborated on the majority of Linda's records in the 1970s. He sang and played behind her as a mainstay of her band, manning virtually every instrument on her #1 hit "You're No Good" (which features a classic Gold guitar bridge) and much of "Heart Like a Wheel." As Linda's go-to arranger, he crafted the sounds of such memorable Ronstadt chart-toppers as "When Will I Be Loved," and "Heatwave." Andrew was in Linda's band from 1973 until 1977, and also played with her from time to time throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Earning kudos from critics and fans as well as the respect of his peers, Andrew was subsequently invited to share his skills with a who's who of music-industry superstars. His vocal and instrumental prowess and deft songwriting enhanced the records or live performances of many major artists, including Celine Dion, Carly Simon, 10cc, James Taylor, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Diana Ross, Cher, Art Garfunkel, Trisha Yearwood, Wynonna Judd, Jesse McCartney, Eric Carmen, Jennifer Warnes, Stephen Bishop, Nicolette Larson, Eric Carmen, Maria Muldaur, Neil Diamond, Juice Newton, Leo Sayer, Vince Gill, Aaron Neville, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Japanese superstar Eikichi Yazawa. But Andrew was becoming an accomplished solo artist, too. In the mid-1970's, he released four well-received pop-rock albums: "Andrew Gold" (1975), "What's Wrong with This Picture" (1976), "All This and Heaven Too" (1978), and "Whirlwind" (1979). The elegant, melancholy single "Lonely Boy," taken from "What's Wrong with This Picture," was a Top 10 hit in the U.S., as was "Thank You for Being a Friend" from "All This and Heaven Too." "Thank You for Being a Friend" later became the theme for the massively popular television situation-comedy "The Golden Girls" - which continues to be watched and adored on cable TV, in syndication on broadcast TV, and on DVD throughout the world since its original NBC network run from 1985-1992. The song itself is considered a classic pop tune - an uplifting anthem of camaraderie with an appeal that cuts across all demographics. Meanwhile, "Lonely Boy" has been featured on the soundtracks of a variety of films including 1997's "Boogie Nights" and 1998's "The Waterboy."

Over the past three decades, Andrew continued to fashion memorable music. In the U.K. and beyond, he had solo success with singles such as "Never Let Her Slip Away" and "How Can This Be Love." His popularity in the U.K. was so significant that he was asked to join hit-making British group 10cc in the early 1980s. Although he declined the offer, he linked up with 10cc singer/songwriter/musician Graham Gouldman to form Wax UK in 1983, recording three albums that spawned two international hits, "Right Between the Eyes" and "Bridge to Your Heart." Although they dissolved Wax in 1989, Gold and Gouldman never stopped writing and recording together whenever possible. Back in the early 1970s, Andrew had co-founded the ensemble Bryndle with Karla Bonoff, Wendy Waldman, and Kenny Edwards; they reunited in the early 1990s, producing the tuneful, engaging albums "Bryndle" (1995) and "House of Silence" (2001) before going their separate ways again.

True to his lineage, Andrew produced and wrote songs and music for numerous television and movie soundtracks. He also sang "Final Frontier," the theme to the long-running Paul Reiser-Helen Hunt TV sitcom "Mad About You." (Andrew's rendition of "Final Frontier" was actually used as the wake-up call for the Mars Pathfinder space probe in 1996, making his vocal the first human voice heard on Mars.) He found time to write and produce hit recordings for many of his aforementioned friends and colleagues, as well as producing a handful of tracks on "The Stars Come Out for Christmas" series of charity albums. In addition, he composed and recorded the exuberant holiday-themed children's albums "Halloween Howls" and "A Sugarbeats Christmas." With whimsy and affection, he formulated "Greetings from Planet Love" as a one-man band 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. He released an album of Wax UK rarities, "Bikini Wax," and a best-of compilation with bonus cuts, "The Wax Files." A career retrospective entitled "Thank You for Being a Friend: The Best of Andrew Gold" was issued in 1997.

Andrew didn't stop there. Finely-wrought solo albums - "...Since 1951," "Warm Breezes," "The Spence Manor Suite," and "Intermission" - were confected and unleashed. There is still a considerable amount of his studio work that has yet to be released but should soon be made available to the public. On June 3, 2011, at age 59, Andrew Gold died peacefully after a courageous three-year battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife Leslie Kogan, and his three daughters from a previous marriage. And though he passed away, his music will live on and on.

As longtime friend and Grammy-winning producer Peter Asher put it, "Andrew's talent was almost eerie. He was a self-taught instinctive musician who seemed to be able to play any instrument he had a mind to. He was a brilliant writer, a great singer, and a highly imaginative producer and arranger -- on top of being a multi-instrumentalist of the highest order. And he never failed to come up with something extraordinary every time he played."

Alyssa Bonagura's BIO:

One listen and it becomes crystal clear that Alyssa Bonagura was born to make music. With a voice that touches somewhere deep inside, Alyssa’s soulful sound and powerful lyrics will send you jet-setting into a broad range of human emotions. Growing up on the open roads of America, with her RCA country recording artists parents, Baillie & The Boys, made it impossible for Alyssa not to witness the power and magic of music. At just 3 weeks old, her cradle was the gentle rocking of a tour bus. Her play ground encompassed sound checks at fairs and festivals and back stage dressing rooms at a slew of different venues including the Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Award shows, and her “extended family” consisted of managers, promoters, roadies, musicians and other fellow mainstream country artists.

