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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

Critic Reviews

"[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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Story

Behind the scenes of 1960's rock music.

While I knew little about all of the behind the scenes musicians, I am a fan of this era in rock music. Most of the names were unknown to me, but the stories were great and I now have a different perspective of the recording industry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating, Entertaining and Nostalgic

Where does The Wrecking Crew rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I usually read mystery novels but occasionally choose a nonfiction book just for a change. The Wrecking Crew was every bit as entertaining as any good novel and a fascinating bit of history.

What did you like best about this story?

I grew up during the late 1950s and early 1960s so much of the music is familiar to me. Hearing about the people behind the great songs from that time gave me a new appreciation for what it took to create some of the best music ever made.Kent Hartman's biographies of the members of The Wrecking Crew, the producers, and the artists made them real people.

Hartman's many anecdotes about the creative process during studio sessions had me spending nearly as much time listening to the recordings as listening to his book. But it was more than nostalgia, I was listening to the songs with a more discerning ear and hearing for the first time the magic that made them great.

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

Dan John Miller did a great job emoting the people he read and even has some pretty good imitations of their voices.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great behind the scene history of rock and roll.

If you are at all interested in the LA rock/pop music of the 60s and 70s you will love this book. Phil Spector, Sonny Bono, Glen Campbell and Leon Russell are some of the stars that are covered here. The real stars of this book are the unknown (to the general public) musicians who made good songs great. A must read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating

Very enjoyable, brought back wonderful memories of songs from my teen years and earlier. But know I wonder if the fantastic guitar playing was Eric Clapton was really Glen Campbell. I really enjoyed it whoever was playing

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Soundtrack of my Life

What did you love best about The Wrecking Crew?

The stories behind the songs, meeting the performers, knowing what was happening behind the scenes as I listened to the radio during my childhood. Amazing.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hal Blaine seems beyond words - what a star.

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

The soundtrack of a decade!

Any additional comments?

Great listen, great book. Wow!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Entertaining, inspiring and informative

This was such a great read. Puts you inside the studio at the moments when so much music history was made!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ken
  • Kelso, WA, United States
  • 03-17-15

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Narrated by Dan "Goober" Miller!

This book is ok. It's overwritten, each sentence laden with cliches and padding, but it's a very fascinating view of the inside of the music production business. Who knew Phil Spector wanted to be a jazz guitarist? Or that Sonny Bono worked for him, and couldn't sing or even keep time? (Actually, anybody listening to Sonny and Cher probably knows that).

Dan Miller's narration is adequate, though he is overly emphatic with every cliche.The most fascinating thing about Miller narrating this particular book is that he is *THE DAN "GOOBER" MILLER* of Goober and the Peas fame. Who were Goober and the Peas? Only the greatest band you never heard of. They ruled the Detroit music scene in the early 90s. The dressed like Grand Ole Opry cowboys, but their music was a terrific psychobilly-swing-funk, with terrific lyrics and some of the tightest playing I've ever heard live from any band, even the most famous ones. In my mind, Jack White's greatest contribution to music was his drumming for Goober (didn't know that, did you?). Their music is still available on Amazon, and the reviews there are all as glowing as this one.

Goob, I cheered for you harder than anybody, and I traveled all around Michigan to hear you. You were the greatest, and you deserved to be one of the biggest bands of all time. You are very sorely missed.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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very interesting story

interesting story of the musicians behind the great music of rock n roll. I never new that bands did not play their own music in the studio to make their records.