Rest in Peace, Bill Pitman, Revered Guitarist/Session Musician of The Wrecking Crew: 1920-2022


Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Bill Pitman, a revered guitarist/session musician whose career spanned decades and included work on some of the most impactful rock and roll recordings ever laid to tape, passed away recently at the age of 102.

The news was confirmed by the New York Times, which included a note from his wife, Janet, who stated that “her husband died after four weeks of hospice care following a fall that fractured his spine,” per Deadline.

Pitman’s position in the music scene of his era included involvement in The Wrecking Crew, the ensemble of Los Angeles-area musicians and studio players whose playing was featured on classic songs from the 1960s and 70s and beyond, including numerous Top 40 hits. The ensemble received accolades during the time, but more behind-the-scenes than anything else.

It took years until the Wrecking Crew was officially publicly recognized for its indelible role in shaping popular music, and filmmaker Denny Tedesco (who helmed an acclaimed documentary film about the group in 2015) reflected on the passing of Bill Pitman:

We’ve lost another friend of ours last night. Bill Pitman has passed away. He was 102. Born on February 12, 1920
Growing up, as a little kid, I always knew who Bill Pitman was. He was my dad’s friend who played guitar and golf with him. It wasn’t until I got older did I understand the impact that he made. Bill could be heard from Mr. Tamborine Man to Good Vibrations. Hundreds and hundreds of Film and television.
He became the first call with the Danelectro guitar for many years. The interview I did with Bill for the WC Movie, he was 82 years young. He was an amazing man.
Best to his wife Jan and his children.
Jr. Salt, we will miss you. Say hello to Sr.

We've lost another friend of ours last night. Bill Pitman has passed away. He was 102. Born on February 12,…

Posted by The Wrecking Crew on Friday, August 12, 2022

In tribute, click here to watch the Wrecking Crew documentary, via YouTube.

Some of Pitman’s Wrecking Crew colleagues also issued similar remembrances. Here’s Carole Kaye:

With heavy heart, I have to announce another long-time and major Studio Musician who has left this planet , the fine guitarist, BILL PITMAN at 102. We did many a record date together, and he was one of the best for sure. I knew his son Dale a nice fellow who grew up knowing about us all, and was like a son to us all in a way also. We worked hard for our kids during those busy 60s.
Bill was always a fine fellow studio musician who was always excellent, causing us to laugh many times at the sometimes-inanity of it all, gritty humor that should have gotten him his own TV show! After early years 1950s working with the fine Dave Pell Jazz Octet, he did studio work late 50s on,…..also doing the Dano 6-string Bass Guitar late 50s into early 60s a lot on the dates too, still working with the great 1950s Dave Pell Jazz Octet too…..and later wrote his own small-group arrangements which I published too (Gwyn Publishing Co. Inc.) in the 1970s. Bill had a long and flourishing guitar career first back east, and then out here in Hollywood where he wrote some arrangements also! He also wrote a couple guitar books.
Living a long life, he had broken his back in a fall at 102 and couldn’t recover sadly…..he is missed by the few remaining studio musicians from our era. Sympathy for the Family. Bill, you were always a great musician……and a fine person. He’s here with Herb Alpert:

With heavy heart, I have to announce another long-time and major Studio Musician who has left this planet , the fine…

Posted by Carol Kaye on Saturday, August 13, 2022

And Louie Shelton:

Just saw my old buddy and fellow Wrecking Crew member Bill Pitman passed away. He was one of the very early wrecking crew members, part of Phil Spector’s “wall of sound”, Be My Baby, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling…you wouldn’t have known he played the ukulele on Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head and so many more great records. We sat together on the Glen Campbell “Goodtime Hour” for two years
sharing many “Good Times”. R.I.P. Bill Pitman

Just saw my old buddy and fellow Wrecking Crew member Bill Pitman passed away. He was one of the very early wrecking…

Posted by Louie Shelton on Sunday, August 14, 2022

May Bill Pitman rest in peace.

Bill Pitman, a well-known guitarist, and member of the Wrecking Crew passes (August 11) at 102. As a versatile member…

Posted by Sunset Blvd. Records on Sunday, August 14, 2022

Comments

  • Thomas Filip says:

    his work and rep precedes him. RIP Bill.



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