Hal Blaine (born Harold Simon Belsky, 5 February 1929, Holyoke, Massachusetts) 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 Elvis Presley, John Denver, the Ronettes, Simon & Garfunkel, the Carpenters, the Beach Boys, Nancy Sinatra, and the 5th Dimension. Blaine is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Hal Blaine Strikes Again is a rubber stamp used by Blaine to stamp scores that he plays and also places where he 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, recalls: “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!”
Hal Blaine’s drums can be heard as part of the Wall of Sound on the Ronettes’ 1963 #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 #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.)
Some of the famous musicians with whom Blaine has worked include: Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, The Ronettes, Jan and Dean, The Mamas & the Papas, The Byrds, Johnny Rivers, Elkie Brooks, The Association, Sonny & Cher, The Grass Roots, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Frank Sinatra, John Lennon, Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Captain & Tennille, The Carpenters, Henry Mancini, The 5th Dimension, The Supremes, Barbra Streisand, Nancy Sinatra, Diana Ross, Dean Martin, and The Partridge Family.
Below you will find several more video interviews with the legendary Hal Blaine. IMT is working toward having Hal as a periodic special guest on the IMT LIVE TELECONFERENCE & ONLINE WEBINAR SHOWS in the very near future. So, stay tuned for the latest on this incredible music legend.
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