Andy Schwartzwas born 8/17/1951 in New York City and grew up in suburban Westchester County. He attended his first “rock concert” at age 14, a high school gymnasium extravaganza starring Brooklyn vocal group The Jive Five (featuring the great Eugene Pitt) and the Jagged Edge, a Rolling Stones clone. In his high school years, Andy saw the Doors at the Village Theater; both Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream at Hunter College; the Grateful Dead at the New York State Pavilion of the World’s Fair, and Big Brother & the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin) at opening night of Bill Graham’s Fillmore East.
Andy began writing about pop music circa 1972 as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota and later wrote a weekly column (“Blues, Rags, and Hollers”) for the alternative weekly Metropolis. He also worked behind the counter of the legendary Minneapolis record shop Oar Folkjokeopus. Soon after returning to New York in 1977, Andy became publisher and editor of New York Rocker, the punk/new wave magazine founded by the late Alan Betrock (1950-2000). Under Andy’s direction, NYR published 44 issues (through December 1982) and became the most widely-read and influential American publication of its kind.
After several years as a freelance writer, publicist, and artist manager, in 1989 Andy was named Director of Editorial Services for Epic Records, a division of Sony Music. In this position, which he held until July 2000, he wrote countless artist biographies, press releases, and executive speeches as well as liner notes for such historically significant reissues as Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble at Carnegie Hall. At Epic, Andy worked with artists ranging from Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine to Cyndi Lauper and Celine Dion; the Allman Brothers Band and G. Love & Special Sauce were two of the artists with whom he was most closely associated.
Andy’s association with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame began in 1988; for the induction years 1989-1992, he served as editor of of the program book published for the Hall’s annual induction dinner. Since 1993, he has been a frequent contributor to the program, writing artist biographies and essays on topics in pop music history. From 2001-2004, Andy was a research consultant to the Rock Hall’s Library & Archive project, exploring the files and papers of several veteran music-industry executives. In 2008, he was a major editorial contributor to the permanents exhibits of the Rock Annex in New York.
In December 2007, Greenwood Press published the two-volume reference work ICONS OF ROCK, co-written with Scott Schinder and featuring Andy’s essays on James Brown, Led Zeppelin, and Ray Charles. Among other current projects, Andy is the copywriter for Jazz Standard, one of Manhattan’s top jazz venues, writing artist descriptions for the club’s monthly calendar and its widely distributed brochure.
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