Andy 'Thunderclap' Newman – RIP

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by rediffusion, Mar 30, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. rediffusion

    rediffusion Forum Resident Thread Starter


    Alas, Andy Thunderclap Newman has passed on. What a strange thing his namesake Thunderclap Newman was, and even stranger what a thing that Hollywood Dream LP was. I remember playing it in the car as I drove down Hollywood Blvd right after moving here in 1980, blasting the title cut out the window and thinking wow, I’ve made it. I wish there was a Hollywood, I sang along, just like there used to be, with long black cars and paper hoods and a film star on my knee. Except that my canary yellow (with grey primer) Buick Opel didn’t have a cassette player when I first moved to Hollywood, it had an AM radio, and unless KHJ was playing Something in the Air, Andy Newman’s unhurried piano never saw the inside of my beat up little car. Now, as I mash together memories, formats, and automobile sound systems I’m listening to an Accidents (long version) that I copped off the internet. Andy takes a wonderfully ancient solo like we’re watching Buster Keaton chasing his hat in a windstorm, so unhip it hurts. “I see Jimmy climbing on the milkman’s van, laughing,” sings Speedy, “on his feet were a pair of granddad’s shoes / Then I looked around / And he was gone / Are we to lose?” Then a melodic solo by Jimmy, a penny whistle, and more of Andy accompanying Buster Keaton. I recall how unpopular a party album this was at our pad. It was an acquired taste, like an aged but weird wine. Andy himself, I always thought, was even better on a b-side of Something In the Air called Wilhelmina that one can safely assume probably did not get as much airplay as the a-side. He sings nothing like Mick Jagger over a barrelhouse piano nothing like Keith Emerson and though Jimmy McCulloch does a very nice psychedelic fill it’s as unrock’n’roll a thing as you can imagine. I love it. Now Andy Thunderclap Newman is gone, following Jimmy McCulloch and Speedy Keen, and the band is gone too. Life is just a game, you fly a paper plane, there is no end.

    FVDnz, Grootna, piston broke and 16 others like this.
  2. jwoverho

    jwoverho Forum Resident

    Mobile, AL USA
    A brilliant one-off album. A cult classic that lived up to the accolades once I'd finally heard it. A geezer named Pete Townshend plays bass, and Speedy always seemed like an amalgam of Pete, John, and Keith with his singing and drumming.

    Something In The Air is a genuine classic, but the rest of the album is a joy as well.

    IIRC, Dennis Drake mastered the early CD pressing.
  3. CybrKhatru

    CybrKhatru Music is life.

    Los Angeles
    I've always meant to grab a copy of the album, since I love the single so much.

    RIP Andy....
    PGB likes this.
  4. B. Bu Po

    B. Bu Po Forum Resident

    Oh, man. I played the album just today and I played the single version of "Accidents" on my radio show yesterday for Speedy Keen's birthday. What a unique group, and Andy is what made it unique. R.I.P.
  5. mojo525

    mojo525 Music Accumulator

    Columbus, OH
    I'll do something that I usually scoff at -- cut and paste from Wikipedia, only because the story behind this song is so cool (though I'm guessing it's nothing new to the smart folks here):

    In 1969, Pete Townshend, The Who's guitarist, was the catalyst behind the formation of the band. The concept was to create a band to perform songs written by drummer and singer Speedy Keen, who had written "Armenia City in the Sky", the first track on The Who Sell Out.[2] Townshend recruited jazz pianist Andy 'Thunderclap' Newman (a friend from art college),[3] and 15-year-old Glaswegian guitarist Jimmy McCulloch, who subsequently played lead guitar in Paul McCartney's Wings from 1974 to 1977 and died of a heroin overdose in 1979 aged just 26.[4] Keen played the drums and sang the lead.
    PGB, ex_mixer, hi_watt and 3 others like this.
  6. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    Yes, an amazing one-off album.

    Rest in peace.....
  7. rediffusion

    rediffusion Forum Resident Thread Starter

  8. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City!

