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Author Topic: Hal Blaine, Larry King - 1990 "Dennis Wilson did not play on Beach Boys record"  (Read 2575 times)
Rebel
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« on: October 16, 2017, 06:30:42 PM »

Stumbled upon a 3 part video of Hal Blaine on Larry King where Hal takes calls...

Listen here (Part 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6uhbRIV0gs - at 1:30

Hal bluntly says 'Dennis did not play on The Beach Boys records.'

Obviously Dennis did not play on all of the songs but I thought it's been determined he did play on a majority of the songs in the early days? Regardless, to say he did not play on The Beach Boys records is downright wrong, and I feel like Hal had to have known that was wrong; I even feel like I have even read he had slight admiration for Dennis rudimentary playing.

Statements like this is what perpetrates Dennis limited involvement or that he did not play on any Beach Boys song.

Thoughts?



Also, of interest to us Beach Boys nerds: In part 3 at 5:50 a fan asks Hal if he has played on any of the unreleased Smile tapes.

All three parts are worth hearing as it seems every other question mentions Brian, The Beach Boys, or Phil Spector.

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MrRobinsonsFather
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2017, 11:57:16 PM »

Thanks for sharing. Find it more amusing than anything else when this type of thing is said. Hal has been saying this for years.
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jiggy22
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2017, 11:58:20 PM »

BTW, the question about Smile is asked in part 2, not 3. Thanks for sharing!
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Do happy happy happy Mission Pak singing sound!

My blog, where I post my original Beach Boys mixes and whatnot:
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2017, 12:32:23 AM »

Thanks for sharing. Find it more amusing than anything else when this type of thing is said. Hal has been saying this for years.
Maybe he's been taking the same medicine Carol Kaye takes!
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2017, 01:08:42 AM »

http://www.drumforum.org/index.php?/topic/68334-dennis-wilson-the-beach-boys-and-the-hal-blaine-myth/
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Peadar 'Big Dinner' O'Driscoll
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2017, 02:03:58 AM »


Lots of doubters still there it seems though it's an oldish thread
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Cabinessenceking
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2017, 04:33:13 AM »

During the time when Hal was most involved in Brian's work he basically did all the drumming didn't he? I think he refers to the 65-66/67 period when he makes that statement.
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Ian
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2017, 01:36:11 PM »

Not to in anyway disparage hal Blaine but this is exactly the why books like Stebbins tome on Dennis are so important. People are lazy and prone to making easy answers. Clearly the truth is often not easy to encapsulate in a thirty seconds response
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« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2017, 08:26:04 PM »

During the time when Hal was most involved in Brian's work he basically did all the drumming didn't he? I think he refers to the 65-66/67 period when he makes that statement.

Dennis drummed on roughly a third of Today! and roughly a fourth of Summer Days. Plus, of course, one Pet Sounds track and a couple from SMiLE.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2017, 12:03:12 AM »

It also annoys me to see comments implying that Dennis wasn't a great drummer. On a technical level, okay, he was no Hal Blaine, but IMO the Boys always sounded more energized in concert with Dennis on drums.
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2017, 04:45:32 AM »

It also annoys me to see comments implying that Dennis wasn't a great drummer. On a technical level, okay, he was no Hal Blaine, but IMO the Boys always sounded more energized in concert with Dennis on drums.

He was no slouch in the studio, either...his playing on "When I Grow Up" and "That's Not Me", among others, bears witness to that!
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drummer083
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2017, 01:16:51 PM »

  Since my initial thread on drumforum.org, there have been at least a half dozen more threads about this topic there alone. The fact is, The Wrecking Crew's contributions to The Beach Boys music, although legendary, are vastly overstated. And make no mistake about it, Dennis was a really good drummer. In fact, just prior to his hand injury, his playing had gone to another level, as evidenced by his drumming on the Live in London album.
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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2017, 06:10:56 PM »

  Since my initial thread on drumforum.org, there have been at least a half dozen more threads about this topic there alone. The fact is, The Wrecking Crew's contributions to The Beach Boys music, although legendary, are vastly overstated. And make no mistake about it, Dennis was a really good drummer. In fact, just prior to his hand injury, his playing had gone to another level, as evidenced by his drumming on the Live in London album.
I agree with this and yes Live In London is a great example of his growth, but that was late '68. Not much live evidence exists of the two years that followed, but I think he went again to another level. He could relax and swing with major power. This clip from '71 is one of the best examples...Try not to be too distracted by Al mangling the lyrics and the bad quality of the clip, and just focus on Dennis' playing. Like I said, relaxed, in the pocket, so damn powerful...too bad he put his hand through glass shortly after this.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0iiI4QQZc8
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Don Malcolm
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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2017, 06:59:01 PM »

Good to see you, Jon! And ongoing thanks for setting the record straight about the talents of my birthday buddy Dennis Wilson, a man whose ferocious lifestyle has always overshadowed his superb musical skills. It was Dennis' songwriting that helped the BBs bridge the gap when Brian stepped back in 1968-69, and while it didn't lead to commercial success, his work with the BBs from 1968-73 was increasingly varied and ambitious in scope. We just wish the lifestyle hadn't taken such a toll on him, as more music from Dennis would have been a precious gift to the world.

