The Wrecking Crew!


Action / Documentary / Music


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August 12, 2015 at 01:29 PM



Cher as Herself
Frank Sinatra as Himself
Adam West as Batman
Dean Martin as Himself
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810.03 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 35 min
P/S 3 / 8
1.65 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 35 min
P/S 1 / 25

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by David Ferguson ([email protected]) 8 / 10

Good Vibrations

Greetings again from the darkness. The music business has always been a bit of a mystery – not just to the average record buyer, but even to those within the industry. History is filled with singers, band members, and songwriters missing out on the pot of gold due to slick legal maneuvering from some less-than-upstanding agent, producer or label. This documentary details the prolific recordings from a core group of studio musicians responsible for the sounds heard as rock and roll music exploded on the scene … their stellar performances marketed to the public as the work of popular bands.

Lest you think this is limited to an obscure genre or style of music, the two dozen (or so) musicians known as The Wrecking Crew were responsible for the album music for such groups and performers as The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, The Righteous Brothers, Elvis Presley, The Mamas and the Papas, Sonny and Cher, Sam Cooke, The Byrds, and The Monkees. And we can't leave out Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" which dominated the charts for years. Director Denny Tedesco set out to make a documentary short about his father, guitarist extraordinaire Tommy Tedesco, but quickly realized the story was much bigger than just his dad.

In addition to the very talented (and funny) Tedesco, we get interviews with such talented musicians as Hal Blaine, Earl Palmer, Don Randi, Al Casey, Pals Johnson (The Pink Panther sax soloist), Carol Kaye, and Bill Pittman. There is also insight from producers Lou Adler and Snuff Garrett, American Bandstand's Dick Clark, songwriter Jimmy Webb, plus icon Herb Alpert. Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork explain the business rationale in having the professionals take care of the recordings, while Roger McGinnis spills the beans that other members of The Byrds (including David Crosby) were pretty miffed at the process.

The personal importance of telling this story is quite obvious in the work of the director, and is especially clear in the segments featuring his father. In addition to the popular music he was involved with, the senior Tedesco's work is heard in such well-known TV themes as Bonanza, MASH, Batman, and The Twilight Zone … plus many movie scores. Archival footage is available for Q&A roundtables and some of the seminar work Tedesco did in the later stages of his career (he passed away in 1997). There is also footage of Phil Spector working in the studio, and some audio from Frank Sinatra as he works on recording, and early Brian Wilson creating the magic of Pet Sounds with the Wrecking Crew.

Glen Campbell and Leon Russell are the two big breakout performers from this group of studio musicians and both speak so highly of these unpublicized artists. Their interviews, and that of Dick Clark, highlight the confusion of timeline in the making of the film. It began making festival rounds in 2008 before running the age old issue of "musical rights" brought distribution to a screeching halt. So now, in 2015, the film is finally getting some theatre time, and with it comes the recognition and appreciation that is long overdue for the members of this very secret club … few of whom seem to hold any type of grudge. They were just happy to make a living doing what they love.

This film instantly becomes one of four documentaries highly recommended for those who want to better understand the music biz. Group it with Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002), Muscle Shoals (2013), and Oscar winner Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013) to form an 8 hour education and history of popular music over the past three generations.

**NOTE: Kent Hartman released a book entitled "The Wrecking Crew" that provides additional detail; however, it is not affiliated with Denny Tedesco's film.

Reviewed by Ken Heath ([email protected]) 10 / 10

Amazing And Long Overdue...

Denny Tedesco has captured an era that will never be duplicated in musical history with personal insights and an unconditional love that only a child of music could accomplish.

I was fortunate enough to see it at a press screening at the NAMM convention 2011, this documentary deserves to be seen by everyone who's ever listened to the music of the 60's & 70's... go to the website and buy a shirt or something so they can finally pay the royalties and get cleared to release the DVD to the public!

The interviews and personal anecdotes bring out secrets and nuances that would've been lost to the world if not for this documentary, it will surely open the eyes of the general public about how the music industry and specifically the hit-making-machine works. These virtually unknown musicians were geniuses in their fields and contributed more to our culture than some of the "stars" they played behind!

For someone like me who's earliest recollections in life involved this music, watching this documentary was a deeply moving experience. A magical glimpse into a secret place where I was privy to the behind-the-scenes labors and commeraderie of greatness.


Reviewed by johno-21 10 / 10

You'll Have A Good Time

I saw this at a special screening last year in Palm Springs. Director Denny Tedesco was on hand for an audience Q&A following the film with Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine. Also on hand at the screening were Wrecking Crew guitarist Bill Pitman and movie mogul Jerry Weintraub. This film was conceived by director Tedesco as a 30 minute documentary featuring four of the members of LA's legendary studio musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew." Dozens of key musicians made up the crew during the decade of the 1960's as they provided the music for almost all the legendary recordings coming out of the Los Angeles recording studios during that wonderful era of music history. Tedesco arranged a round table discussion of their remembrances of that time with his father, guitarist Tommy Tedesco and fellow recording sidemen and women Carol Kaye, Plas Johnson and Hal Blaine. One thing leads to another and Tedesco found so much material was being covered that he needed to expand further and include more interviews with other musicians. This led to more archival interviews to supplement that, more music to add to the soundtrack and archival footage on film and from stills. This turned into a delightfully entertaining and thoroughly informative documentary that is a must see for anyone weather they lived in that decade or not because the songs live on are the part of the soundtrack of America itself. Look for interviews by Herb Alpert, Dick Clark, Cher, Glen Campbell, Frank Zappa, Nancy Sinatra, Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork, Jimmy Webb, Bones Howe, Snuff Garett, Larry Knechtel, Lew McCreary, Larry Levine, Don Randi, Bill Pitman, Joe Osborne, Julius Wechter, H.B. Barnum, Lou Adler, Al Casey, Brian Wilson, Earl Palmer and many more. A monumental soundtrack featuring over 100 1960's classics. Micki Stern had the difficult but enjoyable task of Music Supervisor for the film and Bob Branow was the sound re-recording mixer. Denny Tedesco directs with cinematography by Trish Govoni, Rodney Taylor and Vincent E. Toto. Claire Scanlon does a masterful job of editing all this material. Just a wonderful film and a must see. As a documentary I would give this a 10 out of 10 and highly recommend it. You'll have a good time.

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