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Hal Willner, producer for Lou Reed, SNL has passed away

News 08/04/2020

Film, TV and music producer, Hal Willner, has passed away just a day after turning 64 from complications related to coronavirus.

Born in Philadelphia, Willner produced records for Lou Reed (2007's Hudson River Wind Meditations), Marianne Faithfull (1987's Strange Weather) and more. He was also famously known as a sketch music producer for Saturday Night Live's music skits that began in 1980.

"I was the youngest person here back then, and eventually overnight I became the oldest," he once joked.

Willner was known for his ability to assemble musicians for tributes and compilations including the star-studded 1988 record, Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films that featured Ringo Starr (Beatles), Michael Stipe (R.E.M), blues singer Bonnie Raitt, the Replacements, Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor and more. He also produced jazz tribute albums that included contributions from music legends like Peter Frampton, Keith Richards and Elvis Costello.

In 1991, Willner also invited a young Jeff Buckley to play at a tribute concert for his father, Tim Buckley, which was often associated as the start of Jeff Buckley's career.