Hal Blaine

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Hal Blaine
Hal Blaine in 2008.jpg
Blaine recording at the Record Plant in 1995
Background information
Birth name Harold Simon (Chaim Zalman) Belsky
Born (1929-02-05) February 5, 1929 (age 89)
Holyoke, Massachusetts, U.S.
Genres Pop, rock and roll
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments
Years active 1940s–present
Associated acts Wrecking Crew

Hal Blaine (born Harold Simon Belsky; February 5, 1929) is an American drummer and session musician.[1]

He is most known for his work with the Wrecking Crew, a group of musicians who recorded prolifically in the Los Angeles music scene and played behind a large number of musicians in the 1960s and '70s. Blaine played on numerous hits by popular groups, including Nancy Sinatra, Jan and Dean, Elvis Presley, John Denver, the Ronettes, Simon & Garfunkel, the Carpenters, the Beach Boys, the Grass Roots,[2] the 5th Dimension, the Monkees, the Partridge Family, and Steely Dan. He has played on 40 number one hit singles, 150 top ten hits and has performed on, by his own accounting, over 35,000 recorded tracks. He is widely regarded as one of the most prolific drummers in rock and roll history, having "certainly played on more hit records than any drummer in the rock era".[3]

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 was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2010.[4]

Early life[edit]

Blaine was born to Jewish Eastern European immigrants, Meyer and Rose Belsky, in Holyoke, Massachusetts.[5] In 1944, aged 15, Blaine survived the Hartford circus fire - one of the worst disasters in American history.[6]

Hal Blaine Strikes Again[edit]

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:

Fake "HAL BLAINE STRIKES AGAIN" stamp.jpg

Eleven years later our band played Wembley Arena, near London. After the show, while we were relaxing backstage, Bruce [Springsteen] 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.[7] 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."[7]

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!" [8]

Legacy[edit]

External video
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 US #2 hit "Be My Baby",[9] 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."[7] Rolling Stone magazine listed the song as No. 22 on The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In March 2000, he was one of the first five sidemen inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (one of the other inductees was his long-time friend and drumming colleague, Earl Palmer).[10]

Grammy Awards[edit]

A little known Grammy Awards achievement by Blaine is that he played on six consecutive Record of the Year winners:

In 2018, Blaine received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[11]

#1 hits[edit]

Discography[edit]

  • 1963 "Deuces, T's, Roadsters and Drums[13]
  • 1966 Drums! Drums! A Go Go[14]
  • 1967 Psychedelic Percussion
  • 1968 Have Fun!!! Play Drums!!![15]

With Irene Kral

Artists with whom Blaine has recorded[edit]

Some of the famous musicians with whom Blaine has worked include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hal Blaine | Credits". AllMusic. 1929-02-05. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  2. ^ "The Grassroots official website". The-grassroots.com. Retrieved 2015-01-19. 
  3. ^ "Hal Blaine Biography". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "Modern Drummer's Readers Poll Archive, 1979–2014". Modern Drummer. Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Blaine, Hal; Goggin, David (1990). Schwartz, David M., ed. Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew. Emeryville, California: MixBooks. ISBN 978-1888408126. 
  6. ^ "Hall Blaine". Retrieved 6 October 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c Weinberg, Max; Santelli, Robert (1991). The Big Beat: Conversations With Rock's Great Drummers. Foreword by Bruce Springsteen. New York: Billboard Books. pp. 75–77. ISBN 978-0823075713. 
  8. ^ "Americanheritage.com – The Wrecking Crew". Americanheritage.com. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1992). Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. New York: Billboard Books. ISBN 978-0823085545. 
  10. ^ Amendola, Billy (2005). "An Interview with Hal Blaine". Modern Drummer. ISSN 0194-4533. 
  11. ^ Fabian, Renée (January 9, 2018). "Tina Turner To Queen: 2018 Recording Academy Special Merit Awards". The Recording Academy. 
  12. ^ Bronson, Fred (1988). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. New York: Billboard Publications, Inc. p. 223. ISBN 978-0823076772. 
  13. ^ "Hal Blaine – Deuces, "T's", Roadsters & Drums (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  14. ^ Review, Drums! Drums! A Go Go, artistdirect.com
  15. ^ "Dunhill Album Discography". Bsnpubs.com. 2000-04-17. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 

External links[edit]