Hal Willner (born 1957, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American music producer working in recording, films, TV and live events. He is best known for assembling tribute albums and events featuring a wide variety of artists and musical styles (jazz, classical, rock, Tin Pan Alley). His first tribute album was Amarcord Nino Rota in 1981.
In the late 1970s he worked under record producer Joel Dorn, credited as Associate Producer on Leon Redbone’s albums Double Time and Champagne Charlie, and The Neville Brothers’ Fiyo on the Bayou. Willner was music supervisor of Saturday Night Live from 1981–1990, occasionally returning in subsequent years. He was also a producer of the TV program Sunday Night hosted by David Sanborn.
Willner has produced albums for Marianne Faithfull, Lou Reed, Bill Frisell, William S. Burroughs, Gavin Friday, Lucinda Williams, Laurie Anderson and Allen Ginsberg, among others. He produced a live tribute concert to Tim Buckley, that ultimately launched the career of Tim’s son Jeff. He has released one album under his own name: Whoops, I’m an Indian, which featured audio samples from 78 rpm records from the early-mid 20th century.
In January 2010 Willner produced the pirate-themed concert event Rogue’s Gallery for the 2009 Sydney Festival. The mulitnational cast included Marianne Faithfull, Todd Rundgren (who had contributed to Willner’s Thelonious Monk tribute album), Tim Robbins, Gavin Friday, Peter Garrett, Baby Gramps, David Thomas, Sarah Blasko, Katy Steele, Peaches, Glenn Richards, Liam Finn, Camille O’Sullivan, Kami Thompson and Marry Waterson