Hal Blaine is featured in the new documentary The Wrecking Crew about a group of anonymous intensely successful musicians who recorded together. Terry Gross, host of NPR’s Fresh Air, spoke with him in 2001. Here is an excerpt:
GROSS: What are some of the things he had you do that other session heads didn’t? What was different about working with Phil Spector?
BLAINE: Well, first of all, every Phil Spector session was a party. Everyone on the session – all the guys and girls were the first call people. Everyone wanted to work with Phil Spector because they knew that some kind of a hit record – I mean, it was the talk of the town. Phil Spector was the guy that everyone wanted to see how he worked. He had a big sign on the door that said closed session, and yet anyone who stuck their head in – he’d grab them, and he’d shove them in the studio, and he’d say, Hal, give them a tambourine or a shaker or some claves, some noisemakers. Let him play something.
Read more and listen to the interview at NPR.org.
When David Letterman ends his 30-plus-year late night career in 2015, his smirking wit won’t be the only thing missing from television — it will also mark the end of an annual holiday TV tradition.
Every year since 1986, Darlene Love has performed her 1963 girl group classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” from the album A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector, on the last episode of Letterman before Christmas. In a recent interview with the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Billboard asked Love if she would consider moving the annual performance to a different late night show.
She laughed and shook her head.
…”They couldn’t ask me not to sing ‘Christmas (Baby)’ on another show, but after 10 years, then 15 years, of doing this one song on this one show, I felt I had an obligation to be true to them.”
Photo by John Paul Filo/CBS
It was 50 years ago that Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Phil Spector pitched a song to Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, who had had some minor success as the first “blue-eyed soul” duo, the Righteous Brothers. The song was a piece about a faltering relationship called “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” and the duo recorded it even though they were dubious about its chances on the charts. But “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” not only became one of the biggest pop hits of the 1960s, but BMI eventually ranked it as having had more radio and television play in the United States than any song of the 20th century.
Read more at American Songwriter.
This photo of Phil Spector is featured at GQ.com for April 30, in the magazine’s daily look back at stylish men and women.