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Andrew Youakim, performing as Andy Kim, is a Canadian pop rock singer and songwriter. He grew up in Montreal, Quebec. He is known for a number of hit singles that he released in the late 1960s and early 1970s such as "Rock Me Gently", which topped the US singles chart. In 1968, he co-wrote "Sugar, Sugar" for The Archies. It was #1 for four weeks and in 1969 was certified "Record of the Year" by the RIAA.
He has recorded under the stage name Baron Longfellow since the mid-1980s or just as Longfellow in the early 1990s.
Life and career:
Andy Youakim was born in Montreal, Quebec, on 5 December in either 1946 (as cited by VH1, United Press International, and Rolling Stone), or 1952 (as cited by sources including Allmusic and Billboard Books). Various published interviews with Kim from the mid-1970s support the 1946 dating, while Kim's current biography on his official website offers no specific year of birth.
Youakim is the third of four sons of Lebanese immigrants. He moved to New York to pursue a career in music. If the 1952 birthdate is correct, then he was only 10 or 11 when he issued his first single in 1963. He recorded as "Andy Kim", using the different last name as a way to obscure his Lebanese ethnicity, though on his earliest releases he still used the name "Youakim" in the writing credits.
In 1968, after minor recording successes over the previous few years, Kim released the single "How'd We Ever Get This Way?" on the Steed label; it just missed the U.S. Top 20, reaching number 21.
Also in 1968, with Jeff Barry, Kim co-wrote "Sugar, Sugar" which was a hit single for The Archies, reaching #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and ultimately becoming the RIAA Record of the Year. Kim & Barry wrote more songs for the Archies, and also for Changes, from The Monkees in 1970, which Barry produced.
In 1969, Kim had two hit singles, "Rainbow Ride", which made the US Top 50, and "Baby, I Love You", which got to #9 and was popular enough in Canada to earn him a Gold Leaf (Juno) Award in 1970 as his country's Best Male Vocalist. "Baby, I Love You" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in October 1969.
Over the next few years, Kim recorded a few minor hits (such as "Be My Baby" in late 1970) and toured North America extensively. In the spring of 1974, he released the self-penned "Rock Me Gently", which went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and rose to #2 on the UK Singles Chart. "Rock Me Gently" sold three million copies globally, earning Kim his second gold disc.
Kim had shied away from touring for years before then, when he was working with the Steed label. He has said that he had created a person in his music in the vein of a white blond surfer and that fans were shocked to see his dark skin color and appearance. As well, he had altered his voice on his earlier records to sound younger.
By the end of 1976, Kim stopped recording and disappeared from public life. He returned under the stage name 'Baron Longfellow' with a self-titled album Baron Longfellow in 1980 and, also under the same pseudonym, in 1984 released Prisoner by Design. Both of these albums met with moderate success. In 1991, Kim again went by the name 'Longfellow' and recorded the single "Powerdrive", which received radio airplay on several radio stations across Canada.
In 1995, Kim played at the Kumbaya Festival, at which the Barenaked Ladies were also performing. Nearly a decade later, the band's Ed Robertson convinced Kim to come out of retirement. Robertson co-wrote the song "I Forgot to Mention" with him and offered to produce the track. The single was released on a 5-track EP in 2004 which included a re-recording of "Powerdrive".
In March 2005, Kim received the annual "Indie Award" for Favorite Solo Artist during Canadian Music Week. The music video for "Love Is...", released in the summer of 2005, reached #1 at Bravo.ca. In 2005, he co-wrote "What Ever Happened to Christmas" with Ron Sexsmith. The same year, he established the Andy Kim Christmas Show - a live concert at the Mod Club in Toronto in which a variety of artists were invited to perform mostly Christmas music. Kim's band acted as house band for the artists, who donated their time for the show. Proceeds were donated to the CHUM/CITY Christmas Wish. The show repeated in 2006, with a similar lineup. Proceeds from the show went to support the Children's Aid Foundation, and the edited show was aired on Mix 99.9 on Christmas Eve and Day. The Andy Kim Christmas show has become an annual tradition that continues to present day. The annual show either takes place at the Mod Club or Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, and proceeds from the evening are donated to a different children's charity each year.
More recently, Kim's music has again come into the public eye, as "Rock Me Gently" was sped up slightly and used by Jeep for their Jeep Liberty commercial ("Pouring In"). His name can be seen on the radio display near the beginning of the commercial.
In 2009, Kim was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
In March 2010, E1 Music Canada released Happen Again, Kim's first album in over 20 years.
In 2014, he collaborated with Kevin Drew on the album It's Decided, released on February 24, 2015 on Arts & Crafts.