That's What Friends Are For Part 3: Andrew Belling
I moved into my first office in 1967 in the Hollywood landmark Taft Building on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Somewhere between then and my move to the Sunset-Cahuenga Building in 1969, I met Andy Belling. Neither of us remember how or when, but it kicked off a special relationship that has lasted over the past 50 years.
Andy had an unfinished album and when I heard it I knew I had stumbled across someone special. He was (and is) one of the best singer/songwriters I have ever heard. With the help of arranger, Bob Summers, we finished the album and began shopping it to record labels. It’s still a mystery that we couldn’t get it out there. My guess is that we were a little too early. Andy was in the mold of the Elton John, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Carole King genre and that singer/songwriter movement started a little later. Meanwhile, we got busy and his multitude of talents got in the way.
From that point on everything I asked Andy to do, he did…and brilliantly. Every assignment I threw at him he could handle: playing keyboards, writing songs or jingles on ridiculous deadlines, composing, arranging, scoring, conducting and more. I truly believe if Andy had not become my complete “in house” music department, my fledgling production company would have become a memory and I would have been back in Sacramento delivering bumpers to body shops for my father and brothers’ chrome plating shop.
Recently we came full circle. One of our first major film projects together was to do the music for Ralph Bakshi’s animated film, “Wizards”. It followed his groundbreaking film “Fritz The Cat”, the first independent animated film to gross over 100 million dollars. “Wizards” did not achieve those numbers but over the years has become a cult classic. Andy’s score became a trailblazer for this new musical phenomenon, the synthesizer.
While I am credited as music supervisor on the film, I never receive screen credit. In July on the 40th anniversary of the film, Wyrd War Records released a commemorative sound track. When Andy was approached about the project, he made sure I received credit on the album and said some extremely kind things about me in the liner notes.
Fifty years later, Andy still has my back. That’s what friends are for. Thanks, Andy