Veteran drummer played on dozens of classic hit singles
Brian Wilson and The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr are among a host of stars who have paid tribute to legendary drummer Hal Blaine, who has died aged 90.
The veteran drummer played on the Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’ and ‘Good Vibrations’, along withh the Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’ and Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Mrs. Robinson’ as a member of The Wrecking Crew, a group of elite Los Angeles session players.
The musician’s family confirmed the news in a statement via Facebook.
“May he rest forever on 2 and 4,” they wrote. “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. No further details will be released at this time.” A cause of death was not revealed.
A host of veteran musicians have come out to pay their respects including Brian Wilson and Ringo Starr.”
“I’m so sad, I don’t know what to say,” wrote Wilson. “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.”
“God bless Hal Blaine peace and love to all his family. Goodbye Hal an incredible musician,” added Starr.
The Ronettes singer Ronnie Spector also paid her respects. “25 Months ago Hal Blaine and I made music for the last time together at the NAMM Convention,” she wrote. “Today I regrettably have to say goodbye to Hal, and thank him for the magic he put on all our Ronettes recordings… and so many others throughout his incredible career. Thank you Hal. Love forever, Ronnie xxx.”
Blaine was born Harold Simon Belsky in Holyoke, Massachusetts on February 5, 1929. He became a crucial member of the Wrecking Crew, which served as producer Phil Spector’s studio band and helped shape his signature “wall of sound” which featured on the Ronettes’ 1963 hit ‘Be My Baby’.
The drummer played on a number dozens classic singles in his career, including the Byrds’ version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’, the 5th Dimension’s ‘Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In’, Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and Barbara Streisand’s ‘The Way We Were’.
The Wrecking Crew’s contributions to music history went largely overlooked in their time, only achieving more esteem years later thanks to biographies and documentaries. In 2000, Blaine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.