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The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret | [Kent Hartman]

The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret

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....
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"[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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (212 )
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4.3 (197 )
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4.2 (194 )
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Performance
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  •  
    M. Graham Tennessee 04-09-15
    M. Graham Tennessee 04-09-15 Member Since 2015

    tired of typos

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    "Good story, problematic narration"
    Would you listen to The Wrecking Crew again? Why?

    Yes. In the right mood, I could overlook some of the narrator's problems and enjoy the wonderful stories behind great records.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Dan John Miller?

    Not without listening carefully to a sample. Once again, a good story about rock music is dragged down by a rather affected, old-fart style of narration. Why do American audiobooks insist on doing this? British narrators seem to have a gift for getting tones right, and for doing pretty good imitations of main characters. Miller "imitates" women characters by simply raising the pitch of his voice--pretty lame and pretty offensive. His "southern" characters sound like caricatures. He should skip the imitations (although his Richard Harris moments were kind of fun).
    Finally, would someone please EDIT, direct, or correct these narrators who mispronounce famous names and titles (such as Betty Friedan and "What'd I Say"). A whole section on Ray Charles and his most famous song title is mispronounced!


    Any additional comments?

    I wish a second volume would be written with even more detail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles 04-09-15
    Charles 04-09-15 Member Since 2009
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    "Good info and entertaining"

    Much more in depth than the movie. A picture of a unique window in time which will never exist again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Kelso, WA, United States 03-17-15
    Ken Kelso, WA, United States 03-17-15 Member Since 2015
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    "So much more"

    All I can say is WOW. Yes it's a story about the Wrecking Crew but it's also a story about the music industry, a very inside look. Excellent job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam 03-17-15
    Sam 03-17-15 Member Since 2015
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    5
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    "Awful! Great story, but awful writing@"
    Would you try another book from Kent Hartman and/or Dan John Miller?

    Absolutely not. The writing is lazy, unimaginative, and just poor. Phrases like "Don Peak found the guitar, or did the guitar find him?" are literally in this book. I may be more used to academic writing when it comes to music, but this goes far beyond lazy and terrible.


    Would you recommend The Wrecking Crew to your friends? Why or why not?

    For the writing and performance - NEVER.
    For the actual story being told - yes.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    His Phil Hartman-like voice makes every statement sound like the most important thing that happens in this book. But the voices...? Are you kidding? Not only does EVERY young member of the wrecking crew sound like a timid teenager lucky to own an instrument, but notice Phil Spector go from timid teen (a la above) to totally disinterested New Yorker. And please do not do women's voices. Please don't.


    What character would you cut from The Wrecking Crew?

    The narrator and writer.


    Any additional comments?

    This is an incredible story. I'm about halfway finished with it and really want to finish it, but oh my gosh it is so bad. The only thing keeping me is my fascination with Los Angeles and the music. I really wish this was a better researched book. I would much prefer research over completely made up, over the top, narratives that have no grounding whatsover. It's ridiculous. This reads like a Sports Illustrated for Kids (remember that magazine??) article from 1990. It's just plain bad. The topic really deserves a robust, well researched look. This absolutely is not it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rudy 11-02-14
    Rudy 11-02-14
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    "The inside story remains a secret"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Wish the author were a better, more inquisitive reporter with a stronger sense of who on the music scene of that era really mattered. In other words, more about legendary recording sessions, e.g., "River Deep, Mountain High" and "Pet Sounds," and less Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. Hartman also devotes as much time to book-report style recitations of the early lives of folks like the late Tommy Tedesco, guitarist extraordinaire, whose childhood was mercifully ordinary as he does to those who lived truly unusual lives, e.g. Glen Campbell and Phil Spector.


    Would you recommend The Wrecking Crew to your friends? Why or why not?

    Only the hardest of the hard-core music fans in which case, come to think of it, they probably know the history better than Hartman does.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Read all the parts in his own, natural voice! Listening to Dan John Miller do bassist Carol Kaye, Brian Wilson's girlfriend and Tommy Tedesco's mother in the high falsetto one more often associates with Flip Wilson's Geraldine or any of Monty Python's female characters is truly horrifying.


    Do you think The Wrecking Crew needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    The musicians who made up the Wrecking Crew deserve a different, better book by a more gifted reporter and writer. This book has a quickie, knock-it-out feel.


    Any additional comments?

    I think I've said enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Romero 08-08-14
    A. Romero 08-08-14 Member Since 2014

    Book Lover

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    "For Those Who Love Hits of the 60's and 70's"
    If you could sum up The Wrecking Crew in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting, interesting, interesting...


    What did you like best about this story?

    Like many others, I thought bands played their instruments on their recordings. Clearly, they didn't. These musicians are truly the unsung magicians who had different technology than today. Their humble stories are amazing.


    What does Dan John Miller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    History of many, many songs and those who played on the records.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Hard to believe nobody knew about this...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gudrun Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, Canada 04-18-14
    Gudrun Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, Canada 04-18-14 Member Since 2011

    I'm open to any book as long as it is true to itself.

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    "The subject in this book is absolutely fascinating"

    Completely compelling, addictive material in this book. The stories behind the music and musicians is utterly fascinating. The writing is not great, but the subject matter speaks for itself. This has changed my view of the music industry forever.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Peeples Charleston, SC 12-15-13
    L. Peeples Charleston, SC 12-15-13
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    "Easy Listening"
    If you could sum up The Wrecking Crew in three words, what would they be?

    light, enjoyable, informative


    What other book might you compare The Wrecking Crew to and why?

    Atlantic Records: The House the Ahmet Built


    What three words best describe Dan John Miller’s performance?

    competent, corny


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Alamo, CA, United States 10-15-13
    Don Alamo, CA, United States 10-15-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Simply outstanding!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Wrecking Crew the most enjoyable?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerold Seattle, WA 08-13-13
    Jerold Seattle, WA 08-13-13 Member Since 2009
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    "The Music Biz"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would recommend this to my music lover friends.


    What other book might you compare The Wrecking Crew to and why?

    Possibly Don Felder's Heaven and Hell. Both are eye opening regarding the music business and insight into bands.


    What does Dan John Miller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    While intending to be flattering a good voice should not add or subtract from the story.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Open Your Eyes Wide


    Any additional comments?

    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?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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