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Hal Blaine

Hal Blaine
Blaine at the drum kit in 1995, at the Record Plant
Background information
Birth name Harold Simon Belsky
Born (1929-02-05) February 5, 1929
Holyoke, Massachusetts United States
Genres Pop, Rock and roll
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums
Years active 1940s – present
Associated acts Wrecking Crew
Website .comhalblaine

Hal Blaine (born Harold Simon Belsky; February 5, 1929) is an American drummer and session musician.[1]

He is most known for his work with the Wrecking Crew in California. Blaine played on numerous hits by popular groups, including Nancy Sinatra, Elvis Presley, John Denver, the Ronettes, Simon & Garfunkel, the Carpenters, the Beach Boys, the Grass Roots,[2] the 5th Dimension, the Monkees, the Partridge Family, and Steely Dan. He has played on 40 number one hit singles, 150 top ten hits and has performed on, by his own accounting, over 35,000 recorded tracks. He is widely regarded as one of the most prolific drummers in rock and roll history, having "certainly played on more hit records than any drummer in the rock era".[3]

Blaine is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2010.[4]


  • Early life 1
  • Hal Blaine Strikes Again 2
  • Grammy Awards 3
  • #1 hits 4
  • Discography 5
  • Legacy 6
  • Artists with whom Blaine has recorded 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Notes 10
  • External links 11

Early life

Blaine was born to Eastern European immigrants, Meyer and Rose Belsky, in Holyoke, Massachusetts.[5]

Hal Blaine Strikes Again

Hal Blaine Strikes Again is a rubber stamp used by Blaine to mark music scores and places where he has 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.[6] 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."[6]

Another drummer, Mike Botts, then with the band Bread, recalled: "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!" [7]

Grammy Awards

A little known Grammy Awards record held by Blaine is that he played on 6 consecutive Record of the Year winners:

#1 hits


  • 1963 "Deuces, T's, Roadsters and Drums[12]
  • 1966 Drums! Drums! A Go Go[13]
  • 1967 Psychedelic Percussion
  • 1968 Have Fun!!! Play Drums!!![14]


External video
. interview date August 24, 2002, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History LibraryOral History, Hal Blaine shares special moments of his life story

Hal Blaine's drums can be heard as part of the Wall of Sound on the Ronettes' 1963 No. 2 hit "Be My Baby",[15] 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."[16] Rolling Stone magazine listed the song as No. 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.)

Artists with whom Blaine has recorded

Some of the famous musicians with whom Blaine has worked include:

See also


  1. ^ "Hal Blaine | Credits". AllMusic. 1929-02-05. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  2. ^ "The Grassroots official website". Retrieved 2015-01-19. 
  3. ^ "Hal Blaine Biography".  
  4. ^ "Modern Drummer’s Readers Poll Archive, 1979–2014".  
  5. ^ Blaine, Hal and David Goggin, Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew: The Story of the World’s Most Recorded Musician, MixBooks, Emeryville, California, 1990 p. 1
  6. ^ a b Weinberg, Max, foreword by Bruce Springsteen, The Big Beat: Conversations with Rock's Great Drummers, Billboard Books, NY, 1984/1991 p. 77
  7. ^ " – The Wrecking Crew". Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  8. ^ Blaine, Hal and David Goggin, ‘’Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew: The Story of the World’s Most Recorded Musician’’, MixBooks, Emeryville, CA 1990 p.xviii
  9. ^ Weinberg, Max, ‘’The Big Beat: Conversations with Rock’s Great Drummers’’, Billboard Books, NY 1991, c 1988 p.85
  10. ^ Bronson, Fred (1988). The Billboard Book of NUMBER ONE HITS. New York: Billboard Publications, Inc. p. 223. 
  11. ^ Blaine, Hal; David Goggin (1990). Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew. Emeryville, CA: MixBooks. 
  12. ^ "Hal Blaine - Deuces, "T's", Roadsters & Drums (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  13. ^ Review, Drums! Drums! A Go Go,
  14. ^ "Dunhill Album Discography". 2000-04-17. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  15. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1992). Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Revised and Enlarged. New York: Billboard Books. 
  16. ^ Weinberg, Max (1991) [1984]. The Big Beat: Conversations with Rock's Great Drummers. New York: Billboard Books. p. 75. 


  • Blaine, Hal with David Groggin, Hal Blaine and The Wrecking Crew, Mix Books, 1990
  • Whitburn. Joel, Top 40 Hits, Billboard Publications, New York 1992

External links

  • Official website
  • 2013 Audio Interview with Hal Blaine from the I'd Hit That Podcast
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing DrumsInterview from
  • Hal Blaine at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
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