November 11, 2015

Andy White, 1930-2015

Andy White in the 1950s.

The famous drummer Andy White died on November 9th at the age of 85. Although he was active in the pipe band scene for many years, he was most well-known for playing with the Beatles on the group’s first single, “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You,” called in as a session drummer in 1962 when producer George Martin disliked newcomer Ringo Starr’s playing. Starr was relegated to playing tambourine on the record, and White said he was paid earned £5 and no royalties for his work.

White was born on July 27, 1930, in Glasgow, and started drumming with the local Boys Brigade pipe band at age 12. By 17 he was a professional session musician, recording with artists such as Herman’s Hermits, Billy Fury, Tom Jones, Bill Haley and Chuck Berry.

Before moving to Caldwell, New Jersey, in the late 1980s, he played with Alex Duthart’s Grade 1 British Caledonian Airways drum section. In the U.S. he taught pipe band drumming and played occasionally with pipe bands, including the New York City Department of Corrections Emerald Pipe Band. He also was a certified judge with the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association, and was a popular figure around the eastern U.S. piping and drumming scene.

At this sad time, we extend our sympathies to Andy White’s family and many friends on their loss.


  1. Andy was a terrific kit drummer, very artistic with a great sense of humour. He and Bobby Orr joined the original British Caledonian Airways Pipe Band, based in Gatwick, London under Pipe Major Robert Richardson, es-Muirhead’s, in 1975. Andy worked as a session drummer in London with his life-long fellow session drummer and friend Bobby Orr. Bobby had played with big bands Ted Heath, Johnny Dankworth, Benny Goodman and was drummer on the last Sammy Davis tour of Europe. During his stay with the band Andy won the Melody Maker “Session Man of the Year” Award for his work in the studios. Apart from his work with the Beatles he handled most of the Bay City Rollers original recordings.

    In 1976 Andy moved to Glasgow to a full-time position with the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra until the band was disbanded in the early 1980’s when he moved to the USA. The London based band had met up with him a few times when they were performing on the Scottish BBC TV New Year Show at Queen Margarette’s Studio in Glasgow.

    For the record David Bruce, ex- Glasgow Skye followed as leading drummer in 1976 when the band won the World’s and Champion’s of Champions in Grade 2 and were upgraded to Grade 1. The Renfrew band who had been sponsored by British Caledonian Airways for the previous four years subsequently lost their sponsorship. They continued competing with Pipe Major Iain Macleod and leading drummer Joe Noble with sponsorship Babcock’s.

    In 1978 Bob Turner, es-Muirhead’s took over as leading drummer of the Gatwick based band, before he moved to a drumming position in Dubai and subsequently, New Zealand.

    The only time Andy might have played with Alex Duthart was when Andy was involved with the Clan Macrae Band many years ago before he moved south!

    Rest in Peace Andy.

  2. P.S. – i completely forgot to mention possibly one of the finest group of side-drummers ever assembled in a pipe band following Bob Turner’s reign as LD.

    Alex Duthart, Bert Barr, Eric Ward, Arthur Cook and Drew Duthart joining up with existing members of London based B.Cal, Jimmy Collins, Tommy Johnstone and Tony Burns. Sadly Alex suffered a fatal heart attack whilst playing with the band at Macey’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on 27 November 1986 at the junction of 42nd Street and Broadway.

    When British Airways bought out B.Cal in 1988 the band was made redundant. The Scotland based members under Harry McNulty gaining sponsorship from Scottish Power and the Gatwick based band continuing independently.



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