Andrew Gold, “Lonely Boy”

Wounds inflicted in childhood tend to take the longest time to heal. Perhaps that’s why Andrew Gold’s “Lonely Boy” struck such a chord, reaching the Top Ten in the U.S. back in 1977. Forty years later, there’s something about the turbo-charged melancholy of the song that still makes it a favorite of soundtrack-makers everywhere. (The stunning use of it by Paul Thomas Anderson in Boogie Nights alone puts it in the movie song Hall of Fame.)

For Gold, who made his bones as a key component of Linda Ronstadt’s band throughout her 70’s string of successes before becoming a solo artist, the song that became his biggest hit didn’t take too long to write and only took its form because he couldn’t be bothered to work on it longer. “So it took about four hours,” Gold told interviewer Mike James. “It was gonna be a real long song, because back then that's what people were doing a lot. They would cut it down for radio. But I got bored after the third verse.”

Gold’s story of sibling rivalry certainly wouldn’t have made as much impact without the dynamic music that surrounded it. Many of his cohorts from Ronstadt’s band were along for the recording, while West Coast studio legend Waddy Wachtel played lead guitar and added the solo that tears through the middle section of the song. Gold himself played the syncopated piano part that pulls you back in every time it appears.

As for the story, much has been made of the fact that the timeline (boy born in ’51, sister born in ’53) matches Gold’s biographical details. He showed a bit of regret for the fact in an interview with Spencer... Sign In to Keep Reading

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