Photo credits to Michael Ochs

Iconic sessions drummer, Hal Blaine dies at age 90

News 13/03/2019

The veteran drummer who played on the Beach Boys' 'Pet Sounds' and 'Good Vibrations', Hal Blaine has passed away on Monday at the age of 90.

Confirmed on Facebook by Blaine's family, the statement wrote, "May he rest forever on 2 and 4. The family appreciates your outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Hal from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning."

Born in Massachusetts, Blaine had played over 40 Number One hits and over a hundred and fifty Top 10 singles. It is estimated that he had played on over 35,000 recordings.

In the '60s, he was part of Wrecking Crew and had helped Phil Spector to shape his signature "wall sound" that was used on the Ronettes' 'Be My Baby' hit song. “I may have missed the second beat,” Blaine once explained the song's intro to NPR. “So we went [sings beat] and it stuck. It became a hook and, of course, one of the most famous hooks in rock & roll.”

“The old timers, the guys that we kind of replaced, used to say these kids are going to wreck the business,” Blaine told NPR. “And I just automatically started calling us ‘The Wrecking Crew.'”Between 1966 to 1971, Blaine had been a drummer on six Record of the Year Grammy winners consecutively, including two Simon & Garfunkel tracks - 'Mrs. Robinson' and 'Bridge over Troubled Water'.

Blaine was known for his flexibility to play in various styles including mainstream pop, folk rock, jazz and more. 

In 2000, the prolific drummer was one of the first five sessions players to be inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2010 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award last year in 2018.

“I’m so sad, I don’t know what to say,” Beach Boys' Brian Wilson tweeted on Monday. Blaine also played on 'California Girls,' 'God Only Knows' and 'Wouldn’t It Be Nice,' and many others. “Hal Blaine was such a great musician and friend that I can’t put it into words. Hal taught me a lot, and he had so much to do with our success — he was the greatest drummer ever. We also laughed an awful lot. Love, Brian”

Have a look at the list of hit songs that he played the drums for below:

  • "Johnny Angel" – Shelley Fabares
  • "He's a Rebel" – The Crystals
  • "Surf City" – Jan & Dean
  • "I Get Around" – The Beach Boys
  • "Everybody Loves Somebody" – Dean Martin
  • "Ringo" – Lorne Greene
  • "This Diamond Ring" – Gary Lewis & the Playboys
  • "Help Me, Rhonda" – The Beach Boys
  • "Mr Tambourine Man" – The Byrds
  • "Eve of Destruction" – Barry McGuire
  • "My Love" – Petula Clark
  • "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" – Nancy Sinatra
  • "Monday Monday" – The Mamas & the Papas
  • "Strangers in the Night" – Frank Sinatra
  • "Poor Side of Town" – Johnny Rivers
  • "Good Vibrations" – The Beach Boys
  • "Somethin' Stupid" – Frank & Nancy Sinatra
  • "The Happening" – The Supremes
  • "Windy" – The Association
  • "Mrs. Robinson" – Simon & Garfunkel
  • "Dizzy" – Tommy Roe
  • "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" – The 5th Dimension
  • "Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet" – Henry Mancini
  • "Wedding Bell Blues" – The 5th Dimension
  • "Bridge Over Troubled Water" – Simon & Garfunkel
  • "(They Long to Be) Close to You" – The Carpenters
  • "Cracklin' Rosie" – Neil Diamond
  • "I Think I Love You" – The Partridge Family
  • "Indian Reservation" – The Raiders
  • "Song Sung Blue" – Neil Diamond
  • "Half Breed" – Cher
  • "Annie's Song" – John Denver
  • "Top of the World" – The Carpenters
  • "The Way We Were" – Barbra Streisand
  • "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" – John Denver
  • "Love Will Keep Us Together" – Captain & Tennille
  • "I'm Sorry"/"Calypso" – John Denver
  • "Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" – Diana Ross

See the full list here