If you are a Boomer who was even remotely connected to rock an roll and pop culture in your formative years, you know Hal Blaine’s drumming—those classic first few instantly recognizable opening beats from the Ronettes “Be My Baby” – the same song that Brian Wilson, our fellow Boomer, told Rolling Stone magazine in 2015, was his inspiration to produce records and that he thought “Be My Baby” was “the greatest record I ever heard.”
Blaine wasn’t a member of any specific band or group, he was a drummer for hire when the bands were recording—when they needed the best—someone better than their own drummer, the one who went on the road and performed live, someone who could deliver.
His songs were everywhere, backing everybody: According to Variety, Blaine played on 150 Top 10 hits, 40 of those reaching #1.
The range of hits in the clip below is astounding, and ranges from Frank Sinatra/”That’s Life” to Connie Francis/”Where the Boys Are” to Elvis, Simon & Garfunkel, the Mamas & the Papas, Sonny & Cher, The Beach Boys, Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were,” Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman,” the Carpenters, Neil Diamond/”Cracklin’ Rosie,” and dozens more, plus the theme from TV classics: The Brady Bunch, Three’s Company, and Batman.
Blaine died this week at his home in Palm Springs, CA. He was 90.
Here’s an 11 minute clip of hits, all with Hal Blaine on drums–it’s a musical time-capsule of our generation.