LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Versatile singer/songwriter Andrew Gold, who enjoyed chart success in the 1970s with the songs "Lonely Boy" and "Thank You For Being a Friend," died in his sleep. He was 59.
The Los Angeles Times said he died at his home on Friday. He had been undergoing cancer treatment but was responding well to treatment.
Gold, the son of Oscar-winning composer Ernest Gold and singer Marni Nixon, got his break in 1973 when he joined Linda Ronstadt's band. He played a key role on such tunes as "You're No Good" and "When Will I Be Loved?"
He launched a parallel solo career in 1975 with a self-titled album on which he played most of the instruments. The track "Endless Flight" was later covered by Leo Sayer.
The following year he went to No. 7 on the U.S. singles chart with "Lonely Boy," a tune from his follow-up album "What's Wrong With This Picture?" Gold recorded the album while working on Ronstadt's "Hasten Down the Wind," with the artists sharing the same band.
With an opening line that went "He was born on a summer's day 1951," the resentful song about an elder son overshadowed by his baby sister seemed to mirror milestones in his own life, although Gold denied any autobiographical similarities.
His third album and personal favorite, 1978's "All This and Heaven Too," yielded the top-40 hit "Thank You For Being a Friend," a decidedly more optimistic tune. A cover version became the theme song for the 1980s sitcom "Golden Girls."
Another tune, "Never Let Her Slip Away," was a U.K. hit. Members of the Eagles were present during the session, and Gold later noted -- without rancor -- that they borrowed the song's opening for their hit "Heartache Tonight."
Gold continued recording, and teamed up in 1983 with British singer Graham Gouldman of 10cc to record three albums. He went on to work with artists such as Wynonna Judd, Vince Gill, Aaron Neville, and Celine Dion. In the 1990s he recorded the theme song for the sitcom "Mad About You." His last release was the 2008 covers set "Copy Cat," dominated by Beatles songs.
He is survived by his mother, wife and three daughters from his first marriage.
(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Jill Serjeant)