Hal Blaine Number One Song Poll!

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That Raiders thread reminded me that my lord and saviour Terry Melcher loved nothing more than getting his pals in the Wrecking Crew to knock out album tracks for him cuz Terry was a pro and he wanted to make hits and he was making money for his mom and time was money and the last thing you want to do is wait around for some stoned garage rocker to stumble out of bed and hit the studio after hanging out at the whisky all night long, you know? So, Hal and his pals are all over a lot of my fave Raiders tracks and I have no problem with that. Whatever works, is my motto. And the results were SUPERB. Maybe some disgruntled Byrds fans don't like to be reminded of such things, but what the hell, Byrds fans were born disgruntled. As Hal himself used to say: "I made $50 an hour playing Beach Boys songs in the studio - Dennis made $50,000 a week playing them in concert." Anyway, a cursory search of Hal-helmed hits and WHAMMO here you go. Wotta list of Number One singles. Vote for your fave.

Poll Results

"I Get Around" - The Beach Boys (06/06/64) 4
"Good Vibrations" - The Beach Boys (10/29/66) 4
"Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" - 5th Dimension (04/12/69) 3
"Love Will Keep Us Together" - Captain & Tennille (05/24/75) 2
"Bridge Over Troubled Water" - Simon & Garfunkel (02/14/70) 1
"The Happening" - The Supremes (04/15/67) 1
"Somethin' Stupid" - Frank & Nancy Sinatra (03/25/67) 1
"Poor Side of Town" - Johnny Rivers (10/08/66) 1
"Windy" - Association (06/03/67) 1
"He's a Rebel" - The Crystals (10/06/62) 1
"Half Breed" - Cher (09/01/73) 0
"Love Theme - Romeo & Juliet" - Henry Mancini (05/24/69) 0
"Wedding Bell Blues" - 5th Dimension (10/04/69) 0
"I'm Sorry"/"Calypso" - John Denver (08/30/75) 0
"Thank God I'm a Country Boy" - John Denver (04/05/75) 0
"The Way We Were" - Barbra Streisand (12/22/74) 0
"Top of the World" - The Carpenters (10/20/74) 0
"(They Long to Be) Close to You" - The Carpenters (06/27/70) 0
"Cracklin' Rosie" - Neil Diamond (08/29/70) 0
"Indian Reservation" - Paul Revere & the Raiders (05/29/71) 0
"Annie's Song" - John Denver (06/15/74) 0
"Song Sung Blue" - Neil Diamond (05/13/72) 0
"I Think I Love You" - The Partridge Family (10/31/71) 0
"Dizzy" - Tommy Roe (03/15/69) 0
"Surf City" - Jan & Dean (06/22/63) 0
"Everybody Loves Somebody" - Dean Martin (07/11/64) 0
"Ringo" - Lorne Greene (11/07/64) 0
"This Diamond Ring" - Gary Lewis & the Playboys (01/23/65) 0
"Help Me, Rhonda" - The Beach Boys (05/01/65) 0
"Mr. Tambourine Man" - The Byrds (06/05/65) 0
"I Got You Babe" - Sonny & Cher (07/31/65) 0
"Eve of Destruction" - Barry McGuire (08/28/65) 0
"My Love" - Petula Clark (01/15/66) 0
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" - Nancy Sinatra (02/05/66) 0
"Monday Monday" - Mamas and Papas (04/16/66) 0
"Strangers in the Night" - Frank Sinatra (07/02/66) 0
"Can't Help Falling in Love" - Elvis Presley (12/18/61) 0
"Mrs. Robinson" - Simon & Garfunkel (05/04/68) 0
"Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" - Diana Ross0

scott seward, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 20:40 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Good thread. In this book by Neil Peart (who idolizes Blaine) I'm reading, he talks about how John Bonham was really embarrassed by some reader's poll in the 70's putting Karen Carpenter ahead of him in the poll for top drummers. Little did Bonzo (or the readers) really know it was Blaine doing the drumming.

