Uma lenda da música pouco conhecida do grande público nos deixou ontem (11) aos 90 anos. O baterista Hal Blaine certamente não era tão popular quanto as músicas que gravou, e estima-se que ele tenha participado de 35 mil gravações, incluindo 6 mil singles. Mas uma pequena lista de algumas das canções que tiveram a sua contribuição mostram como ele foi, e segue sendo, ouvido, por milhões de pessoas ao redor do planeta – ele tocou em 38 compactos que chegaram ao primeiro lugar da Billboard.
Blaine viveu o auge de sua carreira na década de 60. Ele está presente em “Be My Baby“, das Ronettes, “California Dreaming” dos Mamas and Papas, “Good Vibrations” e várias outras dos Beach Boys(ele também foi o principal baterista de “Pet Sounds”, o álbum da banda de 1966 que é sempre lembrado como um dos melhores de todos os tempos), “I Got You Babe” de Sonny and Cher e também em diversos hits de artistas tão diversos como Simon and Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Johnny Rivers, Neil Diamond e Barbra Streisand.
Blaine fez parte do grupo de músicos de estúdio de Los Angeles que ficaram conhecidos como “The Wrecking Crew”. A “equipe destruidora”, tinha esse nome dada a enorme rapidez e eficiência de seus serviços. Em poucas tomadas eles entregavam a base de uma música que em poucas semanas já estavam tocando nas rádios de todo o mundo e disputando o topo das paradas.
Mesmo em um time formado por músicos do primeiríssimo time, Blaine se destacava. Basta dizer que ele foi o baterista de seis músicas que ganharam consecutivamente o Grammy de gravação do ano – da versão de “A Taste Of Honey” feita por Herb Alpert em 1966 até “Bridge Over Troubled Water” de Simon and Garfunkel de 1971.
Com o passar do anos, Blaine foi sendo menos requisitado, com a chegada dos instrumentos eletrônicos e de músicos mais jovens. Ele passou a gravar jingles, mas também sofreu com problemas financeiros, chegando até a trabalhar como segurança no Arizona nos anos que se seguiram, mas ele encerou sua carreira de forma digna, como membro do Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame – ele foi o primeiro homenageado quando a categoria especial criada para celebrar os “músicos acompanhantes” foi instituída no ano 2000 – e com seu talento universalmente reconhecido por fãs e estudiosos do rock dos anos 60.
A página do Facebook do Wrecking Crew homenageou Blaine com esse vídeo onde, em cinco minutos, ouvimos algumas de suas performances mais conhecidas.
This is one the saddest days I’ve had to share. Hal Blaine has passed today at 90 years old. Words can’t describe what Hal meant to me personally and to his family and friends. When musical legends pass on we are reminded of their careers they leave behind. But with Hal he leaves so much more. Just listen to the hits and imagine if Hal never touched a drumstick. American pop music would be very different today. Hal turned 90 on February 5th. There was a birthday party for him at the Baked Potato. We thought Hal would last maybe 90 minutes. But he closed the place. Don Randi and I left him signing autographs at 12:30. Another surprise that night, he sat in with Don’s band and they played “Be My Baby” and “These Boots Are Made for Walking” with Leah Randi singing. Everyone went crazy and he loved it.I think we knew then this could be the last event, but with Hal you never knew. Like other loved ones that pass, you always wish you could have said more to them. One more word, one more thank you, one more kiss good-by. Below is my ‘one more’ note to Hal today. Make today a day to reach out to someone that you want to say thank you to or just hello. You won’t regret it. Dear Hal,There are no words to express how much joy you brought to all of us in our lifetime. At any moment we could listen to the radio and know within a few minutes we would hear a Hal Blaine fill. For those of us that knew you personally, you filled our lives with love, encouragement, and laughter. You had such respect for the art and the artist and you always spoke about how you were not a soloist but an accompanist. You were there to make the artist and the song shine. My father would talk about you in the seminars with such praise and love. “There is no one like Hal Blaine. He treats every session as if he is trying to make a hit. Didn’t matter if it was Frank Sinatra or John Doe”. Over the last 22 years, my father’s friend became my friend as well. You were always there in helping and encouraging me to tell the story of the Wrecking Crew. I will cherish the times we travelled to various cities around the country and seeing the standing ovations as you walked down the theater aisle when the credits finished. I was honored to be in that shadow walking behind you. The jokes never stopped. Sure there were jokes that I had heard at every screening, but they were always new to that audience. And there were the jokes that made me sit at the edge of the seat wondering if we were going Blue that evening. (sometimes). In 2004, you and I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. They asked me to share 30 minutes of the film in the making. I was very nervous about sharing it. I wasn’t worried about the audience but what you might think. At that point, you had only seen 10 minutes of footage. So after the 30 minute screening was finished, they announced your name and they gave you that standing ovation. Then the moderator started asking you a question. You started to answer but then you started crying. At first I thought you were putting us on but realized you were emotionally touched by what you saw. Behind those oversized sunglasses were crocodile tears. “I’m sorry, I just saw all my friends who I haven’t seen in years. So many have left”. At that point I saw something in your eyes and knew we needed to keep going and never stop until your story would be told.In 2008, we were at the Seattle Film Festival. You and my mom were traveling with me. I remember trying to find seats for both of you. You were 81 (youngster) and my mom was 79. In my frustration at the moment, I turned to both of you with a stern voice, ‘Dad, Mom, please sit down”. It was an odd moment but it felt right. With my dad gone, you stepped in. You spoke about your friends and family with such pride. Spoke about how Michele was an amazing cook and how Andy could do anything on the computer and you were so proud that Michael your nephew was a great drummer. There was nothing better than hearing you speak in adoring terms about other drummers and musicians. I know you are heaven looking down and seeing the tears and love that your fellow musicians and the artists shed today. For the rest of the world, you gave us a beat that will live beyond all of our lives. Here is one joke that you told me many years ago and I’m sure when you get to heaven you’ll have a whole new audience that hasn’t heard the Hal Blaine joke repertoire. But I know they’ve heard your music. We miss you already.Three departed souls appeared before St. Peter at the pearly gates.St. Peter asked the first one, "What was your last job and annual salary?" The first soul replied, "$200,000; I was a trial lawyer."St. Peter asked the second one the same question. The soul answered, "$95,000; I was a realtor."St. Peter then asked the third soul the same question. The answer was "$10,000."Before he could go on, St. Peter immediately said "Cool! What instrument did you play?"For a week, the WC Facebook page is there for you to share your memories of Hal or your favorite recordings.
Posted by The Wrecking Crew on Monday, March 11, 2019