Music and television producer and all-around legend Hal Willner has died, just one day after his 64th birthday. According to Variety multiple sources confirmed the sad news, citing coronavirus. His friend Penny Arcade wrote on Facebook, "Oh no! Not Hal.......Ladies and gentleman Hal Wilner has left the auditorium."
Hal's production credits include albums by Marianne Faithfull (who also has Coronavirus), Lou Reed, Bill Frisell, William S. Burroughs, Lucinda Williams, Laurie Anderson, Allen Ginsberg, and more, and he was Saturday Night Live's sketch music producer since 1981. Hal is also famous for producing tribute concerts and albums, including Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill, Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films, Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus, and many more.
The list of musicians and actors paying tribute to Hal already includes Sonic Youth, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Van Dyke Parks, Beth Orton, Ben Stiller, Judd Apatow, Sean Ono Lennon, and more.
Last year, Hal performed alongside Laurie Anderson and AHOHNI at The Kitchen's Spring Gala. He was producing the "Bans Off My Body" Planned Parenthood benefit at Town Hall with Courtney Love and Melissa Auf Der Maur that ended up getting postponed due to COVID-19 sheltering.
Hal, your contribution to music cannot be overestimated. Rest in peace.