Brian Wilson and Ringo Starr pay tribute to 'greatest drummer' Hal Blaine, who has died aged 90

13 March 2019, 11:07 | Updated: 9 January 2024, 12:21

Hal Blaine
Hal Blaine. Picture: Getty

Legendary drummer Hal Blaine has died at the age of 90.

The musician played on a huge list of hits by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys and John Lennon.

His most recognisable riff was the "boom-ba-boom-crack" bar, that famously opened The Ronnettes' 'Be My Baby'.

Beach Boys star Brian Wilson described him "the greatest drummer ever".

"Hal Blaine was such a great musician and friend that I can't put it into words," Wilson tweeted, posting a photo of him and Blaine sitting at a piano.

"Hal taught me a lot, and he had so much to do with our success - he was the greatest drummer ever."

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who recently performed at Blaine's 90th birthday party, said: "Godspeed Hal. He gave us all so much. Feeling very blessed to have celebrated his life with him."

25 Months ago Hal Blaine and I made music for the last time together at the NAMM Convention. Today I regrettably have to...

Posted by Ronnie Spector on Monday, 11 March 2019

"Today I regrettably have to say goodbye to Hal," added Ronettes singer Ronnie Spector on Facebook, thanking him "for the magic he put on all our Ronettes recordings… and so many others throughout his incredible career."

Blaine is thought to have played drums on over 6,000 tracks over the course of his career, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

Among his hits include Elvis Presley's 'Return to Sender', The Byrds' 'Mr Tambourine Man', the Beach Boys' 'Good Vibrations', Simon & Garfunkel's 'Mrs Robinson', The Mamas and the Papas' 'California Dreamin'' and the theme song to Batman.

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