Bill Magill, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 20:46 (eleven years ago) Permalink


(actually "aquarius" because it is spectacular)

Dimension 5ive, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 20:48 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" - 5th Dimension

totally fab

Euler, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 20:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I feel like I can't vote for that because Idris Muhammad played on the original and I don't want to pit one against the other.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 21:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Was "Be My Baby" not a #1 hit? That's him, right? That's what I think of when I think "Hal Blaine." I'll go with "I Get Around."

tylerw, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 21:23 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Ha, it only made 2. Yeah, but you're right, if that were there it'd be hard not to vote for it. Instead I'm going with "Poor Side Of Town."

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 21:39 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Someone should start a Gary Chester poll, although maybe not number ones.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 21:41 (eleven years ago) Permalink

hmmm who knew the 70's were this tough on Hal? All those songs blow!

I went with "The Happening". I always regret whatever I vote for though. Good poll!!

Saxby D. Elder, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 21:47 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Or the same for Hal's rhythm section partner Joe Osborne.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 21:53 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Aaaah! Joe Osborn (no e)

OK, now back to this poll.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 21:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

yeah, they kinda suck, but i dunno, all those 70s #1s Blaine was on would make for a pretty killer makeout mix. or maybe that's just me ... it's probably just me. i also think it's sweet that you could probably go to any thrift store in america and get all of those 70s records on LP for like $10.

tylerw, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 21:58 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Did Sounds of Silence not make #1? He's great on that one. Ride cymbal from heaven, if I remember right.

Bill Magill, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 22:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

That was a #1 but was he on that? I thought it was done in New York. Google tells me it was Bobby Gregg.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 22:26 (eleven years ago) Permalink

For me the #1 thing Hal Blaine ever did was trick Charlie Watts with his automatic garage door opener.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 22:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I've been wrong before! i thought i remembered he did that.

Bill Magill, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 22:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I just confirmed that I am, in fact, wrong.

Bill Magill, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 22:29 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"You see that needle? Eggshells, baby, eggshells"

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 22:30 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I didn't even know that was him on "love will keep us together", which just makes me like it more

Dominique, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 22:34 (eleven years ago) Permalink

you can scroll thru his top tens on his website:


can't believe taste of honey wasn't a number one. damned moptops! and i kinda can't believe that herb alpert got hal to play when his band was already made up of crusty session vets. nick ceroli was his regular drummer! maybe he was absent from class that day.

scott seward, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 22:52 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Hey, the 70s was the greatest decade in the history of human achievement! But I agree that the likes of "Song Sung Blue" and "The Way We Were", whatever else you think of them, certainly offer little in the way of "hot drum licks", or whatever you wanna call them. It's too bad "Da Doo Ron Ron" isn't here - those tom-tom fills are lethal. I suppose "He's A Rebel" and "Good Vibrations" come closest to matching that sound, but still...

I think Blaine was so consistently and casually professional that most everything he played was just right somehow, which means that it's more a matter of choosing the song rather than the Hal Blaine performance. I'm gonna postpone voting until I unearth "Indian Reservation" and give it a good listening to see if its Cherokee-beats make it stand out any. (Haven't listened to that song in years - or "Half-Breed" neither, for that matter.)

Myonga Vön Bontee, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 22:59 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i'm actually more partial to don fardon's version of indian reservation. and i LOVE the fardon album that its on. don't know who played drums on that though.

scott seward, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 23:05 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Interview with Hal Blaine

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 23:08 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"Cause I did do a lot of Ventures records."

are union records the only way to figure out what the hell happened back then? cuz these people will all be dead and nobody will know who the hell played on what. WHICH ventures records, ya know?

scott seward, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 23:16 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Ah, this is the interview I was looking for.

Scott, I think Hal Blaine used to ask the producers to give him a gold record if the record went gold and had a little personalized rubber stamp that he would use to put his seal on the arrangements so in a lot of cases he has concrete evidence, but obviously in other cases...

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 23:39 (eleven years ago) Permalink

OK, I'm going to dig out The Big Beat for some more great examples of Hal Blaine, raconteur.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 30 January 2008 23:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

that second interview, especially, is so funny:

"SE: Have you ever heard that tape of Buddy Rich going off on his band?

