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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

4.4 (488 )
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  •  
    Lee Blue Anchor, NJ, United States 08-29-12
    Lee Blue Anchor, NJ, United States 08-29-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Familiar names to any 70's rock fan"

    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.

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    deeva Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 07-30-12
    deeva Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 07-30-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Fascinating Story Well Told"
    What made the experience of listening to The Wrecking Crew the most enjoyable?

    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?


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

    I can't think of another book to compare this to - it is unique.


    What about Dan John Miller???s performance did you like?

    Good voice well paced.


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

    I wish.


    Any additional comments?

    Anyone who likes rock and roll would like this book.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick King Exeter, NH 04-29-14
    Patrick King Exeter, NH 04-29-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Left Guessing"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It seems as though Kent Hartman learned to write by composing blurbs for paperbacks. His alliterative metaphors double up on each other. This "look at me" style of writing is really annoying especially when you hear it read aloud. Just one typical example, he refers to Phil Spector as "The elfin emperor." Perhaps that doesn't sound like a big deal but four or five of these things per page it really begins to grate on the listener after a while.

    Starting a book about several disparate people describing events that seemed important to them was I though very hokey and not at all enlightening: Hal Blaine caught in a circus fire, Glenn Campbell getting a whipping... come on!

    The other thing is when you're writing a book about musicians who do you imagine is going to buy it and read it? People who are very interested in music and how musicians develop their chops, that's who and that's what they want to know. Most of us who read these books have inadvertently done as much research on this subject as the author has. Therefore we expect the author to know that Bertha Spector until the day she died referred to her son by his REAL name, Harvey, NEVER as Phil. If I know that and Mr. Hartman doesn't, what else did he get wrong? My guess is plenty.

    So much is glossed over. He tells a very interesting story about how Don Peake conned his way into an important gig by being able to play Be Bop A Lula, one of three songs he knew on guitar. The thing is, after it was discovered that he really couldn't play guitar, he was kept on and the other band members PAID FOR HIS GUITAR LESSONS! Hartman acts as though this is typical musician behavior. It is not. Why did they do this for Peake? This is the story we'd like to know and he writes as though it was self-explanatory. There are many of these instances in this book.


    If you’ve listened to books by Kent Hartman before, how does this one compare?

    As far as I know The Wrecking Crew is the only book Kent Hartman has ever written.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I thought the tragic story of Jim Gordon was well-told and of great interest.

    I thought the angst of the Monkeys, the Byrds, etc not being allowed to play their own instruments on recordings attributed to them was interesting and ironic. They were getting paid, weren't they? Would they rather drive a taxi?

    Mr. Hartman seems to think that fans were fooled by these prefabricated groups. We were not. One of the most impressive things about the Beatles was that they played their own instruments. We were used to "singing" groups and the Beach Boys, for example, was a singing group. When they became competitive with the Beatles and started claiming they too played their own instruments, they fooled no one. Many of us knew the names, Glenn Campbell, Hal Blaine, Barney Kessel, James Burton etc. If they were a 'secret,' they were a poorly kept secret.


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

    There is much that is interesting in The Wrecking Crew. There is a continent of information however that is glossed over and left out. The evolution of Barney Kessel is never described nor his mentoring of young Phil Spector. Mac Rebennack I don't think is mentioned once. Leon Russell is glossed over. James Burton, Nino Tempo are footnotes. Much more could be written on this subject in greater detail.

    The Swamp Birds are never mentioned as such. Steve Cropper and Duane Allman are name drops.


    Any additional comments?

    More in-depth Audible books on this subject are, Mick Brown's Tearing Down the Wall of Sound, Tommy James and Martin Fitzpatrick's Me, The Mob and the Music, Life by Keith Richards, and Peter Ames Carlin's Bruce.

    51 of 55 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Bethlehem, GA, United States 09-17-12
    Steven Bethlehem, GA, United States 09-17-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Will change the way you listen to music"

    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.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Weatherford TX 09-16-17
    Kindle Customer Weatherford TX 09-16-17 Member Since 2012
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    "Love music? You'll love this book!"

    I love rock n roll history so this was a very easy listen! I appreciated the background stories about the different players in addition to the great content about the in studio experiences. No complaints about the narration either. Very interesting and entertaining!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    spaceman 09-15-17
    spaceman 09-15-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Loved It."

    Really enjoyed this book. I listened along with my Amazon Music account so I was able to access nearly every song mentioned. This music was the sound track of my childhood and teen years. It gave this music a new demension. It opened up my ears to music I had previously just over looked. I will get Kent Hartman's next book "Goodnight L.A." as soon as it is available .

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EricinHuntersville 09-14-17 Member Since 2013
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    "A very entertaining an eye-opening book"

    Who doesn't love rock and roll? As I was listening to this book I found myself frequently stopping to search YouTube to pull up each song. The book gave me a lot more insight and meaning to the songs that I have loved my entire life. I'm very happy that I chose to listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clifford Bodell 09-09-17 Member Since 2012
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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
  •  
    Roberta 09-09-17
    Roberta 09-09-17 Member Since 2005
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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
  •  
    Brett Charlotte, NC, United States 04-26-14
    Brett Charlotte, NC, United States 04-26-14 Member Since 2014
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    "A little corny but OK."

    This book reminded me of the Casey Kasem Top 40 count down. In Casey's count down he would introduce an up coming song with a cheesy story - the small town kid that finally made it big or the girl that defied the odds and finally launched a hit after so many rejections. The sappy stories never lasted long and a good song always followed so they were palatable. This book, unfortunately, has none of those redeeming qualities, it is not completely unentertaining, however - especially if you know and like the music described.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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