R.I.P Hal Willner – 06/04/1956 – 07/04/2020

The music producer and long-term Saturday Night Live music supervisor Hal Willner has died aged 64. Marianne and Hal met back in 1982 and remained close friends, working together on many, many different projects over the years, including several of Marianne’s most important albums. Their professional association began in 1985 when he produced her comeback recording of ‘Ballad Of The Soldier’s Wife’ for his Kurt Weill tribute album Lost In The Stars, this led in 1987 to their collaboration on her masterpiece covers album Strange Weather – her first studio album since A Child’s Adventure in 1983 . They were reunited in 1990 when he produced her live album Blazing Away recorded at St Anne’s in Brooklyn. They worked in the studio again in 2004 on three songs for Marianne’s landmark album Before the Poison and in 2008 he produced her double album of covers called Easy Come Easy Go. Their final collaboration was on her 2010 album Horses and High Heels.
Metallica seemed to describe Willner so succinctly as “someone who through his unique combination of musical knowledge and warm personality, invigorated every project he touched.” Rest in peace.

Marianne Faithfull, Hal Willner and Harry Smith at Naropa Institute, Boulder Colorado July 1989.