Singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, and producer Andrew Gold may not have been a household name, but the Los Angeles pop-rock style he helped shape in the '70s was heard around the world. Gold, who has died at the age of 59, joined Linda Ronstadt's backing band straight after high school. His guitar and piano work helped define the sound of musicians like James Taylor and Carly Simon, the New York Times notes. He also enjoyed solo success with pop hits like 1977's "Lonely Boy" and "Thank You for Being a Friend," which later became the theme song for Golden Girls.
The son of two prominent musicians, he later went on to record with artists including Celine Dion, Cher, and every Beatle except John Lennon. "Andrew was so enormously talented it almost seemed effortless," Ronstadt tells the Los Angeles Times. "He was a real cornerstone of those early records." Gold, who is survived by his wife and his three children from an earlier marriage, died in his sleep at his Los Angeles home; he had cancer.