||This biographical article is written like a résumé. (August 2011)|
Blaine at the drum kit in 1995, at the Record Plant
|Birth name||Harold Simon Belsky|
February 5, 1929 |
Holyoke, Massachusetts United States
|Genres||Pop, Rock and roll|
|Years active||1940s – present|
|Associated acts||Wrecking Crew|
Hal Blaine (born Harold Simon Belsky, February 5, 1929, Holyoke, Massachusetts, United States) is an American drummer and session musician. He is most known for his work with the Wrecking Crew in California. Blaine played on numerous hits by popular groups, including Nancy Sinatra, Elvis Presley, John Denver, the Ronettes, Simon & Garfunkel, the Carpenters, the Beach Boys, the 5th Dimension, The Monkees, and Steely Dan. He has played on 50 number one hits, over 150 top ten hits and has recorded, by his own admission, on over 35,000 pieces of music over four decades of work. Blaine is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum and the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame. He is widely regarded as one of the most prolific drummers in recording music history.
Hal Blaine Strikes Again
Hal Blaine Strikes Again is a rubber stamp used by Blaine to mark music scores and places where he has played. Drummer and author Max Weinberg, in his introduction to the chapter on Blaine in his book, writes:
Eleven years later our band played Wembley Arena, near London. After the show, while we were relaxing backstage, Bruce asked me to come into his dressing room. I went in, he pointed to the wall and said, "Look at that." I looked at the wall but didn't see anything except peeling wallpaper. "Look closer," he said. Finally, I got right down on the spot he was pointing to. and right there, in a crack in the paper, rubber stamped to the wall, it said HAL BLAINE STRIKES AGAIN. When asked to explain about the stamp Blaine replied, "I always stamp my charts. And there's a reason why I started that; it wasn't all ego." He went on to describe that occasionally he would need to find a particular chart amidst "five hundred pieces of music in a pile" and he needed some mark to do so. "Eventually I had a rubber stamp made up, and from that day on I've always stamped every piece of music I play, whether it's a demo or something I play at a friend's house."
Another drummer, Mike Botts, then with the band Bread, recalled: “Every studio I went to in the late sixties, there was a rubber stamp imprint on the wall of the drum booth that said, ‘Hal Blaine strikes again.’ Hal was getting so many studio dates he actually had a rubber stamp made. He was everywhere!” 
- Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass in 1966 for "A Taste of Honey";
- Frank Sinatra in 1967 for "Strangers in the Night";
- The 5th Dimension in 1968 for "Up, Up and Away";
- Simon & Garfunkel in 1969 for "Mrs. Robinson";
- The 5th Dimension in 1970 for "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In"; and
- Simon & Garfunkel in 1971 for "Bridge Over Troubled Water".
- 1963 "Deuces, T's, Roadsters and Drums
- 1966 Drums! Drums! A Go Go
- 1967 Psychedelic Percussion
- 1968 Have Fun!!! Play Drums!!!
|Oral History, Hal Blaine shares special moments of his life story. interview date August 24, 2002, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library|
Hal Blaine's drums can be heard as part of the Wall of Sound on the Ronettes' 1963 No. 2 hit "Be My Baby", produced by Phil Spector at Hollywood's Gold Star Studios. Max Weinberg wrote, "If Hal Blaine had played drums only on the Ronettes' "Be My Baby", his name would still be uttered with reverence and respect for the power of his big beat." Rolling Stone magazine listed the song as No. 22 on The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
In March 2000, Hal Blaine was one of the first five sidemen inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (One of the other inductees was Hal's long-time friend and drumming colleague, Earl Palmer.)
Artists with whom Blaine has recorded
Some of the famous musicians with whom Blaine has worked include:
- "Hal Blaine | Credits". AllMusic. 1929-02-05. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- Weinberg, Max, foreword by Bruce Springsteen, The Big Beat: Conversations with Rock's Great Drummers, Billboard Books, NY, 1984/1991 p. 77
- "Americanheritage.com – The Wrecking Crew". Americanheritage.com. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- Blaine, Hal and David Goggin, ‘’Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew: The Story of the World’s Most Recorded Musician’’, MixBooks, Emeryville, CA 1990 p.xviii
- Weinberg, Max, ‘’The Big Beat: Conversations with Rock’s Great Drummers’’, Billboard Books, NY 1991, c 1988 p.85
- Bronson, Fred (1988). The Billboard Book of NUMBER ONE HITS. New York: Billboard Publications, Inc. p. 223.
- Blaine, Hal; David Goggin (1990). Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew. Emeryville, CA: MixBooks.
- "Hal Blaine - Deuces, "T's", Roadsters & Drums (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- Review, Drums! Drums! A Go Go, artistdirect.com
- "Dunhill Album Discography". Bsnpubs.com. 2000-04-17. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- Whitburn, Joel (1992). Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Revised and Enlarged. New York: Billboard Books.
- Weinberg, Max (1984/1991). The Big Beat: Conversations with Rock's Great Drummers. New York: Billboard Books. p. 75.
- Blaine, Hal with David Groggin, Hal Blaine and The Wrecking Crew, Mix Books, 1990
- Whitburn. Joel, Top 40 Hits, Billboard Publications, New York 1992
- Official website
- 2013 Audio Interview with Hal Blaine from the I'd Hit That Podcast
- Interview from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing Drums
- Hal Blaine at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame