Hal Willner, music producer and longtime sketch songwriter for Saturday Night Live, has died on his birthday of coronavirus.
Willner served as sketch music producer for SNL for nearly two decades, first joining in 1981. His Twitter bio joked at how long he’d been with the show, describing him as a,
“so-called Music Producer & Saturday Night Live sketch music guy since Raging Bull debuted, Another One Bites the Dust a hit & Kim Kardashian was born. Oy Vey.”
Willner was also known for producing albums such as Lost in the Stars, a tribute to Kurt Weil and the Disney song album Stay Awake that featured songs interpreted by artists like Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, Natalie Merchant, Sun Ra, Sinéad O’Connor, James Taylor, Suzanne Vega and Ringo Starr.
He produced albums for Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams, Laurie Anderson, Allen Ginsberg, and more. One of the last things posted by Hal was the news that his friend Marianne Faithfull had tested positive for coronavirus.