Blaine began drumming in Chicago strip clubs, eventually joining Count Basie's big band and touring with Patti Page and Tommy Sands.
As a session drummer with the Wrecking Crew (which essentially began as a house band for Phil Spector), Blaine recorded prolifically throughout the 1960s and '70s, appearing on thousands of records.
Blaine popularized the group's name in his 1990 memoir, though the Wrecking Crew also went by names like the Clique and the First Call Gang, according to other members.
Hits that Blaine's drumming appears on include the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson," the Mamas and the Papas' "Monday Monday," the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man," Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations."
It's estimated that he appeared on 35,000 recordings total, including 6,000 singles.
The Wrecking Crew was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2007 and were launched back into the spotlight with a 2008 documentary simply called The Wrecking Crew.
Blaine himself was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a "sideman" in 2000 and was presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.
See some of the tributes from his famous friends, collaborators and admirers below.
God bless Hal Blaine peace and love to all his family Goodbye Hal an incredible musician. 😎✌️🌟❤️☮️— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) March 12, 2019
I'm so sad, I don't know what to say. Hal Blaine was such a great musician and friend that I can't put it into words. Hal taught me a lot, and he had so much to do with our success - he was the greatest drummer ever. We also laughed an awful lot. Love, Brian pic.twitter.com/vLOX3RIKc6— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) March 11, 2019
I am deeply saddened about the passing of drummer, Hal Blaine. Hal played drums on the soundtrack of our lives for many of us... Worth reading: An Interview with Hal Blaine | Modern Drummer Magazine https://t.co/1FWoi0bOw2— Micky Dolenz (@TheMickyDolenz1) March 12, 2019
RIP #halblaine So many classic performances.— Richard Marx (@richardmarx) March 12, 2019
Here's a list of the records Hal Blaine played on. Incredible! https://t.co/CQxXCHR28Y— Eric Carmen (@RealEricCarmen) March 12, 2019
RIP Hal Blaine, member of the wrecking crew and one of the most talented and prolific drummers to ever live. pic.twitter.com/rSmRLbeRYi— Margo Price (@MissMargoPrice) March 12, 2019
Our condolences to the family of #HalBlaine, drummer extraordinaire in the Wrecking Crew who played on many Beach Boys tracks, including "Good Vibrations," "I Get Around," "Help Me, Rhonda" & more. Love and mercy x https://t.co/SV3SCnWZ9j— The Beach Boys (@TheBeachBoys) March 11, 2019
RIP The amazing drummer Hal Blaine RS https://t.co/2pEebaPyRV— Ron Sexsmith (@RonSexsmith) March 12, 2019
Saddenned to learn of Hal Blaine's passing today. As a member of the Wrecking Crew with Glen, Hal played on "Galveston," "Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife," and "Where's The Playground Susie" to name a few. RIP Hal. https://t.co/1YlpLK9T8j pic.twitter.com/z7xmAGO8jM— Glen Campbell (@GlenCampbell) March 12, 2019
RIP Hal Blaine.— Steve Lukather (@stevelukather) March 11, 2019
There will never be another...
Google the hits he played on !!
Here is a tribute to my dear friend and Drummer Man, Hal Blaine. Godspeed, Hal. 💔 https://t.co/3HgAyX2u9V— Nancy Sinatra (@NancySinatra) March 11, 2019
Hal Blaine the master RIP— Peter Frampton (@peterframpton) March 11, 2019