Andy ‘Thunderclap’ Newman of ‘Something in the Air’ Fame Dies at 73
Andy Newman, whose self-named band, Thunderclap Newman, had a psychedelic rock classic in 1969 with "Something in the Air," died on March 30 at the age of 73. As of now, the cause of death is unknown.
The news was broken on the Who's Facebook page. Pete Townshend had assembled the group and produced and played bass on their only album, Hollywood Dream, under the pseudonym "Bijou Drains."
Townshend and Newman, a pianist, became friends in art college, and hired him when he was looking to create a project around the songs of John "Speedy" King, a drummer/singer and member of the Who's road crew, who had written "Armenia City in the Sky" on 1967's The Who Sell Out. They were rounded out by Jimmy McCulloch, a teenage guitar wizard who would spend three years with Paul McCartney in Wings.
"Something in the Air" reached No. 1 in the U.K. when it was used in The Magic Christian, the same film that helped launch Badfinger to stardom. It only got as far as No. 37 in the U.S., but has remained a steady presence on classic rock radio. It was covered Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as a bonus track on their 1993 Greatest Hits compilation.
Hollywood Dream came out a year later, but they were unable to build upon the success of the single. They broke up in 1971, with Newman releasing a solo album, Rainbow, later that year. McCulloch died in 1979 and Keen passed in 2002. In 2010, Newman assembled a new version of Thunderclap Newman with Mark Brzezicki (Big Country, Townshend's solo albums) on drum, Townshend's nephew Josh on guitar, and they spent the next couple of years touring.
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