Drummer Hal Blaine, who played on many of the biggest hits in music history, has died. His son-in-law, Andy Johnson, told The Associated Press that Hal Blaine died of natural causes Monday at his home in Palm Desert, California. He was 90. His family shared a statement on Blaine’s official Facebook page, writing: Hal Blaine – loving father and inspiration to countless friends, fans and musicians – has passed on today, March 11th, 2019 at the age of 90. May he rest forever on 2 and 4.
As a session drummer for the likes of Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys and thousands of others, Hal Blaine was a virtual one-man soundtrack of the 1960s and ’70s. His big break would come after he became friendly with studio drummer, Earl Palmer, who recommended him for recording sessions. This led to Hal recording ‘A Taste of Honey’ with Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, which became the first Record of the Year that Blaine played on.
In his seminal music history ‘The Sound of the City’, the late English writer and broadcaster, Charlie Gillett, observed that “For the casual listener, (Hal) Blaine’s drums were not the most noticeable feature of ‘Help Me Rhonda,’ ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ ‘I Got You Babe’ or ‘Eve of Destruction,’ but for the singers and for the other musicians on the sessions, his patterns provided exactly the right combination of relaxation and urgency that made the whole performance sound so convincing.”
Hal Blaine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award last year. He played on a wide range of songs now considered classics. Here are some highlights:
– “Strangers in the Night,” Frank Sinatra.
– “Return to Sender,” Elvis Presley.
– “Good Vibrations,” The Beach Boys.
– “Mr. Tambourine Man,” The Byrds.
– “A Taste of Honey,” Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.
– “California Dreaming,” The Mamas and the Papas.
– “The Way We Were,” Barbra Streisand.
– “Love Will Keep Us Together,” The Captain and Tennille.
– “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Simon & Garfunkel.
– “Another Saturday Night,” Sam Cooke.
– “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” The 5th Dimension.
– “(They Long To Be) Close To You,” The Carpenters.
Image source: https://www.imdb.com/name/