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Wrecking Crew Drummer Hal Blaine Has Died At 90
Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine, the man who brought the beat to the "Wall of Sound" and a staggering array of hits and classics, is confirmed to have died on March 11, 2019.
A recipient of the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, Blaine provided some of music's coolest grooves and with his fellow A-list, Los Angeles session musicians, helped define rock and pop music's top sounds through the late '60s and beyond.
"Hal Blaine was a legendary session drummer whose contributions as a member of the Wrecking Crew helped propel countless hits to the top of the Billboard charts in the '60s and '70s," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "He contributed to tens of thousands of songs throughout his career, including the Beach Boys' 'Caroline, No' and Simon & Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water.' We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fellow music creators."
The Record Of The Year winners between 1965 and 1970 all had Blaine on drums. Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" closed that streak at the 13th GRAMMY Awards, two years after their ROTY win for "Mrs. Robinson" at the 11th GRAMMY Awards. Another twofer was the 5th Dimension, winning ROTY at the 10th GRAMMY Awards for 1967's "Up, Up And Away" and again at the 12th GRAMMY Awards for "Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)," a song medley from the musical Hair.
Blaine's Record Of The Year streak began at the 8th GRAMMY Awards with Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass' win for 1965's "A Taste Of Honey." The follow-up was "Strangers In The Night" by Frank Sinatra at the 9th GRAMMY Awards. the sounds of both these songs as well as Blaine's too-many-to-mention other recordings became part of the musical cultural fabric of the era.