The working habits of creative genius/songwriter Brian Wilson during his original tenure with The Beach Boys are the stuff of legend. He’d often compose all the material alone, and when his musical scope grew à la 1966’s Pet Sounds
, he stopped touring to focus exclusively on producing the recordings without any help or input from his bandmates. Phil Spector had a similarly relentless attitude in the studio. A musical mastermind, he dipped his fingers into every part of the recording process, developing the trademark “Wall of Sound” production techniques that revolutionized the industry.
Not so well-known are the session musicians who helped both men execute their visions, and also backed other big-name singers and groups on thousands of other recordings that came out of LA from the mid-1950s through the early ’70s: The Wrecking Crew.
Though generally not credited with any of the work they did, a few — Leon Russell, Glen Campbell and Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John — went on to have successful solo careers after their Wrecking Crew days. Others you’ve probably never heard of, like prolific beat-keeper Hal Blaine, mistress of low-end frequencies Carol Kaye, and late jazz-trained axeman Tommy Tedesco, father of the filmmaker behind The Wrecking Crew
documentary, which took nearly two decades to produce and sees its premiere in Tampa Bay on Friday.
A truly great doc enlightens with new information, entertains with great stories and memorable interviews from both known and unknown subjects, reveals just the right amount of never-before-seen archival footage and photos, and evokes a sense of poignancy and nostalgia. Denny Tedesco’s thoughtfully rendered homage to the legacy of his late father and the Wrecking Crew manages all of these things.