Music News: Legendary drummer Hal Blaine dies at 90

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Hal Blaine in 2015.
Hal Blaine in 2015. (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
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Drummer and session musician Hal Blaine has passed away at the age of 90.

As the Guardian noted, "His driving beat and epic tom-tom fills formed the foundation of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, erected around the Ronettes, the Crystals, Darlene Love and others. As Spector made a roomful of musicians go through 40 or 50 takes of a two-minute song until, as someone once said, they were exhausted enough to play what he wanted rather than what they wanted, Blaine was one who never flagged."

A Hall of Famer and member of "the Wrecking Crew," he played on songs from the Beach Boys to Simon and Garfunkel to Nancy Sinatra, and so many more. Blaine played the drums in the theme songs for Batman, Three's Company, and The Monkees.

Blaine played on six consecutive Grammy Award Record of the Year winners:
- Herb Alpert and the Tijana Brass in 1966 for "A Taste of Honey"
- Frank Sinatra in 1967 for "Strangers in the Night"
- The 5th Dimension in 1968 for "Up, Up and Away"
- Simon and Garfunkel in 1969 for "Mrs. Robinson"
- The 5th Dimension in 1970 for "Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In"
- Simon and Garfunkel in 1971 for "Bridge over Troubled Water"

Listen to his iconic drumming kicking off the Ronettes' "Be My Baby."

Britney's headed to Broadway...or, at least, her songs are

Britney Spears is heading to Broadway. Well, at least her music is. 23 songs from the pop star's discography will be used to "explore an alternative arc from some classic princess" in a musical comedy titled, Once Upon a One More Time. The show will kick off in Chicago in the fall and then, fingers crossed, it will transfer to Broadway. (New York Times)

That's Dr. Misdemeanor to you

This is Missy Elliott's year. Back in January it was announced that she would become the first female hip-hop artist inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and now she's to be honored by Berklee College of Music. The five-time Grammy-winning rapper-slash-producer will receive an honorary Doctor of Music degree at the esteemed music college on March 12.

Justin Timberlake and three-time Tony-award winning musician Alex Lacamoire will also be honored as recognition for their musical achievements and influence and for their "enduring global impact." (Billboard)

I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as the Hollywood sign: Lana Del Rey pens chapbook

There has been a long tradition of musicians releasing books of poetry — from Leonard Cohen to Tupac Shakur to Jewel to Alicia Keys to Tom Waits. Well, make some room on your bookshelf, because there are a couple more announced for this year.

Devendra Banhart, the Venezuelan singer-songwriter and visual artist, has announced his first book of poetry. The collection, Weeping Gang Blis Void Yab-Yum, will be released on April 23. Lana Del Rey is going DIY and self-publishing a collection of poems titled Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass. She also announced that the book will cost $1, "because [her] thoughts are priceless."

Lana Del Rey will also be releasing her fifth album sometime this year and its first single, "hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it," came out back in January.

Star musicians sing Dumbo song

Last night, Disney's 2019 remake of Dumbo premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. As a child that cried my eyes out at that movie, I'm very much looking forward to the live action remake, but there is some remade music to go along with the movie. Both Aurora and Arcade Fire are contributing new versions of "Baby Mine." The soundtrack will be released on the day the new movie comes out: March 29.

Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard appears in deleted Vice scene

For today's Viral Pick we're checking out a Brittany Howard song that ended up on the cutting room floor. The Dick Cheney biopic Vice has garnered 22 major nominations and three awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture going to Christian Bale. But, we now know, there was a scene from the movie that got cut out.

The scene in question is a musical number, with Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard leading a song-and-dance scene with a pointed song about the political world. The scene was cut because it just didn't fit. Director Adam McKay said, "We tried 15 versions of it." But luckily for us, they released the video. (Billboard)


Audio sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
BoxCat Games: "Against The Wall" (CC BY 3.0)
Lana Del Rey: "hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it"
Mac Wilson interview with Aurora at The Current
Aurora: "Baby Mine"
Win Butler interview from Dumbo red carpet
Arcade Fire: "Baby Mine"
The Ronettes: "Be My Baby"
Brittany Howard: Deleted song from Vice


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