The Wrecking Crew! Directed by Denny Tedesco (Magnolia Pictures, Lunch Box Entertainment, 2015)
At the beginning of this music documentary film, we see news clips noting the passing of guitarist Tommy Tedesco. The theme of these broadcasts is that you may never have heard of the name Tommy Tedesco, but you have most certainly heard him. Tedesco was a member of a group of go-to L.A. studio musicians in the 1960s, known to rock historians as “The Wrecking Crew.”
Among Tedesco’s compatriots were guitarists Glen Campbell, Al Casey, and Bill Pitman; pianists Leon Russell and Don Randi; bassists Carol Kaye and Joe Osborn; saxophonist Plas Johnson; and drummer Hal Blaine. When pop music was dominated by hit singles (45 rpm records), The Wrecking Crew reigned, providing instrumentals on recordings by The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Association, The Mamas and the Papas, Sonny and Cher, The Righteous Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Nat King Cole, The Monkeys, and others.
The film features interviews with members of The Wrecking Crew and some of the artists they backed — Brian Wilson, Cher, Nancy Sinatra, etc. It comes in a two DVD set with hours of bonus material on their L.A. recording sessions. Composer Jimmy Webb gets it just right: “They were the stone-cold, rock and roll professionals and there may never, ever be a group of rock and roll musicians of that caliber again.”