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Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine, 1929-2019

posted Mar 15, 2019, 12:21 PM by Steve Sauer   [ updated Mar 15, 2019, 12:23 PM ]
The press-on decals of Amy Winehouse’s tattoos are still fresh on Su Teears’s arms from last Sunday when she starred in Back to Amy’s set paying tribute to the late British chanteuse. The one on her right bicep was peeking out at me all night Thursday as AM Radio Tribute Band paid unexpected tribute to the recently departed drummer Hal Blaine.

At our show at the Ribhouse, we played three sets of music that featured Hal on the original recordings in honor of his talent and his life, which came to its conclusion this week.

Hal was 90, and it’s amazing when you consider how many hit songs Hal played a part in. Assembling a night of just the music with his contributions was easy for us to do, particularly with the talented Jim Cavanaugh playing drums for us. He’s pretty much our group’s musical director, and nobody I know could have played more of Hal’s famous parts and paid better tribute to the man. 

Going into the gig, I knew of enough songs we could play from Hal Blaine’s catalog to fill little more than one set of material, with the rest of the night being our other regular material. However, Jim had spent part of his day researching, finding out how many other songs we already play regularly that none of us knew Hal Blaine played on. He also gave us the green light to go ahead and try out a few other songs we don’t normally play but could go ahead and try to do.

So here’s a full rundown of everything AM Radio Tribute Band played at our night of Hal Blaine, on Thursday, March 14, 2019, at Bridgeport Ribhouse.

Set 1

  1. “Gentle on My Mind” by Glen Campbell
  2. “Cracklin’ Rosie” by Neil Diamond
  3. “This Diamond Ring” by Gary Lewis & the Playboys
  4. “The Munsters” TV theme song
  5. “Batman” TV theme song
  6. “Wedding Bell Blues” by The 5th Dimension
  7. “Monday, Monday” by the Mamas & the Papas
  8. “Windy” by The Association
  9. “Never My Love” by The Association
  10. “Return to Sender” by Elvis Presley
  11. “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis Presley
  12. “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck” by Elvis Presley
  13. “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain & Tennille
  14. “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes
  15. “California Dreamin’” by the Mamas & the Papas

Set 2

  1. “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel
  2. “Bus Stop” by the Hollies
  3. “Top of the World” by the Carpenters
  4. “Ventura Highway” by America
  5. “Sister Golden Hair” by America
  6. “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” by Scott McKenzie
  7. “He’s a Rebel” by the Crystals
  8. “Da Doo Ron Ron” by the Crystals
  9. “Don’t Pull Your Love” by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
  10. “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” by Nancy Sinatra
  11. “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra
  12. “Mr. Tambourine Man” by the Byrds
  13. “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)” by the Byrds
  14. “The Beat Goes On” by Sonny & Cher
  15. “Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by The 5th Dimension

Set 3

  1. “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)” by the Raiders
  2. “Do You Believe in Magic” by The Lovin’ Spoonful
  3. “I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family
  4. “Close to You” by the Carpenters
  5. “Superstar” by the Carpenters
  6. “Nothing Can Change This Love” by Sam Cooke
  7. “Saturday Night” by Sam Cooke
  8. “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers
  9. “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” by Dionne Warwick
  10. “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” by BJ Thomas
  11. “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glen Campbell
  12. “Wichita Lineman” by Glen Campbell
  13. “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire
  14. “Chevy Van” by Sammy Johns
  15. “Three’s Company” TV theme song
  16. “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher

And still, what we can do in one night doesn’t represent the full breadth of what Hal Blaine accomplished in the studio. We didn’t even touch on the Beach Boys, and we didn’t play anything by the Monkees. Or Barbra Streisand. I also put half an hour’s worth of Hal Blaine material on the jukebox before the first set, and it was all stuff I knew we wouldn’t be getting to. Hal Blaine was a monster musician, whether anybody knew it or not.