When examining the discography of singer-songwriter Andrew Gold, it doesn’t take long to clock his biggest hit: 1977’s “Lonely Boy,” his lone Top 10 single. That said, it’s fair to say his most recognizable composition is a different tune entirely, one which found its greatest fame not on the pop charts but as the opening theme to a long-running NBC sitcom.
Penned by Gold himself, “Thank You for Being a Friend” didn’t exactly require a great deal of its songwriter’s time to come into existence. Indeed, he once described the ditty as “just this little throwaway thing” and clocked the sum total of time it took to write at “about an hour.”
In fact, it took way, way longer to record than it took to write.
“We did 40 takes of that, because I wanted it to sound a specific way,” Gold said in an interview with his friend and drummer Michael Botts. “I think I was getting glared at by [drummer] Jeff Porcaro. The vocal on that record was a rough vocal I did at about 5:30 in the afternoon just to have a rough vocal, and I could never improve upon it. But we redid the bridge because it was out of tune.”
Gold’s version of the song was a modest hit, climbing to No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it was an even bigger hit on the Adult Contemporary chart, hitting No. 15. Of course, the greatest fame achieved by “Thank You for Being a Friend” came not from Gold, but rather studio singer Cynthia Fee for the opening credits of the NBC sitcom The Golden Girls.
“I used to always call it onstage as ‘this is my accountant's favorite song,’” Gold said in an interview with Classic Bands. “It's true, it made me millions of dollars over the years, just because it's one of those friends songs. There's about five songs like ‘You've Got a Friend.’ It made it into that area. So now I see it in like, cards. You open it up and there's a little chip in there and it sings music, ‘Thank You For Being a Friend’ and luckily it sings my version.”