We are stunned and saddened to report that Lee Andrews, frontman of Philly doo wop ensemble, Lee Andrews & The Hearts and father to our own founder Questlove, passed away last night at the age of 79. Though we don’t much in the way of details to share about the circumstances of his passing, it goes without saying that our hearts are with the Andrews and Thompson families. His son, perhaps the hardest working man in the music industry, paid fitting father in a touching note, posted to his Instagram last night:
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”
Andrews, while not as commercially successful as his son, broke out of the Philly music scene with The Hearts and placed “Try The Impossible” on the charts back in 1958 and those who know Questlove or read his memoir Mo Meta Blues will feel as if they know the veteran musician through Questo’s vivid anecdotes. We are not currently aware of any official tributes or other memorial arrangements at this time, but we’ll share any details as are appropriate to be made public and in the mean time the best we can do is to allow the time to mourn and heal to Mr. Andrew’s family–blood and extended. If you’re looking to express your condolences, please leave them in the comment section below. As a final send-off, we leave you with a quote from Questlove’s reminiscences over his late father, excerpted from an interview with Terry Gross for NPR’s Fresh Air:
“At first he taught me how to read a Rand McNally map, so I could navigate. I was a human GPS by age 6. By 7 I graduated to wardrobe, so he taught me how to steam, how to iron, how to clean suede and leather, how to shine shoes.. my Dad just said, ‘You know the show. Go play it.”
That show, as NPR goes on to point out, where the preteen Questlove made his drumming debut — just happened to be at Radio City Music Hall, directly across the street from 30 Rockefeller Center, where Questlove and The Roots now play as the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. We think it’s safe to say he’s proud, Ahmir. Rest In Peace, Mr. Andrews.