Andy Ross, the head of Food Records, has died at the age of 66.
The passing of the record label boss, known for signing Blur, Idlewild, Dubstar, Jesus Jones and more, was confirmed to NME by a close friend and collaborator. A cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Tributes for Ross have started to pour in on social media, including one from Jesus Jones. “We’re heartbroken at the loss of Andy Ross, one half of the mighty Food Records,” the band wrote on Twitter. “Without him, we’d have never been able to do what we did. We’ll always be grateful, and we’ll always miss him. Goodbye boss xxx”
Blur drummer Dave Rowntree told his followers on Twitter that he was “really sad to learn of the passing of my friend and mentor Andy Ross,” adding that “he was one of the good ones – generous, warm, and kind. They broke the mold.”
Former labelmates Idlewild agreed: “We are deeply saddened by the news of Andy Ross’s passing. He gave a noisy bunch of young Scottish punks a home at food records and played a huge part in us being able to make music for all these years. Thank you Andy. You’ll be missed. Rest in peace. X”
Really sad to learn of the passing of my friend and mentor Andy Ross. He was one of the good ones – generous, warm, and kind. They broke the mold.
— Dave Rowntree (@DaveRowntree) January 25, 2022
We are deeply saddened by the news of Andy Ross’s passing. He gave a noisy bunch of young Scottish punks a home at food records and played a huge part in us being able to make music for all these years. Thankyou Andy. You’ll be missed. Rest in peace. X
— Idlewild (@IdlewildtheBand) January 26, 2022
“There aren’t words to describe how I feel after being told that my first music industry boss and second Dad Andy Ross has passed away,” War Child director Miles Jacobson tweeted alongside a picture of him with Ross. “A man who defined the ‘work hard, play harder’ music industry in the 90’s who will be missed every day. Love & thoughts with Helen, his partner.”
Creation Records co-founder Alan McGee paid tribute on Instagram, writing: “Gutted my friend @andy.ross.boss passed last night,” McGee wrote on Instagram. “One of the all time good guys in the music game .. Will miss him .RIP”
We're heartbroken at the loss of Andy Ross, one half of the mighty Food Records. Without him, we'd have never been able to do what we did. We'll always be grateful, and we'll always miss him. Goodbye boss xxx
— Jesus Jones (@jesusjonesband) January 25, 2022
For those who are too young to have heard of Food Records, the record label where I grew up that Andy co-founded, here's a playlist of just a handful of bands and music that it brought you. Best listened to whilst raising a glass in Andy's memory.https://t.co/47hMlFk1iX
— Miles Jacobson 💙 (@milesSI) January 25, 2022
Originating from South London, Ross’ life in music began when he formed the band Disco Zombies while attending the University of Leicester from 1975-78. He also worked in a number of record shops before getting a job at the Inland Revenue.
Through a friend Ross then became a part-time music journalist. He left the Inland Revenue around 1986 to head Food Records whilst still a part-time journalist. Based in Camden, Food Records was formed in the mid-1980s by David Balfe.
While Ross was known for signing and working with many acts, one of his biggest moments came when he signed Blur in March 1990 after seeing them perform at the Islington Powerhaus the previous November.
After huge success, Blur’s final album associated with Food Records was their sixth, ’19’, which was released in March 1999. EMI bought out Food Records in early 1994.
You can see more tributes to Ross below:
RIP Andy Ross. Such a lovely, lovely person. He will be missed, but his influence lives on!
— The Subways (@thesubways) January 25, 2022
So sad to hear about the death of Andy Ross. A friend for over 30 years…our long talks about music and Crystal Palace football club with live with me forever. RIP Andy x
— James Endeacott (@jamesendeacott) January 25, 2022
I'd just like to pay a heartfelt tribute to the late great music boss Andy Ross who has passed away. It's shocking news Andy was a top top bloke I'll really miss him. When I moved to Camden in the mid 90's Andy was local legend through his involvement with Blur, Food Records.. pic.twitter.com/ckbAZ1wXXu
— Matt James (@musicmattjames) January 25, 2022
company. Super knowledgeable on so many subjects. He will be sorely missed but he left his mark on the UK music scene & further afield. He was kind, hilarious & cantankerous in equal measure. RIP Andy all hail LordofCamden & my sincerest condolences to Helen xxx
— Matt James (@musicmattjames) January 25, 2022
Sad to hear about Andy Ross dying. I had a lot of time for Andy, he was a really good guy who even though I was an annoying little kid he was always dead nice to me when I’d bump into him at a gig or in the Good Mixer or Old Eagle pic.twitter.com/jhwt4lhG7Z
— Secret Drug Addict (@ScrtDrugAddict) January 25, 2022
RIP to DIY god Andy Ross. Founder of Leicester punk heroes the Disco Zombies, he is responsible for three of the best UK 7"s ever. https://t.co/lozay8NrTV
— Damian Abraham (@leftfordamian) January 25, 2022
RIP Andy Ross. Too many memories rushing in but my favourite was taking him into the Creation offices to listen to music at the height of the Blur vs Oasis wars and the looks he got as “the other side”. A great man.
— wichitarecs (@wichitarecs) January 25, 2022
Very sorry to hear of the death of Andy Ross just now from @steve_lamacq – here is my one, very brief, but very fortuitous meeting with him in the car park of Tonbridge Angel Centre in 1991 https://t.co/7nDZLHIjBx
— Rob Crilly (@robcrilly) January 25, 2022
We’re saddened to hear about the loss of music legend Andy Ross. Andy was a huge help to us with advice, love and support when we first moved to London. He was the man we looked to for direction and we’re so shocked to hear he’s gone.
— The Rills🤠 (@TheRills) January 25, 2022
Very sad news about Andy Ross, I first met him when our old band US:UK were kicking up a bit of a storm, he took me for lunch in Soho, he didn’t sign us, but I always considered him a top bloke, and he gave the world some mighty fine music via Food Records RIP mate
— Calling All Astronauts (@CAA_Official) January 25, 2022
What a beautiful soul. Andy Ross is a golden thread woven into SO many stories in our documentary that the newer wave of music would not be the same without him, as would the end of the last century. We miss you, golden soul. Rest in power. https://t.co/8nmKoZuDJh
— TheZineUK (@thezineuk) January 25, 2022
So sad to hear about the passing of Andy Ross – when I was a 16-year-old hack during Britpop, he properly looked after and out for me, was superb company, had excellent musical taste, and was basically who you hope the music industry is full of, but sadly isn't. https://t.co/5E7fFJCViA
— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) January 25, 2022
So sad to hear about Andy Ross. Clever, funny, genuine and really one of the good guys. It's no understatement to say his work at Food Records – bringing a bit of art and smart pop into the 90s mainstream – changed music for the better and forever. Love to Helen and his family. x https://t.co/Wylh2YirAI
— Matt Everitt (@matteveritt) January 25, 2022
— Pete Paphides (@petepaphides) January 25, 2022
This is a developing story – more to follow…