    Fonthill, Ontario
    Sad news. RIP
  9. rediffusion

    rediffusion Forum Resident Thread Starter

    From British DJ, Andy Kershaw’s Facebook page

    Great shame...

    Andy "Thunderclap" Newman has just died.

    Thunderclap Newman was a wonderful, yet underrated band. And Something In The Air (June 1969) marked my musical and political awakening.

    To this day, I can think of no record which more accurately reflected the time in which it was recorded, released, and - in the case of Something In The Air - reached number one in the UK charts.

    Following a dizzying eighteen months of turbulent world events, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon, just a couple of weeks after Something In The Air became a big hit.​
    Dublintown and hi_watt like this.
  10. BryanW

    BryanW Likes his pop sunny.

    Andy Newman's death is another sad loss to my generation. "Something in the Air" is a late-60s masterpiece that says more about the era than most of its contemporaries. I first noticed it in "The Magic Christian" and have since shared it with many others.
  11. smarone313

    smarone313 Forum Resident

    I loved hearing "Accidents" on AM radio in Syracuse NY - always late at night. Could never find the single. It wasn't until 1978 when I finally found the MCA reissue of Hollywood Dream. Since then one of my very favorite albums. Never imitated, never duplicated. RIP
    hi_watt likes this.
  12. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

    Directly connected in my memories too. :agree:
    Gardo likes this.
  13. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the Bunch

    Smogville CA USA
    Classic single from a great album.

    Rest In Peace to all.
  14. John54

    John54 Forum Resident

    Rest in peace. I always liked Something in the Air, and Accidents got airplay up here too.
  15. Petrofsk

    Petrofsk Gort to Get You into My Life! Staff

    Montreal, Canada
    Aw geez. That's sad. I will never tire of listening to that album. One of my all-time favourites.
  16. bekayne

    bekayne Forum Resident

  17. DreamIsOver

    DreamIsOver Forum Resident

    Chicago IL
    The first time I heard "Something In The Air" was via Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers covering it in concert in 1990. Gave me chills. Pre internet days, I had no idea it was a cover until I read a review in the newspaper the next day that mentioned it. I eventually tracked down the original on a dusty 45 that went into constant rotation for quite awhile.

    What a great, great song.

    By the way - the studio version Petty put out on the greatest hits album doesn't come any where close to that live version. Huge disappointment.
  18. longdist01

    longdist01 Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL USA
    RIP Andy, I too recall hearing from "The Magic Christian" films soundtrack.
    gingerly likes this.
  19. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    Yes this song is a late 60s "iconic" masterpiece.

    It kind of has an Apple or Badfinger feel to it, so it fit on the Magic Christian film (starring Ringo & Peter a sellers) soundtrack perfectly.

    Sad that this year is unrelenting huh.
    longdist01 likes this.
  20. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    I'm not seeing any confirmation of this news on any official sites, not even the Thunderclap Newman site.

    We might want to lock up this thread until we get better citations right.
  21. GV1967

    GV1967 Forum Resident

    Northeastern US
    Love his version of Dylan's "Open The Door, Homer". RIP.
    Grootna likes this.
  22. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH Forums.

    I've only known Something In The Air, a single which always gets my attention for aligning all elements perfectly. I never knew why I never heard anything more from an obviously talented band.
    Grootna, Gardo and bleachershane like this.
  23. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

    Sad news. I have Hollywood Dream on vinyl. Great album and talent. RIP.
  24. GuildX700

    GuildX700 Forum Resident

    I had a heck of a time finding the album back in the day, when I did I bought 2 copies!
    Grootna and Holy Diver like this.
  25. mr_mjb1960

    mr_mjb1960 I'm a Tarrytowner 'Til I die!

    Wait a second,hold the phone! Any news of Andy's passing is nowhere else on the internet,nor is it mentioned on the group's Official Facebook page,and no one else has any stories about it,either! Wonder if this was a Hoax?
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page