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The Wrecking Crew (2008)

7.9
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A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby.

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A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby.

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11 March 2008 (USA)  »

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Stunning documentary that's long overdue
19 March 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Imagine if every hit song of the late 50s, 60s, 70s, and even into the 80s was performed by one band. Ridiculous, huh? Well, guess what? It's closer to reality than you may think. I attended the World Premiere of "The Wrecking Crew" at the 2008 SXSW Film Festival and I was so moved by it that it's hard to contain my enthusiasm for this stunning documentary.

Denny Tedesco chronicles the musical history laid down by his legendary late father Tommy, as well as Hal Blaine and Don Randi (who were present for a Q&A afterward), Carol Kaye, Al Casey, Earl Palmer, Plas Johnson, Joe Osborn, and the dozens of others who sat in on the recordings. Known informally as The Wrecking Crew, these session musicians played on so many hit songs that it could be said they had a larger role to play in the culture of the last 50 years than any other group of people in the world. You may not have heard their names, but you've heard their music.

The list of artists whose songs they backed up is amazing: The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Association, Glen Campbell, The Mamas & Papas, The Monkees, Richard Harris, The 5th Dimension, Sam Cooke, Sonny and Cher, Captain and Tennille, The Righteous Brothers, Simon and Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Ike and Tina Turner, Nancy Sinatra, The Carpenters, Tommy Roe, The Ronettes, Paul Revere and The Raiders, and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, to name a few. The Wrecking Crew played on almost all their hit songs. To look at the list is to hear the soundtrack of your life, whether you're 15 or 85 -- you know these songs.

"The Wrecking Crew" was so lovingly made. And the fact that Tedesco got the clearances which gave him the rights to include the music in the film is a tribute to the industry's love and respect for these musicians. It goes without saying that the soundtrack is, without a doubt, the greatest of any film I've ever seen. It has to be, after all. These are the songs we've been listening to fondly for 50 years. I had the chance to sit down with Blaine and Randi after the screening and hear some of their incredible stories. For example, not only are both in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but their contribution to Grammy history is groundbreaking. Blaine played on seven Records of the Year, including an incredible run of six in a row back in the 1960s. That would be unheard of today. It's a feat that was never equaled, not before or since.

No matter what your age, if you have ever listened to music I can guarantee you "The Wrecking Crew" will touch you as few films have. To say that this film is long overdue would be an incredible understatement. It's hard to imagine anyone alive today who hasn't been affected by the people who are profiled in this documentary. There's even a good chance you wouldn't be here if not for the music of The Wrecking Crew. Ponder that.


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