Bill Pitman, guitarist with the legendary Wrecking Crew, has died aged 102

Bill Pitman
Bill Hitman (right) with trumpeter Herb Alpert (Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The guitarist Bill Pitman passed way on 11 August at the age of 102. He was part of the legendary group of top US session musicians The Wrecking Crew who played on thousands of recordings in the 1960s, often uncredited for their work.

The New York Times confirmed Pitman passed away on Thursday at his home in La Quinta, California. No cause of death has yet been revealed, but the guitarist recently fractured his spine in a fall, and had spent the last few weeks recovering from the accident.

Pitman's playing features on some of the biggest hits of all-time including The Ronettes' Be My Baby and The Beach Boys' Wouldn't It Be Nice from Pet Sounds. 

He is also credited for the distinctive ukulele on Burt Bacharach's Oscar-winning Rainbows Keep Falling On My Head that was recorded by BJ Reynolds and featured in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid.

After his work as part of the Wrecking Crew Pitman worked on many scores for film and television, including the Star Trek series, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Dirty Dancing and Goodfellas.

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.