Dennis was not cut out temperamentally to be a studio drummer, though it's clear that he could do it when he put his mind to it. Live he was both powerful and kinetic, and as it's been said in this thread already, he was elevating his skills prior to his hand accident in ways that are clearly evident.
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2017, 10:20:35 PM »

  Since my initial thread on drumforum.org, there have been at least a half dozen more threads about this topic there alone. The fact is, The Wrecking Crew's contributions to The Beach Boys music, although legendary, are vastly overstated. And make no mistake about it, Dennis was a really good drummer. In fact, just prior to his hand injury, his playing had gone to another level, as evidenced by his drumming on the Live in London album.
Yes. As much as like The Beach Boys in Concert, it is missing something. Dennis on the drums.
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Rick5150
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« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2017, 05:54:16 AM »

Try not to be too distracted by Al mangling the lyrics and the bad quality of the clip, and just focus on Dennis' playing.

Well, Al got a few of the lyrics right.  Grin

Dennis always approached his music like he truly felt it within him, no matter what he did. Drums, piano and especially singing, are SO heartfelt, honest and beautiful.

Brian had that gift as well, of course. Carl also had that ability to sing like he really meant it - because he did mean it. Even if he was singing Shortenin' Bread.
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drummer083
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« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2017, 03:10:39 PM »

  Since my initial thread on drumforum.org, there have been at least a half dozen more threads about this topic there alone. The fact is, The Wrecking Crew's contributions to The Beach Boys music, although legendary, are vastly overstated. And make no mistake about it, Dennis was a really good drummer. In fact, just prior to his hand injury, his playing had gone to another level, as evidenced by his drumming on the Live in London album.
Yes. As much as like The Beach Boys in Concert, it is missing something. Dennis on the drums.
And a lead vocal.
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Big Daddy
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« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2017, 05:09:43 PM »

In Hal's defense, they probably wouldn't hire Hal for a session where they planned to have Dennis play the drums. I would be surprised if Hal ever SAW Dennis play the drums on a record. That said, of course Dennis played drums on several Beach Boys recordings.

To someone else's point, the vocals make the Beach Boys. In interviews with the Wrecking Crew they had no idea that a lot of their records with Brian would be hits based on what they laid down in the session. The vocals make the record and the boys were a hit long before the Wrecking Crew got involved. They added an extra layer of wonderful on top of what would have already been phenomenal songs written by Brian. Overall, their contribution may be overrated and overstated from a musical perspective... but they allowed Brian to increase his creative output many times over in terms of what became possible from a production standpoint and the speed that they could lay down complex arrangements.
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« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2017, 10:09:30 AM »

Hal definitely saw Dennis play drums on "Dance, Dance, Dance" because Hal was handling the sleigh bells, tambourine and castanets while Dennis was manning the drum kit.

There may have been other instances, but even if it was only this one song, Hal knows better than to see Dennis didn't play on Beach Boys records.
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Jon Stebbins
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« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2017, 10:10:52 AM »

In Hal's defense, they probably wouldn't hire Hal for a session where they planned to have Dennis play the drums. I would be surprised if Hal ever SAW Dennis play the drums on a record. That said, of course Dennis played drums on several Beach Boys recordings.



This is the kind of comment that is so pervasive, so inaccurate, and so casually tossed off by both fans of the BB's and fans of the Wrecking Crew. I'm sure the poster meant no offense, and I want to emphasize that my anger is not directed at you personally, but just at the way this incorrect perception has solidified with so many well meaning people. The definition of several..."more than two but fewer than many"... let's start there. When actually looking at the facts I can say with total confidence that Dennis played drums on more than 100 Beach Boys tracks that were released in his lifetime as either single or album track releases, including somewhere around twenty of their top 40 hit singles. Hal Blaine played drums on approx 35-40 Beach Boys tracks, including approx ten or so of their top 40 hits. This is not written to diminish HB, it is only to illustrate the ratio, Dennis played drums on way more Beach Boys recordings and Beach Boys hits than the great Mr. Blaine did. Just a simple fact. I'm sure C-man can give us the exact numbers, but I'm confident my ratio is reasonably correct.