HB: Buddy was a friend of mine. He was one of the toughest guys in the world! An ex-Marine, he would not stand for fuckin’ up! That’s all there was to it if you wanted to be on his band. But, one of my greatest compliments was when Buddy hired me to do his daughter Kathy’s album and one of the guy’s, Milt Holland, one of the percussionists. He kind of grew up with Buddy and they were very tight, and Milt asked Buddy, “How come you’re not playing on your kid’s album?” And Buddy replied, “I wanted the best!” Milt came to me and said “You know, Buddy will probably never tell you this, but he just said this to me, so I think you should know.” And then Through the years (laughs), Buddy used to tell this story . . . I got it from many people . . . Buddy used to tell this story that was screwing some broad in Australia one afternoon, and in the middle of screwing her, she looked up and said, “Do you know Hal Blaine?” (laughs) He said he almost shit! People have laughed over that for years, and years. Buddy was obviously a legend, an icon. He just had these masterful hands. He was unbelievable. "

Billy Pilgrim, Thursday, 31 January 2008 00:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"SE: The drums on the TV. version of the Batman theme sound huge!

HB: I was shooting my gun and hitting the big gong. I just had an idea, “Let’s get some gunshot’s goin.” So Emil Richards went into his bag of tricks and he pulled out a little starter pistol and it went ‘pop.’ It did nothing. So I reached into my briefcase and pulled out my thirty-eight, filled it full of blanks, and kept firing it at this great big gong. That was great, and they loved it. "

Billy Pilgrim, Thursday, 31 January 2008 00:49 (eleven years ago) Permalink

the Don Fardon version was entitled"(The Lament Of The Cherokee) Indian Reservation"

Pollsters pls remember him for Coventry! I like him and his stuff a lot.

Saxby D. Elder, Thursday, 31 January 2008 01:18 (eleven years ago) Permalink

or is that a different song? Anyone have the 45?

Saxby D. Elder, Thursday, 31 January 2008 01:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Hal Blaine
Strikes Again!!

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 31 January 2008 01:25 (eleven years ago) Permalink

That's what the rubber stamp said.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Thursday, 31 January 2008 01:26 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

ILX System, Monday, 4 February 2008 00:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

ILX System, Tuesday, 5 February 2008 00:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Welcome back, baby, to "I Get Around."

James Redd and the Blecchs, Tuesday, 5 February 2008 00:47 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Of all the choices that's a pretty boring winner (drum-wise). The bass on that song is much nuttier (Carol Kaye on a Fender Jazz VI I believe)

Steve Shasta, Tuesday, 5 February 2008 00:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

In Hal Blaine's book "Mother And Child Reunion" is listed as one of his hits, but it's pretty clear that that's not him, that it's Winston Grennan. I think it says so right on the track credits on the LP.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 13 February 2008 03:07 (eleven years ago) Permalink

But I guess he could have played percussion or something.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 13 February 2008 04:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink

bummed i miss this one! "this diamond ring" and "dizzy" are both way up there among my all-time highs. not necessarily because of the drumming. but not necessarily not either.

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 13 February 2008 04:14 (eleven years ago) Permalink

That Tommy Roe stuff like "Dizzy" sure got sampled a lot, so by rights it should have gotten a vote or two.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Wednesday, 13 February 2008 04:24 (eleven years ago) Permalink

eleven years pass...

This supercut is just ridiculous.


Ned Raggett, Monday, 11 March 2019 22:40 (two months ago) Permalink


Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 11 March 2019 23:18 (two months ago) Permalink

This guy.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 00:10 (two months ago) Permalink

I'm guessing the first time I became aware of his name was somehow connected to this--maybe reading up on the film afterwards.


I was still new to ILX and didn't vote in this poll. I didn't realize he was involved in all those records. Some of them are among my favourite songs ever: "Wedding Bell Blues," "Dizzy," "Poor Side of Town," and "Mrs. Robinson," and there are another dozen listed above I like a lot.

clemenza, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 01:23 (two months ago) Permalink

Seems like more often than not Joe Osborn was on the track as well.

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 02:01 (two months ago) Permalink

Damn, RIP.

change display name (Jordan), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 02:51 (two months ago) Permalink

I never really thought about his playing or consciously checked him out, but I'm sure I picked up so much by osmosis, especially early on. The Batman theme? These Boots? Etc etc etc etc

change display name (Jordan), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 02:59 (two months ago) Permalink

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 pic.twitter.com/vLOX3RIKc6

— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) March 11, 2019

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 03:40 (two months ago) Permalink

Turn on, Tune in, Drop out

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 15:52 (two months ago) Permalink

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