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Hal Blaine – The Drummer’s Drummer Remembered

We lost a living legend in music…

 

 

by Dendy Jarett

 

 

Throughout my career, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing many great drummers. While I respect them all, I’ve never been a drummer who was impressed by flashy playing and mega-chops. I was more into how the drums relate to the music. I loved that the song, but the drums were the parts of the music that drew me in.

 

I grew up in an A.M. radio era until the late 70s when I got my first F.M. stereo. The legendary Hal Blaine played most of the songs served on A.M. during this era.

 

Hal was part of The Wrecking Crew. They were the “hit makers” musicians of the day, and the discography of songs that Hal performed on is seemingly endless.

 

If Hal Blaine had been able to recoup the enormous amount of money he left on the table by providing drum lessons for many of us “want to be” drummers, he’d have been a rich, rich man. He never sat with any of us and taught us directly; rather,  he simply taught us by the music we listened to – and influenced our playing to this day.

 

Hal was simply the most-recorded drummer in the history of the music industry, with claims of over 35,000 recording sessions, 6,000 plus singles, and close to 50 number 1 hits by an amazing range of artists.

 

Seems hard to believe, so here’s a list of some of those hits as provided by Wikipedia:

 

 Drummed on over 40 recordings that hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100, including:

  • "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
  • " 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

 

 

Sadly, we lost Hal this past week on March 11, 2019. He was 90 years old. You may have seen the news and, if you weren’t a drummer, didn’t think it impacted you.  But if you love music, Hal Blaine touched you as well. Drummers and musicians everywhere are remembering Hal.  –HC-

 

 

Video Resources:

 

                               

 

                                

 

The Wrecking Crew - Facebook Page Video

 

Online Resources:

Drum! Magazine - Remembering Hal Blaine

Modern Drummer Magazine: Hal Blaine

 

 

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Executive Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.

 

 

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Max Jets  |  March 21, 2019 at 12:04 pm
WOW, I had no idea he was on all those tunes. That's a great resume.R.I.P.
Reply
v.swi  |  March 18, 2019 at 2:18 pm
His playing has been the back beat for so many generations, thanks Hal, for being a part of the soundtrack to our lives. The music never ends, only the rests become more pronounced yet still your pulse will forever reverberate in us all. While I'm saddened that I didn't get to resurrect the project that we discussed many years ago; I'm grateful for the opportunity to have been able to reflect on the what ifs, if only to dream...it would have been neat. Thanks Hal, truly one Hal of a guy! 
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