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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Wrecking Crew Movie


Three years ago, I wrote about Kent Hartman's biography of The Wrecking Crew, the studio musicians who played on thousands of hit records in the 1960s and 1970s. At the time, Denny Tedesco -- whose father Tommy was one of the leads guitar players in the crew -- had also made a movie about the group, but except for a couple of film festivals, it hadn't seen the light of day because of royalty and music clearance concerns.

Fortunately, Tedesco either came up with the money to satisfy the rights owners or made deals with them so that his movie could finally be released earlier this year. I saw it in a theater and loved it, but forgot to write about it here. Stuart Snyder emailed me yesterday to say that "The Wrecking Crew" is now streaming and on DVD, he enjoyed it a lot, and wondered why it wasn't on my Movies You Might Not Know list.

That oversight has been rectified today.

The movie is full of great stories from the musicians and many of the stars, producers, and record executives they played with. One of my favorites is from Herb Alpert, who used The Wrecking Crew in the studio and another band for his live tours. Those touring musicians would occasionally come into the studio while Alpert was recording new songs with The Wrecking Crew so they could learn the parts they'd have to play on the road. At one point, the touring guitarist pleaded with Tommy Tedesco not to make the guitar part so complex because he couldn't recreate those licks in concert.

For music lovers, "The Wrecking Crew" is as important a documentary as "Standing In The Shadows Of Motown" (about The Funk Brothers who played on all of that label's huge hits), "Muscle Shoals" (about the Alabama studio musicians who played with Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, and more), and "Twenty Feet From Stardom" (about Darlene Love and other famous backup singers).

I have added those to my MYMNK list, as well.