At the age of 3, Alyssa performed on the Ralph Emory television show, Nashville Now. Where her version of the Leslie Gore classic; It’s My Party brought the house down in front of millions of national viewers. At age 10, one of those major acts, Kenny Rogers, decided Alyssa was the perfect child singer to record a duet with him on his Christmas CD, Christmas From The Heart. By age 13, Alyssa had her first batch of songs written and received an endorsement from Gretsch Guitars. She had figured out her own unique style of guitar playing with open tunings inspired by Joni Mitchell. By age 16 she landed her first 50 date tour opening up for Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives. It soon became obvious that she was the real deal, not only as a musician and singer but as a prolific songwriter as well.

While in high-school, Alyssa became a go-to session singer for people like Christian artist Matt Maher, where she created her own layered harmony vocal approach from years of hearing her parents sing together. Her songs started finding their way into television shows, (Switched! on ABC Family, MTV), movies, as well as getting her first cuts on other artists projects.

After graduating high school, Alyssa received a full scholarship from Sennheiser to Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts in Liverpool England, where she would spend the next three years earning a degree in Sound Technology while continuing to perform in local venues throughout Europe. While playing at a venue called The Zanzibar in Liverpool, Alyssa was spotted by Liverpool Rock Star Pete Wylie and was asked to join his band playing electric guitar and singing background vocals. Alyssa of course said yes, and experienced what most artists never experience; a private performance requested by the Queen to help support one of Liverpool’s local charities. A performance with Ringo Starr at the 800th Anniversary of Liverpool’s, “Capital Of Culture 2008” event; a performance slot at one of the UK’s largest music festivals; Knowsley Hall on the same bill as The Who, and from there on scored her own slots performing on the Acoustic stage at Glastonbury in 2009, and a UK tour opening for Raul Malo of The Mavericks.

While at LIPA, Alyssa was inspired by their music community and the extreme amount of talented people attending the school. She lived in Lennon Studios, an apartment complex that used to be the old maternity ward where John Lennon was born. Her incredibly unique experiences abroad inspired her debut album, The English Diaries, an all acoustic intimate collection of songs she produced and recorded herself in her one bedroom Beatles inspired flat.

After graduating LIPA and receiving her diploma from Paul McCartney himself, Alyssa returned to Nashville and signed her first publishing deal with Rondor Music. While signed to Rondor, she produced and released her sophomore album Love Hard which was backed by a 10k dollar Kickstarter Campaign and landed one of the biggest nationwide commercial placements of 2012 with her song, “I Make My Own Sunshine,” inspired by Liverpool’s rainy weather. It was featured in a Lowe’s commercial, earning over 50,000 downloads in its first 3 months and over 1 million plays on Spotify. She had no idea at the time that her song would later be heard by Steven Tyler and recorded on his first ever solo album, We’re All Somebody From Somewhere and that she would be the only solo writer on his debut #1 billboard Country album.

Alyssa’s many other accomplishments in the singer/songwriter community include: Writing with Jeffrey Steele, Michelle Branch, Hunter Hayes, and JD Souther, writing three songs on Jessie James Decker’s top 5 Billboard Country album “Comin’ Home” and co-writing top 40 billboard country radio single, “Lights Down Low”, winning Canadian songwriter of the year and song of the year for “I Only Smoke When I Drink” by the Small Town Pistols, co-writing Jana Kramer’s latest country radio single “Circles” and a #17 AC Billboard Chart Christmas duet with Matthew & Gunner Nelson called “This Christmas” which she wrote with the twins and her father, Michael Bonagura. She’s also had three #1 hits in Australia with Morgan Evans and Chelsea Basham and produced music for Jo Dee Messina & Rachel Reinert of Gloriana.

At 28 years old, Alyssa has become a songwriting seamstress for a number of artists, a producer, and a band member of the west coast folk & classic rock n’ roll sounds of The Sisterhood Band with friend Ruby Stewart, all while simultaneously having a career as a solo artist. She’s created life long friendships with fellow songwriters, artists and musicians, and has been called “A fixture on Nashville’s indie singer-songwriter scene” by Rolling Stone. It’s been over 4 years since she’s released a solo project, but when you hear her newest record Road Less Traveled, you’ll know it was worth the wait.

After an entire summer of recording plans with an outside producer had fallen through, Alyssa turned to her boyfriend Graham Whitford for guidance on what was the best way forward for the songs she so much believed in. They decided to call long time friend and engineer Mark Petaccia to see if he was available to help record at his studio Petti Sound in Berry Hill. By a simple twist of fate, he had 7 days free.

Her closest friends and family who are all a part of the Nashville underground music community decided to come together and help her create Road Less Traveled without the help of a label and purely for the love and support of their friend. The entire album was recorded live, produced by Alyssa & Mark Petaccia, Mastered by Richard Dodd and executive produced by Karen Whitford. Alyssa showcases her multi-instrumental talents by playing acoustic guitar in her signature open tunings, Piano, Ukulele, Lap Steel, Electric guitar, Bass, B3 and Harmonica. She’s backed by Graham Whitford, Caleb Crosby, and Noah Denney (3/4ths of Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown), String arrangers and players Eleonore Denig and Molly Cherryholmes (Mountain Heart), Kevin McGowan, Tarka Layman, fellow artist and songwriter Davis Naish, and her father Michael Bonagura on Electric guitar.

Road Less Traveled showcases Alyssa as a solo artist in her truest form to date and shares the journey of finding her own voice and paving her own path as an independent Country artist. It encompasses elements of early Sheryl Crow mixed with Joni Mitchell like vocals. You'll hear so many iconic female influences on this project. Alyssa blends them all extremely well to come up with a sound that is familiar in its harkening back to the greats from multiple decades, yet completely unique and unlike anything else one would hear today.

Alyssa is now working with Ruby Stewart in their band, "The Sisterhood." (Sony Nashville)



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