Monday, June 06, 2011

Thank You For Being A Friend

There were many rituals, rites of passage, events whatever you want to call them at my high school.  One of these was ring day. It occurred when we were juniors and it was a ceremony to get your high school ring.  Buying a ring wasn't an option, you had to do it. I didn't want one, knowing full well I wouldn't wear it. I chose the cheaper silver version. I think I was the only one in my class that didn't have the gold ring. It cracked in the back about a month after I got it.  So much for the Jostens' ring.

Girls (there was no male students at my high school) would perform songs. If I remember correctly we wore the rings on a red ribbon around our necks and when the ribbon was cut, we were presented with our rings.  It took place in the school auditorium.

Having learned to play the guitar, I joined forces with two others to perform. We really wanted to sing Hall and Oates' It's A Laugh, but we couldn't get that song choice approved, so we went with Thank You For Being a Friend.  It was all about having fun and turning the song into a clap-a-roo.  Anything to shake up an otherwise, slow moving, predictable event.

Thank You eventually became the theme song for The Golden Girls.  For my birthday this year, my  high school friend Jill, gave me a card that played the song.  It's been in my DNA since it came out.

Andrew Gold, the writer and singer of that song died after a battle with cancer.  I seem to expect musicians to live forever (think Keith Richards), so it always comes as a surprise.  Andrew's other hit was Lonely Boy.  I always liked the sweet Never Let Her Slip Away.  He knew how to write a hook.  He was a multi-instrumentalist who played on, wrote and/or arranged songs for Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Ringo Starr, Celine Dion and James Taylor.

What I didn't know about Andrew was his musical lineage.  His mother is Marni Nixon who was the singing voice for Natalie Wood in West Side Story and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady.  His father is Ernest Gold, the Oscar winning film composer. 

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