Herb Alpert & Bill Pitman
Herb Alpert & Bill Pitman | Image: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Bill Pitman, Wrecking Crew Guitarist, Dies Aged 102

Bill Pitman, the US guitarist famed for his work as part of the legendary Wrecking Crew, has passed away at the age of 102. According to a report from The New York Times, Pitman passed away under hospice care at his home in California, just weeks after fracturing his spine in a fall.

Born in New Jersey in 1920, Pitman was an avid music fan from a young age, deciding to become a professional musician at the age of five. After playing in numerous bands throughout the ’40s, Pitman began his professional career in 1951, taking on the role of lead guitarist in Peggy Lee’s band.

Bill Pitman can be heard on iconic tracks such as B.J. Thomas’ ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head’:

Towards the end of the ’50s, Pitman was recruited by producer Phil Spector to be the guitarist for a group of session musicians Spector had constructed. By the start of the 1960s, this loose group of musicians had taken on the name The Wrecking Crew, serving as the de facto house band for Spector and going on to become one of the most prolific and celebrated musical groups in history.

Playing alongside the likes of drummer Hal Blaine, keyboardist Leon Russell, guitarist Glen Campbell, bassist Max Bennett, and a revolving cast of many other studio musicians, Pitman and The Wrecking Crew were responsible for approximately 140 top ten hits in the US, including The Beach Boys’ ‘I Get Around’, Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin”, and Sonny & Cher’s ‘I Got You Babe’.

Pitman also performed on recordings by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, and Herb Alpert, as well as B.J. Thomas’ ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head’, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song following its use in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid.

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