NEW YORK, March 12 — Hal Blaine, the acclaimed drummer who played on dozens of chart-toppers for artists including Frank Sinatra and The Beach Boys, died yesterday. He was 90 years old.
“May he rest forever on 2 and 4,” said a statement from the family of the prolific drummer, who played with “The Wrecking Crew” cohort of venerated session players in Los Angeles.
Born Harold Simon Belsky in Holyoke, Massachusetts, Blaine gained fame in the sixties for his deft touch that easily manoeuvred between genres from bubblegum pop to folk to R&B.
His beats featured on hits including The Ronettes’ Be My Baby, Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, Frank Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night and Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.
“I’m so sad, I don’t know what to say,” tweeted Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, the California rockers Blaine played with on a number of tracks including Good Vibrations.
“Hal taught me a lot, and he had so much to do with our success — he was the greatest drummer ever,” Wilson said. “We also laughed an awful lot.”
Neil Portnow — who heads the Recording Academy, the institution behind the Grammys — hailed Blaine as “legendary,” noting the artist’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the academy and his contributions to “tens of thousands of songs.”
“Godspeed, dear friend,” wrote Nancy Sinatra in a statement. “You made the world a better place.” — AFP