Friday, March 20, 2015

Film Review: The Wrecking Crew - A Documentary for the Ages



I have loved music all of my days, so I was familiar with the term - The Wrecking Crew. Over the last year or so, I've heard several references to the documentary of the same name. The 1:40 film finally opened this week and what a blissful near two hours of entertainment it is.

The music industry has changed drastically in the last 20 years, let alone over the course of the last 40, 50, 60 to 70 years. The film chronicles a group of session musicians who were instrumental in the recording studios of some of the most famous; and also for some of the one-hit wonders that would serve up hit songs.

The film, The Wrecking Crew tells the phenomenal story of these musicians in a loving and funny way. These musicians played on records by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, The Beach Boys, The Monkees, The Partridge Family, Sonny & Cher, The Mamas and the Papas, The Fifth Dimension, The Carpenters, John Denver, The Grass Roots, The Association and the list could keep going...

The film provides moving portraits of about a dozen of the mostly men who comprised this group of musicians who played on rock and pop songs/albums, motion picture soundtracks, television theme songs and commercial jingles. Blacks and whites are represented and there was one woman (Carol Kaye) who was so accepted that it dispels a few myths along the way. Carol Kaye has been lauded as one of the best bass guitarists in recorded music history.

The film was in the making for nearly two decades and the mastermind behind the film is the son of one of the film's musicians, Tommy Tedesco. Some well known and wealthy people are listed as executive producers, so clearly some of the film's funding came from these people and thank God for that. This film is not to be missed. The film was completed in 2008, but Danny Tedesco took that long to get the money to secure the rights to the 110 songs you hear in the film. Music licensing is complicated and expensive. That's why you rarely, if ever, see old music specials and programs on television. It's too expensive to air them.

The Wrecking Crew is a film about talented people who were little known to the Joe's and Mary's on planet earth, but very well known to music industry executives, songwriters and singers.The film is also about friendship and a fantastic work ethic.

A large contingent of big names are all over the documentary, including a few now deceased people (Dick Clark - who was always a treat to listen to), a very sick man (Glen Campbell) and  remembrances from Cher, Herb Albert, Lou Adler, Brian Wilson, Nancy Sinatra and a long list of others.

Do not pass go. Watch The Wrecking Crew. This is one of the most entertaining and infotaining films you will ever see. It is available on Comcast and AT&T via On Demand. You can purchase the DVD on Amazon.com or at Best Buy.

Copyright Read On Read Now 2015