Bill Pitman, guitarist in The Wrecking Crew, dies at 102
Guitarist Bill Pitman, who was part of the legendary Wrecking Crew of session musicians, died on Thursday (8/11) at his home in La Quinta, California. He was 102.
Born February 12, 1920 in Belleville, NJ, Pittman came from a music family -- his father was staff bassist for NBC in Rockefeller Center -- and he picked up the guitar at an early age. By the time he was a teenager, he was going to see Charlie Parker and other luminaries play in New York City and was well on his way to being an ace musician himself. In 1951 he was hired as a guitarist for Peggy Lee and within a few years was an in-demand session musician, playing with Mel Torme, Buddy Rich and others. It was after meeting producer Phil Spector that he became part of a group of players who would become known as the Wrecking Crew, and over the '50s and '60s played on some of the most well-known songs of all time.
That list includes: The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night," B.J. Thomas' "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" (from Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid), Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were," and more, and on the scores for films including M*A*S*H, Goodfellas, Blue Hawaii and so much more.
Rest in peace, Bill.
You can watch Bill in action in The Wrecking Crew documentary that's available to stream on Hulu. Watch the trailer below.