The Wrecking Crew

The Wrecking Crew

The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-kept Secret

Book - 2012
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Winner of the Oregon Book Award for General Nonfiction and Los Angeles Times bestseller

"It makes good music sound better."-Janet Maslin in The New York Times

"A fascinating look into the West Coast recording studio scene of the '60s and the inside story of the music you heard on the radio. If you always assumed the musicians you listened to were the same people you saw onstage, you are in for a big surprise!"-Dusty Street, host of Classic Vinyl on Sirius XM Satellite Radio

If you were a fan of popular music in the 1960s and early '70s, you were a fan of the Wrecking Crew-whether you knew it or not.

On hit record after hit record by everyone from the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and the Monkees to the Grass Roots, the 5th Dimension, Sonny & Cher, and Simon & Garfunkel, this collection of West Coast studio musicians from diverse backgrounds established themselves in Los Angeles, California as the driving sound of pop music-sometimes over the objection of actual band members forced to make way for Wrecking Crew members. Industry insider Kent Hartman tells the dramatic, definitive story of the musicians who forged a reputation throughout the business as the secret weapons behind the top recording stars.

Mining invaluable interviews, the author follows the careers of such session masters as drummer Hal Blaine and keyboardist Larry Knechtel, as well as trailblazing bassist Carol Kaye-the only female in the bunch-who went on to play in thousands of recording sessions in this rock history. Readers will discover the Wrecking Crew members who would forge careers in their own right, including Glen Campbell and Leon Russell, and learn of the relationship between the Crew and such legends as Phil Spector and Jimmy Webb. Hartman also takes us inside the studio for the legendary sessions that gave us Pet Sounds, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and the rock classic "Layla," which Wrecking Crew drummer Jim Gordon cowrote with Eric Clapton for Derek and the Dominos. And the author recounts priceless scenes such as Mike Nesmith of the Monkees facing off with studio head Don Kirshner, Grass Roots lead guitarist (and future star of The Office ) Creed Bratton getting fired from the group, and Michel Rubini unseating Frank Sinatra's pianist for the session in which the iconic singer improvised the hit-making ending to "Strangers in the Night."

The Wrecking Crew tells the collective, behind-the-scenes stories of the artists who dominated Top 40 radio during the most exciting time in American popular culture.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2012
ISBN: 9780312619749
Branch Call Number: 788.421667 WRE 2012
Characteristics: viii, 292 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm


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Mar 28, 2017

Carol Kaye is my hero!
So it was she that created those unforgettable bass guitar lead-ins for pop, rock and country masterpieces like Sonny and Cher's "The Beat Goes On," the Grass Roots' "Midnight Confessions," and former fellow Crew member Glen Campbell's poignant "Wichita Lineman." A wonderfully entertaining account of a long unsung group of studio musicians known as The Wrecking Crew--Kaye the only woman in the group--whose artistry and crack professionalism made good songs great and great songs hits for artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to The Beach Boys and The Monkees. Highly recommended for anyone curious to know who really made all that classic modern popular music during the fabulous, fertile years of the early sixties through the mid-seventies.

Oct 14, 2016

Watch the movie too. The two together present a great view into 60s and 70s music.

CMLibrary_gjd_0 Jan 07, 2016

Are you a fan of "classic rock"? Did you know many of
those recordings were not performed by the actual artist or group? When
you read Kent Hartman's The Wrecking Crew you will meet the unknown
players who turned out some of the era's most well known and well
loved songs. Turns out it was cheaper and easier to keep the actual group
out on the road and let some "professionals" do the heavy
lifting in the recording studio. Glen Campbell is the most well known
member of this group, but not the most talented. Meet this rag-tag team of
musicians who made the older session players mad; as in: "they're wrecking our music business."

Sep 18, 2013

Wow, amazing stories. Hartman does a masterful job telling about this important part of rock and roll history. Read it, but have YouTube or iPod handy to listen to the music discussed in the book.

Aug 05, 2013

History books should be this interesting. What a great inside look behind the rock and roll.

May 20, 2013

Bait and Switch
Boomers were baited & switched repeatedly by the folks in this book.

Phil Spector being told he had no future as a jazz guitarist because he "lacked meter" raises the question "was his obsession with his Wall of Sound caused by his lack of meter?" The 'WOS' was about volume and density. Maybe Phil needed that Wall of Sound to feel the beat?

This book names names. I wasn't surprised.

Aug 16, 2012

Excellent read! A real "Who knew?!"
story. Nicely crafted to keep you in the "groove", so to speak. Copy the list of Hits at the back, find them on iTunes, load them on your player and treat yourself to some real great pre-golden age of rock and roll music.

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