Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Hal Blaine passes at 90

By SCOTT CUNNINGHAM // Legendary drummer played on scores of hits as part of the fabled Wrecking Crew

Legendary drummer Hal Blaine passed away today at the age of 90. Blaine may not have possessed the single name recognition of Ringo, but he played drums on scores of hits for artists ranging from the Beach Boys to Simon & Garfunkel to the Ronettes.

It wouldn't be much of a stretch to say that in any given hour on Sirius XM's 60's on 6 station, Blaine played on at least one song. He was that good and in that much demand.

Blaine was a core member of the Wrecking Crew, a collection of Los Angeles session musicians that played on hundreds of hit songs. In the history of popular music, no other group of session musicians found as much success.

While Leon Russell and Glen Campbell went on to have lucrative solo careers, most of the other Wrecking Crew members worked for years cranking out the music for hit after hit. Blaine is said to have played on some 40 Number 1 hits alone.

He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and just last year received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in recognition of his contributions. Just last month, Blaine played at his 90th birthday party.

Danny Tedesco's 2008 documentary The Wrecking Crew was a wonderful exploration of the hit-making machine and is well-worth watching, or re-watching given Blaine's death.

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Jess V. Gutierrez

As a young rock drummer in the 60’s, the drumming of Hal Blaine inspired me and drove me to emulate his drumming style before I ever knew who he was. I was fortunate to meet Hal Blaine in Palm Desert, Ca and visited him on occasion and talked about his incredible career and listening to his funny stories of the Los Angles music scene. Truly a magical drummer and beautiful person, we will miss you, Hal Blaine.
RIP. Jess Gutierrez

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