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THE WRECKING CREW (2015) ***

The Wrecking Crew tells the tale of a group of unsung Los Angeles studio musicians who singlehandedly shaped popular music for an entire generation. Musicians like Tommy Tedesco, Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, and Glen Campbell were hired by record labels to record with their clients (or in some cases, instead of their clients) in order to obtain the best sound possible. Phil Spector used them for his famous “Wall of Sound” which revolutionized the sound of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and Brian Wilson virtually replaced The Beach Boys with them when he recorded Pet Sounds.

In some cases, The Wrecking Crew recorded the songs themselves and THEN a group was formed to go out and perform the material. (This was long before Milli Vanilli.) In other cases, the band members were unable to recreate live what the Crew had done in the studio because they just didn’t have the chops. People like Dick Clark are interviewed and explain that this is basically how the music business was run at the time and the original Crew members basically say (with pride) that really, they were just doing their job.

There are some really cool moments in the film. I really liked the parts where a musician will do a guitar riff or a drum beat and then the filmmakers drop in the rest of the song. When you realize the sheer amount of songs these musicians played on, it’s staggering. Although I do wish they got a bit more into the television side of things (Tedesco played the guitar riff on the Batman theme song), this is a knowledgeable and entertaining documentary that gives these talented musicians their long-deserved due.

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