Tuesday evening at the screening for The Wrecking Crew Movie at Skye in Peoria, Arizona, a sold out crowd became familiar with the names of Tommy Tedesco, Don Randi, Carol Kaye, Hal Blaine, Earl Palmer, Plas Johnson, Glen Campbell (before he became a singer), Al Casey, and many others.
As the film showed, even the musicians had conflicting numbers as to how many peers were in the group. What is indisputable, is the staggering amount of hits these 20 (or so) guitarists, drummers, keyboardists, and wind players recorded in the 60’s and 70’s. Hits by The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Phil Spector, Simon and Garfunkel, Sonny and Cher, Frank Sinatra, The Byrds, The Association, Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass, Dean Martin, The Fifth Dimension, The Captain And Tennille, The Partridge Family, The Monkees, The Righteous Brothers, Nancy Sinatra, and so many more.
The music throughout the 99 minute film was so familiar for everyone in attendance, with hit after hit after hit. And it was great to see the late Dick Clark on screen talking about the importance of The Wrecking Crew in an interview Danny filmed prior to Dick’s stroke in 2004. (God bless you Danny for getting so much of this recorded while the artists were still with us!) The movie covered the soundtrack of an entire generation, and it was apparent the crowd soaked it up like the warmth of a perfect summer day. But the film, which was completed in 2008 and has won over 50 awards at various film festivals around the world, isn’t available to see, except at special screenings. Nor is it available on DVD.
First an explanation of why The Wrecking Crew story needed to be told. This was a group of those (mostly) unknown session musicians, who played on hit sessions for the big hit making names we heard on the radio for well over a decade.
KOOL FM Interview with The Wrecking Crew Part 1
The movie is their story of these session musicians who made the music, but didn’t get the credit. It was an obvious labor of love for producer/director Denny Tedesco, who’s father was legendary session guitarist Tommy Tedesco. When Tommy was diagnosed with cancer in 1996 the impetus for the film began.
KOOL FM Interview with The Wrecking Crew Part 2
As Danny told the crowd:
“A few months later I thought, you know what, I should do something and put together a round table between him and Hal Blaine, Plias Johnson, and Carol Kaye, and they say around a round table in the studio. I call it the quartet without instruments. It was based on a little of Barry Levinson’s Diner, and Woody Allen’s Danny Rose. My favorite movies are when people just sit around and banter.”
KOOL FM Interview with The Wrecking Crew Part 3
Stu Evans asked them about The Monkeys and we got an earful. The Wrecking Crew made their records!
KOOL FM Interview with The Wrecking Crew Part 4
The Wrecking Crew’s Drummer, Hal Blaine on Elvis:
“Elvis was a great guy… There is so much more to tell, I guess. People ask, How could you let that happen to Elvis. It happens. There’s nothing you could do about. Elvis was the King and was treated like it.”
KOOL FM Interview with The Wrecking Crew Part 5
Judging from the reaction of the sold out crowd at the screening at Skye, it was great banter indeed.
– Steve Goddard and Jason Pawlik, 94.5 KOOL FM