Virtually no one recognizes the names of the musicians collectively known as “The Wrecking Crew.” Oversimplifying, if the music-buying public saw these same few names credited on thousands of songs, it would have been too embarrassing.
This pool of studio musicians – the instrumentalists recording the music for popular distribution – worked with everybody. Many a famous band wasn’t so famous before The Wrecking Crew accomplished in 3 hours studio time what would take such bands 3 weeks to record. Many a famous singer became more famous because of the way The Wrecking Crew could turn a slate of songs into an album in one day.
Indeed, The Wrecking Crew invariably added licks or guided whole arrangements because their musical training and capability helped assure a developing thing called rock n roll. See the documentary “The Wrecking Crew” to be astounded by a huge sampling – just a sampling, mind you – of their range throughout the 1960s plus a good bit of the 50s and 70s. Not incidentally, they were the studio musicians for hundreds of movies, television shows, and commercials.
The film falls short in the way many historical sweeps do at the movies. It’s pretty much a nonstop cram with only glimpses at back stories and side stories or human arcs. No matter. The nonstop hit parade dabs together a familiarity into an eye-opening underpinning of an era.
Although the film exposes how common it was back then for a band not to be the ones playing on the record, it also lets on that that was how to make the music machine better and bigger. It allows that such an era of injustice was more about what (arguably) led The Righteous Brothers to the most frequently played radio hit in history than it was about righteousness. It affords that the way these people made a durn good living meant “you never say no unless you’re too busy to saying yes.”
These guys (there was one women and she totally held her own), these guys worked all the time, as in they loved doing it. These guys – count them, 8 to 10, maybe 15 to 20 one way or another – these guys weren’t about the who’s who. They were about the getting in, getting out, getting it on – time after time after time.