California Dreaming. Good Vibrations. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling. Be My Baby. These are some of the most enduring & memorable songs of the rock era. But who really played on those records? A group of wonderful artists that became known as The Wrecking Crew, who were vital to the creation of these now classic songs. During the 50s & 60s, as rock & roll was on the rise, it was common practice to have session musicians lay down the studio tracks, and then the actual bands would play the songs on tour. Now, an engrossing documentary traces the history of these supremely talented musicians. The film features insightful, revealing & entertaining interviews with drummers Hal Blaine & Earl Palmer, bassist Carol Kaye, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, and other members of this amazing cadre of players. There are also comments from Roger McGuinn, Brian Wilson, Micky Dolenz, Nancy Sinatra, Cher, Dick Clark and many others.
The movie has fascinating behind the scenes footage of The Wrecking Crew at work in the studio, and some great vintage performance clips. This is an elite group of musicians who were not mere sidemen, but helped come up with the sound & feel of well-remembered songs & albums such as The Beach Boys classic Pet Sounds. In fact, the segments on the sessions with Brian Wilson are some of the best in the film. It’s also a fascinating look at the Los Angeles based side of the recording industry during those halcyon days of the rock era. In addition, you get to see the members of the “crew” who went on to become stars in their own right, including Glenn Campbell & Leon Russell. Denny Tedesco, the son of iconic guitarist Tommy Tedesco, who passed away in 1997, directed the film. It's a wonderful & loving tribute to his father, as well as the rest of these fine musicians who helped provide the soundtrack of our lives.
If you’re a classic rock fan who has enjoyed other films about this era, such as Standing In The Shadows of Motown, 20 Feet From Stardom or Muscle Shoals, then this is essential viewing. It’s a compelling & powerful story that will really resonate with you. And it’s a unique & absorbing look at the creative process, detailing how music was recorded & produced back then. These artists weren’t just there for this era of rock history; they helped make that history. They’re the unsung heroes of rock & roll, and their stories really are worth seeing & hearing. The Wrecking Crew is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and for digital streaming on sites such as Netflix. Here’s a link to the film’s trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX5BCgmr7tg. By the way, you can also see The Wrecking Crew depicted in the current Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy, starring Paul Dano & John Cusack, which is also recommended. You can read my review of that film here: http://jveclectic.blogspot.com/2015/06/love-mercy-genius-of-brian-wilson.html.