One of the Most Recorded Musicians in History Is Dead

Session drummer Hal Blaine played on scores of '60s, '70s hits
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2019 6:26 AM CDT
Updated Mar 12, 2019 6:46 AM CDT
Don Randi, left, Glen Campbell, center, and Hal Blaine, representing session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, place their hands in the cement after an induction ceremony for Hollywood's RockWalk...   (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
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(Newser) – You may not have heard the name Hal Blaine, but if you've heard music from the '60s and '70s, you've heard him play. Blaine, an extremely prolific session drummer who became one of the most recorded musicians of all time, has died at the age of 90, the Los Angeles Times reports. The AP describes Blaine as a "virtual one-man soundtrack of the 1960s and '70s" who played on records by Elvis Presley, the Byrds, Frank Sinatra, Simon & Garfunkel, the Beach Boys, and many others, as well as on the theme songs of Batman and dozens of other shows. His signature beat can be heard at the start of the Ronettes' "Be My Baby."

Blaine, part of the "Wrecking Crew" of LA studio musicians, played on more than 6,000 records, including 150 top 10 hits. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. The public is sometimes shocked to discover that musicians in famous bands didn't play on their records, "but not everybody can be a plumber and go fix a broken pipe," he told the Times in 2000. “Sometimes you need an expert, and that's all there is to it." Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys was among many stars paying tribute to Blaine on Monday. "Hal taught me a lot, and he had so much to do with our success," he tweeted. "He was the greatest drummer ever." (Read more drummer stories.)

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