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Music Legends Convene At Ocean Way For Hal Blaine Video Tribute
Pictured in Ocean Way's renowned Studio A are (L-R) drummer Bermuda Schwartz, Nancy Sinatra, director/interviewer Mr. Bonzai, NAMM president Joe Lamond, keyboardist Don Randi and drummer Joe Porcaro. Photo by KamranV.
A gathering of musical luminaries recently convened at Ocean Way Recording studios in Hollywood to film their tributes to legendary drummer Hal Blaine, who is being inducted into the TEC Awards Hall of Fame at this year's WinterNAMM Show on January 24. The short film will debut at the induction ceremony.
Herb Alpert spoke about Blaine, "You brought the sound of recorded drumming to a whole new level, my friend, with your great musical taste, your great sense of time, your attitude, and above all, your great sense of humor."
On hand for the tribute were Nancy Sinatra, keyboardist Don Randi, bassist Lee Sklar, drummers Jim Keltner, Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz, James Gadsen, Griffin Goldsmith, and Joe Porcaro. Additional videos were sent in by drummers Gregg Bissonette and Russell Kunkel. NAMM president Joe Lamond, a drummer himself, was present as Mr. Bonzai interviewed the tributeers.
Logging more than 35,000 recording sessions in his more than 50-year career as a top session drummer, Hal Blaine holds the world's record as the most recorded musician of all time. He first became known to the ears of America as the heart beat, as well as the locomotive, in Phil Spectors's Wall of Sound. That hugely successful collection of top session players went on to become the notorious Wrecking Crew, responsible for hundreds of hits songs pouring out of Los Angeles studios in the 1960's.
As the Wrecking Crew's reputation grew, so did the number of headline artists that wanted to get in on the special fairy dust. Elvis, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, the Tijuana Brass, Sonny and Cher, The Beach Boys, the Fifth Dimension -- the list was growing faster than they had time to lay down the tracks. At one point Blaine had nine full drum kits set up at studios all over Hollywood so he could jet from one session to the next.
Hal Blaine is on record as having performed on more than 350 top ten singles, including over 40 that went to Number 1. During one seven-year stretch, he played drums on six Grammy Records of the Year. Everyone wanted Hal on drums for two reasons. 1. He was nearly a guaranteed hit machine and 2. He was great fun to be around, and would frequently break the tension in the studio with an outrageous joke at the least expected time.
Blaine innovated in the studio, being among the first to close mike his drums for film soundtracks as well hit records that really popped off the radio. With a reputation for adding appropriate tunings and percussive melodies to many songs, Blaine created the octo-plus super drum set that gave him total melodic control of the percussion arrangements.
Blaine's remarkable studio skills, his incredible musical history and accomplishments, and his universal influence, love and respect from the music industry at large makes it a great honor for the TEC Awards to induct studio session great Hal Blaine into the TEC Hall of Fame.
Hal Blaine will be inducted by drummers Jim Keltner and Chad Smith into the TEC Awards Hall of Fame on Friday, January 24, with a VIP reception at 6 p.m. and the Awards Presentation at 7 p.m. The evening promises to be a memorable one, as 30 awards will be presented for the finest audio products and projects of 2013, innovative artist Todd Rundgren will receive the Les Paul Award, and legendary drummer Hal Blaine and technology pioneer John Meyer will be inducted to the TEC Awards Hall of Fame.
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