Hal Blaine / Facebook
He was your favorite drummer’s favorite drummer, revered the world over for over 70 years – and today, we’re sad to report that the legendary Hal Blaine has passed away at the age of 90, the result of natural causes.
News of Blaine’s death came via the late legend’s official Facebook account, where his family issued a brief statement regarding his passing. The statement reads,
“Hal Blaine – loving father of Michelle Blaine; grandfather of Anthony, Josh, Aaron, Whitney, Tempest, Ever and Lyryk; and inspiration to countless friends, fans and musicians – has passed on today, March 11th, 2019 at the age of 90. May he rest forever on 2 and 4. The family appreciates your outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Hal from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning.”
It finished with “No further details will be released at this time.”
Born Harold Simon Belsky in 1929, Mr. Blaine’s drumming career began at the tender age of 8 and only heaven could have known that this son of Jewish Eastern European immigrants would go on to become one of the most fiercely respected musicians to walk the earth. With over 35,000 sessions and 6,000 singles to his credit, Mr. Blaine remains one of the most recorded drummers in modern history, and the 40 #1 hits he amassed over the course of his career are a testament to the tremendous impact he left on the world through his drumming.
Of course, no proper 60s playlist would ever be complete without The Ronettes’ 1964 hit “Be My Baby,” due in no small part to Mr. Blaine’s opening drum shots that instantly made the song both recognizable and memorable.
In addition to “Be My Baby,” Mr. Blaine’s signature singles include the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” and the Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
As news of Mr. Blaine’s passing began to make the rounds across the internet, decades long fans were devastated; Beach Boys’ mastermind Brian Wilson was one of the first to comment on the death of his late friend and collaborator. He posted to Twitter, saying “I’m so sad, I don’t know what to say. Hal Blaine was such a great musician and friend that I can’t put it into words. Hal taught me a lot, and he had so much to do with our success – he was the greatest drummer ever. We also laughed an awful lot. Love, Brian.”
The Ronettes’ Ronnie Spector was also quick to share memories of her friend, thanking him for “the magic he put on all our Ronettes recordings…and so many others throughout his incredible career.”
The Beatles’ Ringo Starr hailed Mr. Blaine as being an “incredible musician,” wishing peace and love to his family during this time of unimaginable grief.
At this time, Mr. Blaine’s family has understandably requested privacy as they begin to navigate the grieving process. In addition to a glowing musical legacy that will extend lightyears into the future, Hal Blaine is survived by daughter Michelle and grandchildren Anthony, Josh, Aaron, Whitney, Tempest, Ever and Lyryk, as well as countless friends, fans, and fellow musicians who will continue to hold his once in a lifetime talent as the gold standard.
Rest in peace, Hal Blaine.
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