The collective of Los Angeles studio musicians dubbed “The Wrecking Crew” have earned tons of respect in the music community – and yet most of the music-loving public has no idea who most of these people were. Sure, they know the songs by Frank Sinatra or The Beach Boys, but they’re not nearly as familiar with Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine, bassist Carol Kaye or guitarist Tommy Tedesco. And that’s something Tommy’s son Denny wanted to change.
Starting in the mid-’90s, Denny Tedesco began assembling footage for a documentary about the musicians, simply titled The Wrecking Crew. He spoke to all still-living members, including his father before he died in 1997. Denny told Music Radar’s Joe Bosso that the film has been done since ’08 and has screened at film festivals, but hasn’t been released due to the music rights needed for the movie.
And it turns out that is a hefty sum, just due to the amount of legendary recordings that The Wrecking Crew played on. The very thing that was amazing about this group of players is hurting the movie’s chances at being distributed.
“That’s what’s so interesting about part of the problems I’ve had with the film,” Denny said. “People have said, ‘Well, why don’t you just cut it down to 20 songs?’ And I said, ‘I can’t. You don't realize how many huge records these people have played on. We’re talkin’ hundreds and thousands of songs!’ You could do a film about Motown in 20 songs; you could do a film about Muscle Shoals in 20 songs. The Wrecking Crew? That’s more than 20 songs.
“They were definitely chameleons. They would do a Frank Sinatra session, then go right into working with The 5th Dimension or The Mamas and The Papas or The Chipmunks – all in a single day! Or they'd do a movie score or TV commercials, and then they’d play with Brian Wilson or Phil Spector. I can’t think of many musicians who had that same level of versatility.”