Thursday, March 31, 2016

Passings: Andy "Thunderclap" Newman (1942 - 2016)

Andy "Thunderclap" Newman, who was part of the band Thunderclap Newman that had the hit Something in the Air, has died at the age of 73.

Pete Townshend was instrumental in assembling Thunderclap Newman in 1969. The Who announced his passing on Facebook:

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Andy 'Thunderclap' Newman, who passed away yesterday age 73. Rest in peace.
Townshend formed the band to showcase the songs of the Who's roadie John "Speedy" Keen who had written the song Armenia City in the Sky that opens The Who Sell Out album. Pete produced and played bass on their first recording, Something in the Air, using the pseudonym Bijou Drains and they brought in Newman, who worked in the British post office and played Dixieland piano on the side, and 15-year-old guitarist Jimmy McCulloch.

Something in the Air, which Keen had written for the film The Magic Christian, went to number 1 in the U.K. for three weeks and peaked at 37 in the U.S. The followup single, Accidents, went to 46 in Britain.

While they were initially conceived as a studio band, the success of Air put them on the road with the addition of Jim Pittman-Avery on bass and Jack McCulloch on drums.

They recorded one album, Hollywood Dream, which was released in 1970 but, by April 1971, internal strife broke up the band. Newman went on to record a solo album, Rainbow, that was released later in 1971.

In 2010, Newman resurrected the Thunderclap Newman name with a new lineup for a show at the Con Club in Lewes, Sussex, England. They went on to record a new album, Beyond Hollywood (2010), and opened for Big Country for a 2011 tour. There were plans to record a followup starting next month.

One of the members of the new Thunderclap Newman was Big Country drummer Mark Brzezicki, who wrote:
I'm really sad to hear the news of my dear friend and wonderful musician Andy "Thunderclap" Newman, who passed away at his home in London on Tuesday 29th March 2016 age 73.

He was an unsung musical genius.

He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him personally, and by his wonderful music.

It was an honour both knowing and working with you Andy.

God bless you Andy.

Mark Brzezicki


heresjohnnie said...

Another great has left us!