Lee Andrews, Singer and Father to Questlove, Has Died

He helped create and shape Philly's musical legacy.

The Greatest Teacher in my life, my dad Lee Andrews June 2nd 1936-March 16 2016. I love you. For every backstage experience. For every drum lesson. For giving me your tireless work ethic. For our father & son record binging expeditions. For our arguments over the summer I discovered #ItTakesANationOfMillions. For the look on your face when I told you “imma give this rap thing a try” (I waited til our 2nd album to have this convo btw) For the look on your face 5 years later when I told you “you don’t have to work no more. For the look on your face when a year later I was like “Seriously dad, you don’t have to work anymore!” For bringing my mom & my sister into my life. For the years we fell out. For the years we put it back together. But really, for the last 2 conversations we had. I understand why you were so hard on me praying I didn’t succumb to a fate not meant for a teenager in west philly in the mid 80s. I didn’t understand it at the time. But I appreciate it now. I hope Donn & I do you proud. #LeeAndrewsAndTheHearts

A video posted by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on

Lee Andrews — best known as the father to Roots drummer Amir “Questlove” Thompson, but also a renowned Philadelphia musician in his own right — died Wednesday. He was 79.

According to All Music Guide, Andrews was born Arthur Lee Andrew Thompson and spent his early life in Goldsboro, NC. — he was the son of Beechie Thompson, himself a vocalist with the Dixie Hummingbirds. The family moved to Philadelphia when the Arthur Thompson was two.

In the 1950s he formed Lee Andrews & The Hearts, producing hit songs like “Teardrops,” “Long Lonely Nights,” and “Try the Impossible.” He revived the group in the 1970s — after a semi-retirement in the 1960s, owning a West Philly dress shop — to take advantage of the 1950s nostalgia of that era.

The Hearts were added the Philadelphia Music Alliance’s Walk of Fame in 1992.

Andrews is a big presence in the book Mo Meta Blues, Questlove’s acclaimed musical autobiography from 2013. In the book, Questlove described how his father’s music began to help shape his own sensibilities.

“Our house was rich with records, maybe five thousand vinyl LPs,” Questlove wrote. “My father took everything that interested him, from rock to soul to folk to country. If he liked it, he liked it. He was broad in his tastes in that way, although if he was left to his own devices he went for vocals. He was a singer, and he came from the school of Nat King Cole, so his tastes veered into tasteful soft rock with clear melodies: the yacht rock of its day, decades before anyone called it that. He liked Tapestry, 10cc, Bread. He loved singing along to the radion tuned to Magic 103, putting out that dentist’s-office music.”

No word, yet, on funeral arrangements.

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