I wrap up “drum week” with a second set of songs featuring the great Hal Blaine.

Yesterday I played thirteen of the forty #1 songs Hal played on. Today I’m doing another thirteen, and trust me, I am very tempted to come back on Monday with the remaining fourteen! 🙂

Why am I so determined to have Blaine (and other session men) get their deserved recognition? You have to remember that radio listeners and record buyers never knew the truth back then, and that was just the way the major labels like Columbia, Liberty, Dunhill, A&M, and Capitol wanted to keep it. Preserving the illusion that famous bands played their own instruments was big business, very big business.

Image was (and is) everything in the music industry. If a band’s image in the 1960s was all about playing some hip jangly 12-string guitar riffs and creating some funky grooves, as in Mr. Tambourine Man by the Byrds, then you can be sure companies like Columbia Records (the Byrds’ label) discouraged the public from knowing what really went on behind studio doors.

To make certain he got the best possible performance for this all-important first single release, Terry Melcher, the Byrds’ producer, hired the Wrecking Crew to play all the backing instruments on the song. In other words, there was not a Byrd in sight, with the exception of the guitarist Jim (Roger) McGuinn, who was allowed to play his Rickenbacker electric 12-string on the song. But as far as the record-buying public knew, this future gold record featured nothing but all five Byrds in full flight.

I highly recommend watching The Wrecking Crew, a 2008 film produced by the son of guitarist Tommy Tedesco as a tribute to his late father and a core group of studio musicians who played on some of the biggest hits of the 1960s and 1970s.

About That Hal Strikes Again headline … Mike Botts, the late drummer for the soft-rock group Bread, once 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!”

Memories … That’s What We’re All About

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Much More of Hal

Johnny Rivers – Carpenters
John Denver – Dean Martin
Byrds – 5th Dimension
Association – Neil Diamond
Paul Revere & The Raiders
Frank & Nancy Sinatra
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
Beach Boys
Simon & Garfunkel