Big Brother And The Holding Company guitarist Sam Andrew was born on this day in 1941

He composed several of the band’s hits including “Call On Me” and “Combination Of The Two”

Big Brother And The Holding Company guitarist Sam Andrew was born on this day in 1941

Sam Houston Andrew III was born on December 18th, 1941 in Taft, California. Andrew developed a skill for music at a very early age. By the time he was seventeen living in Okinawa, he already had his own band, called the “Cool Notes”, and his own weekly TV show, an Okinawan version of American Bandstand. His early influences were Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Little Richard; he also listened to a great deal of Delta blues which influenced his guitar playing.During the early 1960’s he started attending classes at the University of San Francisco, becoming involved with the San Francisco folk music scene but only after returning from a two-year stay in Europe he met Peter Albin and together formed the Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1965. Being a prolific songwriter all of his life, penning his first tune at the age of six, Andrew brought several songs to the band, some of his early compositions included “Call on Me” and “Combination of the Two”, two of Big Brother’s most enduring classic tracks. Andrew and original band mate James Gurley were known for their searing, psychedelic guitar work. After Janis Joplin was recruited by band manager Chet Helms to join Big Brother as lead singer in 1966, they landed a record contract, issuing their first album in 1967, the self titled “Big Brother And The Holding Company”, that included songs such as “Easy Rider”, “Down on Me”, “Light is Faster Than Sound” and “Bye, Bye Baby”, on Mainstream and their second in 1968, the best seller “Cheap Thrills” on Columbia Records that included “Piece Of My Heart”, “Summertime”, “Ball And Chain”, “Oh, Sweet Mary” and “Combination of the Two” among others. In December 1968, Andrew and Joplin left Big Brother and the Holding Company 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 but without Joplin.  After Big Brother stopped performing in 1972, he moved to New York City, where he studied harmony and counterpoint at the New School for Social Research and composition at Mannes School of Music. During this period he also scored several films in the US and Canada as well as writing two string quartets and a symphony. He remained in New York City for eight years before returning to San Francisco, where he began playing clarinet and saxophone. Big Brother and the Holding Company reunited in 1987. During the 1990s, in addition to touring with Big Brother, Andrew was involved with his solo project, The Sam Andrew Band. Sam Andrew passed away in San Francisco, California on February 12, 2015, following complications from open-heart surgery due to a heart attack suffered ten weeks prior. At the time of his death he was touring with a reformed version of the Big Brother And The Holding Company that included original founding member Peter Albin.

Watch the Big Brother and the Holding Company performing “Combination Of The Two” in 1967 live at the Monterey Pop Festival with Sam Andrew on guitar

Watch the Big Brother and the Holding Company performing “Summertime” in 1968 with Sam Andrew on guitar

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Listen to Big Brother And The Holding Company live at The Winterland, San Francisco, 1968 on Spotify

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