And regarding the statement that it would be surprising if Hal ever saw Dennis play on a record, I seriously doubt that could be true. First off Hal has commented to me about Dennis using his drums on a session, and the anecdote seemed like he was witnessing the destruction of his hardware by Dennis. But that's anecdotal. There are numerous sessions where Dennis was playing drums and Hal was playing percussion (Hawaii, I Get Around, Dance Dance Dance, That's Not Me and others). There are examples where the opposite is true, Hal drums, Dennis percussion, and there are examples of both guys playing drums on the same song (Fun Fun Fun). It's likely that in many of these cases the two were recorded at different times, and not together in the studio, but is that the case for ALL of them? probably not. C-man can fill us in if these were ALL overdubbed and separate sessions, or if DW and HB were performing simultaneously at times. IMO it seems very unlikely, due to the overlap in their participation on so many Beach Boys recordings that Hal never saw Dennis play the drums on a record.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 10:14:25 AM by Jon Stebbins » Logged
c-man
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« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2017, 08:12:28 PM »

In Hal's defense, they probably wouldn't hire Hal for a session where they planned to have Dennis play the drums. I would be surprised if Hal ever SAW Dennis play the drums on a record. That said, of course Dennis played drums on several Beach Boys recordings.



This is the kind of comment that is so pervasive, so inaccurate, and so casually tossed off by both fans of the BB's and fans of the Wrecking Crew. I'm sure the poster meant no offense, and I want to emphasize that my anger is not directed at you personally, but just at the way this incorrect perception has solidified with so many well meaning people. The definition of several..."more than two but fewer than many"... let's start there. When actually looking at the facts I can say with total confidence that Dennis played drums on more than 100 Beach Boys tracks that were released in his lifetime as either single or album track releases, including somewhere around twenty of their top 40 hit singles. Hal Blaine played drums on approx 35-40 Beach Boys tracks, including approx ten or so of their top 40 hits. This is not written to diminish HB, it is only to illustrate the ratio, Dennis played drums on way more Beach Boys recordings and Beach Boys hits than the great Mr. Blaine did. Just a simple fact. I'm sure C-man can give us the exact numbers, but I'm confident my ratio is reasonably correct.

And regarding the statement that it would be surprising if Hal ever saw Dennis play on a record, I seriously doubt that could be true. First off Hal has commented to me about Dennis using his drums on a session, and the anecdote seemed like he was witnessing the destruction of his hardware by Dennis. But that's anecdotal. There are numerous sessions where Dennis was playing drums and Hal was playing percussion (Hawaii, I Get Around, Dance Dance Dance, That's Not Me and others). There are examples where the opposite is true, Hal drums, Dennis percussion, and there are examples of both guys playing drums on the same song (Fun Fun Fun). It's likely that in many of these cases the two were recorded at different times, and not together in the studio, but is that the case for ALL of them? probably not. C-man can fill us in if these were ALL overdubbed and separate sessions, or if DW and HB were performing simultaneously at times. IMO it seems very unlikely, due to the overlap in their participation on so many Beach Boys recordings that Hal never saw Dennis play the drums on a record.

Jon's right, I can testify to this - the earliest example being "Hawaii", where Dennis drummed while Hal played timbales with brushes - both on the basic track. Another example is the "Fun, Fun, Fun" session - that started with the two of them playing drums together, but by the final take Dennis was moved to tambourine while Hal stayed on drums, then Hal played the drum rolls on an overdub, before Dennis finally added yet MORE drum parts during the vocal overdubs. At that same tracking session, Dennis played the drums on "Warmth Of The Sun" while Hal played percussion. "I Get Around" and "Dance, Dance, Dance" are further examples of Dennis drumming while Hal plays percussion on the basic track - while "Don't Hurt My Little Sister" is another example of Hal drumming while Dennis plays tambourine on the basic track. Finally, for "That's Not Me", Dennis played the thunderous drums on the basic track, and according to what Brian told me (via one of those Q&As he's done), Hal added the wooden percussion (which was done as an overdub).
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Lonely Summer
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« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2017, 11:45:52 PM »

  Since my initial thread on drumforum.org, there have been at least a half dozen more threads about this topic there alone. The fact is, The Wrecking Crew's contributions to The Beach Boys music, although legendary, are vastly overstated. And make no mistake about it, Dennis was a really good drummer. In fact, just prior to his hand injury, his playing had gone to another level, as evidenced by his drumming on the Live in London album.
Yes. As much as like The Beach Boys in Concert, it is missing something. Dennis on the drums.
And a lead vocal.

