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The Wrecking Crew Audiobook

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

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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

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  •  
    Dubi New York, NY 03-31-14
    Dubi New York, NY 03-31-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Juke Box Documentary"
    Would you listen to The Wrecking Crew again? Why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Wrecking Crew?

    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.


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

    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.


    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Petry Santa Barbara, CA USA 06-25-13
    David Petry Santa Barbara, CA USA 06-25-13
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    "A bit sing-songy"

    Very interesting material, but written and performed as though for sixth graders. A list of these musicians' works would be a welcome addition.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 03-12-13
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 03-12-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Fasinating history of 60 and 70 rock'n roll"
    What made the experience of listening to The Wrecking Crew the most enjoyable?

    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.


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

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Dan John Miller’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I will view all my rock idols differently after listening to this book. Especially the Beach Boys.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 11-19-17
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    "Great memories of growing up in LA during the 60"s"

    so fun to hear all the behind-the-scenes stories to the music I loved and grew up to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick Alexander Stratford, CT 11-13-17
    Nick Alexander Stratford, CT 11-13-17 Member Since 2017
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    "History of One of Pop's Greatest Treasures"

    I have already seen the documentary of The Wrecking Crew made a few years back, and I also saw "Love & Mercy" which showed a re-enactment of the Pet Sounds sessions. What was so great about this book (and in many ways, superior) is that it details how they somehow got associated with each other, the major figures who made it happen, and the insights of these movers and shakers that kept them going, simply because [name] used them. And this continued, until work dried up in the mid-1970s, when music production changed.

    A fascinating glimpse in pop music history, not often told.

    Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deb Fischer 11-07-17
    Deb Fischer 11-07-17
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    "Wow!!!"

    This is a fantastic book. If you like 60's Rock&Roll music and grew up listing to to Rock idols of tat era this is a must read. I was blown away!!! Now when I listen to "classic rock" as they call it these days I have a whole new perspective and appreciation for the music. Don't miss this one. I only wish there had been a few snippets of the music added in, that would have made for an unbelievable experience. As it was I just popped over to YouTube and had a quick listen.
    Thanks for putting down this awesome history and giving credit to all those studio musicians and the Wrecking Crew for making fabulous music.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marshall Lawrence 10-23-17
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    "Terrific stories of 60’s & 70’s hits"

    If you thought the Monkee’s were the only 60’s band that didn’t play on their own recordings, you’re quite wrong. Most of those bands played on the road but their studio recordings were played by session musicians. In LA the hot players were informally known as the Wrecking Crew and here are the stories of the great records they cut. If you lived & loved the music of this era and you want to know how these great tunes were made, this us the book for you! NOTE: There is also a wonderful 2 hr documentary movie available by the same name where you see some of these players and hear their work. Highly recommend that, too!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Z 10-22-17
    Paul Z 10-22-17 Member Since 2017
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    "And the Beat Goes On...thanks to the Wrecking Crew"

    Anyone who remembers the excitement of buying a hit 7 inch single to play on your turntable (sans collectors) will find this book amazing, chock full of tales behind the hits. " Wrecking Crew" the book tells the true life stories of a band of studio musicians called The Wrecking Crew, made up of a cast of unknown musicians that played on most of the hits produced on the west coast during the late 50's to the early 70's but were kept a secret from the public who assumed the bands actual members were playing on the recordings

    The Wrecking Crew shines a new light on a lesser known part of pop history and the handful of top players that helped shape the rock industries ability to produce hit records.

    The book offers fascinating glimpses of the groups encounters and sessions with many legends as WC Guitarist, Glen Campbell Sonny Bono who owed them his career, Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, The Monkees (the crew performed most of their songs), Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jimmy Webb, The 5th Dimension,The Grass roots etc. etc. I could go on forever which is why the only downside to this book is that you will irritate your friends retelling tales from it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robert heber, UT, United States 10-12-17
    robert heber, UT, United States 10-12-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Interesting"

    This book was entertaining. I wouldn't call it a page turner, the author doesn't add superfluous b.s. He isn't a Krakauer or Dan Brown. The story doesn't need it. Musicians will appreciate it. . I imagine anyone older than 50 would especially relate to the music. Studio musicians rarely get the credit they deserve, this book is long overdue. Great interview with the author at the end. Seems like a vary straight forward guy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KellysHero718 09-30-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better Than Muscle Shoals"

    If you listened to the radio in the 1970s and 1970s, you will know these songs. It isn't a surprise that many singers used studio musicians. That's common. The surprise is that MANY top bands of the day, not just The Monkees, didn't play on their own records. This is an excellent listen, a fascinating story well told. The research must have been exhaustive because there are so many wonderful stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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