#FBF: An Unsung Hero of Music

Unless you’re the kind of person who reads through all of the names on an album’s “credits”, you may not have heard the name Hal Blaine.

Honestly, I hadn’t until I saw a Tweet reporting that he’d passed away.

After doing a little digging, though, I realized that I’ve been a fan of his work for my entire life, I just didn’t know it yet! You see, Hal Blaine was what those in the recording biz call a “session drummer” or a “studio musician”.

Essentially, Hal Blaine recorded with some of the great artists of the 1960s and 70s as a temporary member. The cool thing about a gig like this is that Hal got to play in all kinds of bands. I thought I’d highlight five of my favorite songs from the 60s that he played drums for. You can find out more about Hal Blaine over on Wikipedia.

Written and originally recorded by Bob Dylan, The Byrds covered Mr. Tambourine Man in 1965 with Blaine on the drums. I’ve always loved this song (both versions).

The Blossoms might be one of the most underrated girl groups of the 1960s. He’s a Rebel is their most popular hit, recorded in 1962. Sadly, when the song hit the charts, the Crystals (another girl group) got the credit, even though they had nothing to do with the song. Ugh!

Aw. Sonny & Cher! I often wonder if in 1965 they had any idea how many times people would perform I Got You, Babe in karaoke bars all across the world.

Ooo! Another great girl band! The Ronettes were amazing and the drum line Hal Blaine provided on this recording of Be My Baby is fantastic. This song came out in 1963 and it’s still such a great tune!

If you happened to have grown up in the 80s you might remember A Hazy Shade of Winter song from The Bangles. But — SURPRISE! — it’s a Simon & Garfunkel song from 1966! And this super sweet drum part really shows Blaine’s skills. This is, perhaps, my favorite song on this list and one of my favorite by Paul and Art.

Listening to these songs and hearing Hal Blaine’s beats in each of them makes me appreciate the unsung nature of his work. His name isn’t next to the title, he’s not an official part of the band, his picture isn’t on the album cover.

Still, he took part in the music. His fingerprints are on each of these songs and so many more. His work made a difference to the world of music.

I, for one, am grateful for his contribution.

2 Comments on “#FBF: An Unsung Hero of Music

  1. The music from those days still meanders through my mind! Thanks for the reminders!

    Like

    • I listen to that musical era a LOT! It has such variety, which I think was fun about looking through the list of songs Blaine played on. Such a great collection of music!

      Like

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