In remembrance of the renowned session drummer Hal Blaine who sadly passed away aged 90 on March 11th 2019, we take a look at some of his most momentous musical moments.
Considered to be one of the most recorded drummers of all time, Blaine is believed to have played on over 6,000 singles in over 35,000 sessions and has chalked up a massive 150 top 10 hits of which 40 were number ones.
Having worked as the drummer in record producer Phil Spector’s in-house band, The Wrecking Crew, Blaine provided the beats for a plethora of artists including Neil Diamond, the Bryds and Dean Martin.
Hal Blaine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and later received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.
Hal Blaine Featured on Good Vibrations – Beach Boys
Composed by legendary record producer Brian Wilson for the surfer band The Beach Boys, of which he was a member, Good Vibrations topped the US and UK charts in 1966.
Blaine worked on other tracks with The Beach Boys including I Get Around
Hal Blaine Featured on I Got You Babe – Sonny and Cher
A massive hit for the husband and wife duet, this song spent 3 weeks at the top of the US Billboard Hot 100, reached number 1 in the UK and Canada and was certified Gold after selling 1 million copies.
Hal Blaine Featured on Strangers in The Night – Frank Sinatra
Made famous by Frank Sinatra in 1966, this song reached number 1 in the US and UK charts and was the title song for Sinatra’s most commercially successful album.
Hal Blaine Featured on Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
Winner of 5 Grammy Awards, this song was awarded Record of the Year in 1971 and went on to become Simon and Garfunkel’s biggest hit single, selling over 6 million copied worldwide.
Hal Blaine Featured on River Deep-Mountain High – Tina Turner
Released in 1966 and performed by Tina Turner, Phil Spector deemed this song to be his best work. Now one of Turner’s signature songs, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Hal Blaine Featured on A Little Less Conversation – Elvis Presley
Recorded by Elvis Presley in 1968 and originally performed in the film Live a Little, Love a Little.
The song gained a new lease of life in 2002 when Junkie XL released a remix of a later re-recorded version of the song which went on to have worldwide success. Blaine also performed on other Presley hits including Can’t Help Falling in Love.
Hal Blaine Featured on Mrs. Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel
Recorded for their fourth studio album, Bookends, this song was famously included in the 1967 film The Graduate.
The song became Simon and Garfunkel’s second number 1 hit and was the first rock song to win Record of The Year at The Grammys in 1969.
Hal Blaine Featured on Be My Baby – The Ronettes
Considered to be one of the best songs of the 1960s, this song is credited to girls group the Ronettes despite only Ronnie Spector of the group singing on it.
Gaining extra popularity because of its inclusion in the hit film Dirty Dancing, the song was named the number 1 Greatest Girl Group Song of All Time by Billboard in 2017.
Hal Blaine Featured on These Boots Are Made For Walking – Nancy Sinatra
Charting at the top of the US and UK singles charts in January 1966, the original Nancy Sinatra version has gone on to be covered by numerous artists including Megadeth, Jessica Simpson, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Hal Blaine Featured on The Way We Were – Barbra Streisand
Recorded as part of her 15th studio album, the lyrics of this song showcase the wistful relationship between the two main characters of the 1973 film of the same name and was the winner of 2 Oscar Academy Awards.
Hal Blaine Featured on Close To You – The Carpenters
Released in 1970, Karen Carpenter sang lead vocals while Richard Carpenter performed backing vocals, piano, and harpsichord. This was the bands breakthrough hit and stayed at number 1 on the US for 4 weeks.
This list of 11 songs is just the tip of the iceberg in what was Hal Blaine’s legendary career. What songs will you remember Hal Blaine for? What were Hal Blaine’s most successful hits to you? Let us know in the comments below.