Yeah, that makes it a rather strange album. Recorded during a time when Dennis had bloomed as a songwriter, but there is no Forever, Slip On Through, Only With You, Cuddle Up...what were they thinking?  Huh
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KDS
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« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2017, 05:43:59 AM »

  Since my initial thread on drumforum.org, there have been at least a half dozen more threads about this topic there alone. The fact is, The Wrecking Crew's contributions to The Beach Boys music, although legendary, are vastly overstated. And make no mistake about it, Dennis was a really good drummer. In fact, just prior to his hand injury, his playing had gone to another level, as evidenced by his drumming on the Live in London album.
Yes. As much as like The Beach Boys in Concert, it is missing something. Dennis on the drums.
And a lead vocal.

Yeah, that makes it a rather strange album. Recorded during a time when Dennis had bloomed as a songwriter, but there is no Forever, Slip On Through, Only With You, Cuddle Up...what were they thinking?  Huh

"What Were They Thinking" would be a good title for a tome that could be easily written about self induced follies by The Beach Boys over their history. 
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Any opinions posted by me regarding the music of The Beach Boys, and their members, is in no way a show of disrespect towards any member of The Beach Boys, past or present.
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« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2017, 04:30:08 AM »

That is because Hal hasn't read John Stebbins books! If he did he would be more educated!  Grin
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"Over the years, I've been accused of not supporting our new music from this era (67-73) and just wanting to play our hits. That's complete b.s......I was also, as the front man, the one promoting these songs onstage and have the scars to show for it."
Mike Love autobiography (pg 242-243)
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« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2017, 02:27:51 PM »

In Hal's defense, they probably wouldn't hire Hal for a session where they planned to have Dennis play the drums. I would be surprised if Hal ever SAW Dennis play the drums on a record. That said, of course Dennis played drums on several Beach Boys recordings.



This is the kind of comment that is so pervasive, so inaccurate, and so casually tossed off by both fans of the BB's and fans of the Wrecking Crew. I'm sure the poster meant no offense, and I want to emphasize that my anger is not directed at you personally, but just at the way this incorrect perception has solidified with so many well meaning people. The definition of several..."more than two but fewer than many"... let's start there. When actually looking at the facts I can say with total confidence that Dennis played drums on more than 100 Beach Boys tracks that were released in his lifetime as either single or album track releases, including somewhere around twenty of their top 40 hit singles. Hal Blaine played drums on approx 35-40 Beach Boys tracks, including approx ten or so of their top 40 hits. This is not written to diminish HB, it is only to illustrate the ratio, Dennis played drums on way more Beach Boys recordings and Beach Boys hits than the great Mr. Blaine did. Just a simple fact. I'm sure C-man can give us the exact numbers, but I'm confident my ratio is reasonably correct.

And regarding the statement that it would be surprising if Hal ever saw Dennis play on a record, I seriously doubt that could be true. First off Hal has commented to me about Dennis using his drums on a session, and the anecdote seemed like he was witnessing the destruction of his hardware by Dennis. But that's anecdotal. There are numerous sessions where Dennis was playing drums and Hal was playing percussion (Hawaii, I Get Around, Dance Dance Dance, That's Not Me and others). There are examples where the opposite is true, Hal drums, Dennis percussion, and there are examples of both guys playing drums on the same song (Fun Fun Fun). It's likely that in many of these cases the two were recorded at different times, and not together in the studio, but is that the case for ALL of them? probably not. C-man can fill us in if these were ALL overdubbed and separate sessions, or if DW and HB were performing simultaneously at times. IMO it seems very unlikely, due to the overlap in their participation on so many Beach Boys recordings that Hal never saw Dennis play the drums on a record.

I apologize, clearly poor word choice on my part. I always considered several and many to be synonymous. My intention was to express that Dennis clearly played drums on many Beach Boys records. You learn something new every day I suppose.

That said, to criticize Hal for not really remembering Dennis playing the drums is kind of harsh. When the boys talk about Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew they talk about how Brian had these great finished tracks that the band just had to lay the vocals over when they got back from touring. Of course Dennis played on far more records for the Beach Boys than Blaine, plus he was their live drummer. Hal has probably played on thousands of sessions in his career. When I hear Hal talk about Brian or the Beach Boys he always tells the same couple stories. The Beach Boys historians on here can tell you more about the sessions Hal was on with the boys than Hal can. I think it's fair to say Hal doesn't obsess with what was a small portion of his career.

I believe you're absolutely correct in saying that the Wrecking Crew's musical contributions seem to be overstated by revisionists. The vocal harmonies made those records jump out of the radio and they would have been big hit songs with just the Beach Boys and simpler arrangements/production. I feel their biggest overall contribution was that they could learn the songs faster, allowing Brian to increase his output. They also increased the scope of what was possible, encouraging Brian's creativity.
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