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August 03, 2016

The Wrecking Crew!

The Wrecking CrewThe Wrecking Crew! (DVD)

If you know the recordings of Elvis, The Righteous Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, The Byrds, Ricky Nelson, The Beach Boys, Nat King Cole, The Monkees, Sonny & Cher, or The Mamas & the Papas, then you know The Wrecking Crew.

The Wrecking Crew were a loose group of independent session musicians who frequently worked together for the Los Angeles recording studios, providing the instrumental accompaniment on thousands of recordings. Bands usually played their own instruments on stage, but in the recording studio, producers often used these session musicians who were known for their professionalism, precise musicianship, ability to play multiple genres and instruments, and a certain flair for improvisation.

Filmmaker Denny Tedesco’s father was legendary guitarist and Wrecking Crew member Tommy Tedesco, and the documentary feels more intimate than if it had been made by someone else. The documentary features dozens of fascinating interviews with Wrecking Crew members as well as artists, producers, and arrangers who discuss the 1950s-1970s music business, play some of their most famous instrumental parts, and provide plenty of juicy gossip. Even the deleted scenes and bonus interviews, which I usually skip on other DVDs, are well worth watching.

For more on the Wrecking Crew, try the recently-released Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy (starring John Cusack and Paul Dano), much of which focuses on the recording of The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album and prominently features several Wrecking Crew members.

Review By:  Julia Welzen