Audie Award Winner, History, 2013
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 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, who went on to play in thousands of recording sessions. Listeners 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.
©2012 Kent Hartman (P)2012 Tantor
"[The Wrecking Crew] has the...potent excitement of a collection of greatest hits. It makes good music sound better." (Janet Maslin, The New York Times)
The Beach Boys were always a mystery to me. I have gone to see them several times, each time they were worse than the last. The voices intermittently hit the mark, but the musicianship would embarrass a 3rd grade band. I wondered how the same people who recorded Pet Sounds could be in front of me with a minimal knowledge of their instruments. Now I know.
This book is good.
Bought this book after watching the documentary and found that it contains many more stories and interesting details than the documentary (which was equally good). Who knew?
I can't think of another book to compare this to - it is unique.
Good voice well paced.
Anyone who likes rock and roll would like this book.
I am a fan of the music from the 60's and the 70's, heck truth told there is just about no music I do not enjoy. So as to not give the "plot Away" too badly it tells the history of how the in studio music was recorded during the heyday of Rock and roll. Touches on the Beach Boys, Phil Spector and an interesting story about Glenn Campbell. it's a must read if you enjoy the ins and outs of Rock and Roll.
Very interesting material, but written and performed as though for sixth graders. A list of these musicians' works would be a welcome addition.
The information of the different bands was fascinating and a real eye opener to the music business in the 60's and 70's. Interesting to find out who controlled the business and the caliber of musicians at that time.
Me the Mob and the music by Tommy James although a different story, studio muscicians played a huge roll in the outcome of the music.
I will view all my rock idols differently after listening to this book. Especially the Beach Boys.
Great listen for anyone interested in rock history. I wish I could see the film that was made about the same group of musicians. Check out Carol Kaye on utube.
ONLY AS REFERENCE. GOT THE STORY FIRST TIME.
SOOO MANY. THE INDEPTH RE. LEON RUSSEL, GLEN CAMPBELL, TOMMY TEDESCO, CAROL KAY AND THE OPENING NARRITIVE.
A LITTLE SLOW BUT NOT BAD.
NETHER LAUGH OR CRY. BUT IT MADE BURN UP GOOGLE LOOKING UP THE PEOPLE I JUST NEVER KNEW ABOUT.
AN EPIFFINY FOR ANY MUSIC LOVER OF 60'S 70'S MUSIC LOVERS
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
Like many of the songs that are described in the book, The Wrecking Crew may be worth listening to again. However, I think the next step is to see the film documentary. Though it may lack the detail of the book, it would have the added benefit of including snippets of the songs and showing us the faces of the musicians who are the subject of the book.
Actually, I found that it was the songs that held this true life story together, and the author must have felt so as well, organizing the chapters by song rather than my personality. When your subjects are anonymous studio musicians who are by necessity devoid of the egomania that drives their front men, their biographical back stories, while certainly interesting, do not burn down any barns.
But the songs they created -- the stories behind how these huge hits of the 60s and 70s came together in surprising ways -- is the real attraction here, especially for people like me who grew up on those songs.
If you consider my first name, one of the most interesting stories is how they came up with the coda to Strangers in the Night. I have had to live with that my whole life. I never knew until now how Frank Sinatra ended up improvising that fade out on the third take, and how the producer decided to include it in the version that was ultimately released.
And if you ever danced the limbo at a party, you might be surprised to hear the story of how the famous limbo song came to be -- how it was written, what the songwriter called it, and how it affected him. This book is full of those types of gems.
The book's tag line is "The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best Kept Secret". The poster for the movie version, made by the son of one of the musicians central to The Wrecking Crew, has a full paragraph backing up the title. But since the songs are the real stars of this story, I'd tag the movie with something like "The Inside Story Behind Your Favorite Songs." That doesn't shortchange the musicians who people that inside story, but it highlights the work product which is their lasting legacy.
light, enjoyable, informative
Atlantic Records: The House the Ahmet Built
The anecdotes that make up this book were amusing, and I learned a lot about the music studio scene in LA in the 60s and early 70s. If you like pop music trivia, you'll probably enjoy it. On the other hand, I thought the writing was pretty hackneyed and unnecessarily repetitive. The performance was ok, but I was sort of annoyed that Dan John Miller read all quotes from women in exactly the same soft, high-pitched voice. He sort of did the same thing with some of the men, trying to distinguish voices but not really pulling it off -- Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, and Phil Spector, for instance, sound exactly the same. I enjoyed this audiobook overall, though.
The many different stories of some of the greatest musicians of our generation were carefully weaved together in this highly inspirational book. Never a dull moment. Unlike many other books written about musicians of this period I found myself not wanting the chapter to end.
Yes, I would recommend this to my music lover friends.
Possibly Don Felder's Heaven and Hell. Both are eye opening regarding the music business and insight into bands.
While intending to be flattering a good voice should not add or subtract from the story.
Open Your Eyes Wide
Very impressed with Glen Campbell as a musician and with his ambition for success.
I must say Brian Wilson is every bit the nut I would have expected. Pet Sounds did him in. Or did his father?
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