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RIP Sam Andrew

Sam Andrew, guitarist and founding member of Big Brother and The Holding Company, passed away on February 12th, at the age of 73. His death stemmed from complications related to a heart attack ten weeks earlier that left him in critical condition.

by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-02-17

As the son of a military father, Andrew moved a great deal as a child. Shortly after he graduated from high school, his father was transferred to Hamilton Air Force Base in northern California. It was during this period that he started attending classes at the University of San Francisco, becoming involved with the San Francisco folk music scene of the early 1960s. However it was not until he returned from a two-year stay in Paris that he met Peter Albin at 1090 Page Street. As Big Brother and the Holding Company came together, Andrew brought many songs into the band. He has been a prolific songwriter all of his life, penning his first tune at the age of six. Of his early compositions, "Call on Me" and "Combination of the Two" have been two of Big Brother’s most enduring classic tracks. Until up until his final illness in early 2015 Andrew continued in his original role as the musical director of the band. Janis Joplin was recruited by band manager Chet Helms to join Big Brother as lead singer on June 4, 1966. The band released their first album on Mainstream in 1967, and their second Cheap Thrills on Columbia Records the following year. At the end of 1968, Andrew and Joplin left Big Brother to form the Kozmic Blues Band. After about nine months and one album, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, Andrew returned to Big Brother.

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Related artist(s): Big Brother & the Holding Company

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