Andy White, a longtime session musician, died Monday in his New Jersey home after suffering a stroke Thursday, his wife Thea confirmed to EW. He was 85 years old.
“He was an enormously talented drummer, a true gentleman, a humble and gentle man and the best husband any woman could ever hope to have,” White writes to EW via email. “By the way, all these lavish words of praise are not from [me], but from the mouths of others who knew and respected him. Of course, I agree with all of it!”
Born in Glasgow in 1930, White made his bones in the ’60s by drumming for Tom Jones (including “It’s Not Unusual”) and Herman’s Hermits, though his most notable recording is drumming for The Beatles’ No. 1 single “Love Me Do.” It was recorded after the exit of Pete Best and Ringo Starr’s entrance to the quartet. White’s session garnered no royalties — not uncommon —according to a profile by The Progress (Caldwell, N.J.).
The label would grab him sporadically to fill in drum parts. “I would get a call from EMI and you never knew what you were going to be asked to do,” he once told The Progress. “[The Beatles] were nice lads.”
In addition to his session work, White toured with actress-singer Marlene Dietrich in the ’60s; her cabaret shows were directed by Burt Bacharach. Sopranos actor and E-Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt tapped White to consult on the 2012 film Not Fade Away.
White and Thea, best known for voicing Muriel in the former Cartoon Network series Courage the Cowardly Dog, were married for 32 years. He lived in Caldwell since marrying Thea and taught drum lessons.