The Continuing Saga of the Crappy Airline and the Doctor Who Was a Jackass | Main | Wednesday Overnight Open Thread (4/12/17) It's Good To Be Home Edition
April 12, 2017

Movie Review: The Wrecking Crew [Warden]

Those of you who grew up listening to pop and rock and roll in the mid 60's through the 70's might be surprised to know that almost none of the artists you followed played on their own albums.

Just about every popular musical group back then, from the Beach Boys to Elvis, relied on session musicians for their song recordings, the best of which was a group of 10-20 (depending on who you ask) session players known as The Wrecking Crew.

This band of industry legends was led by guitarist, Tommy Tedesco. His son, Denny, produced and directed the 2015 documentary, The Wrecking Crew, based mostly on past and recent interviews from its members. He began work on the film in 1995 after his father was diagnosed with cancer. It was a struggle for Denny Tedesco to secure the necessary music licensing for his film, but with help from a Kickstarter campaign, he was finally able to release it.

Denny Tedesco is not an experienced filmmaker, but his project is clearly a work of love. The musicians he interviews are almost unknown to the public--most of their work was never credited--but collectively they influenced the industry more than any single famous musical artist or group of the period.

Prior to The Wrecking Crew's emergence, albums were primarily recorded in New York City. Once rock and roll came along, the landscape shifted and the scene moved to California. The older session players hated rock and roll and refused to play it, as they considered it beneath their ability. The younger musicians who would eventually make up the Wrecking Crew saw the new genre as an opportunity and a foothold into a hyper competitive industry. In the course of the documentary you can tell that none of them really love the style--one mentions he could play that stuff at 16 years old without much of a challenge--but they seem more amused by it than resentful of it.

One theme that runs throughout the film is how much these artists shaped the music the public came to love. All of them could sight read and knock out albums of any style in just a few hours of recording time, but their real genius was in helping to produce the sound. Sometimes the studio would just give the session musicians a rough idea of what they wanted and left it to the guys to sort out the intros, hooks and arrangements.

An artist that you will recognize in this documentary is the Beach Boys', Brian Wilson. He worked extensively with The Wrecking Crew in recording in the highly acclaimed and revolutionary album, Pet Sounds.

Personally, I've never been a fan of the Beach Boys. God only knows why Paul McCartney claimed that "God Only Knows" is the greatest song ever written. To me, it's the auditory equivalent of pouring a cup of honey covered sugar into your mouth, then chasing it with a shot of maple syrup.

At any rate, Wilson is a worthwhile addition to an enjoyable film. Cher is also featured. I wish Tedesco had found a few more well known artists and producers to help balance the film, but that's just nitpicking. Overall it's a solid ride.

For those who are interested in this topic, there's an entire museum in Nashville that's dedicated to session musicians.

The Wrecking Crew can be found on Netflix.

Correction: I am told that the lead singer of the Beach Boys was, in fact, Brian Wilson and not Brian Williams as previously stated. We apologize for the error. Brian Williams, of course, was the lead vocalist for the Beatles up until joining the Green Berets to serve in Vietnam.

digg this
posted by Open Blogger at 08:55 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
FenelonSpoke: "Nancy Pelosi is 81. ..."

IC: "Manchin would be perfect in the GOPs - a spineless ..."

Braenyard: "Now's the time ..."

Helena Handbasket: ">>> 83 Does anyone here deal with short term truck ..."

Brother Northernlurker just another guy : "What is Pelosi, 102? And this is what it takes to ..."

Working for Peanuts: "[i] You know, this whole situation wouldn't have b ..."

PJ: "Sure, "we have to get it done," and that will be y ..."

Sponge - Michael Byrd MURDERED Ashli Babbitt: "[i] You are going to need CDL A drivers too. Pos ..."

Huma: "[i]the infernal regions. Posted by: Xipe Totec at ..."

Stu Podaso: "Pelosi won't resign. Someone will either have to ..."

Lrrr: "Good thing Mitch agreed to raise the debt ceiling, ..."

The Central Scrutinizer: "95 Sweet, Senate shifts to rep control where they ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64