If you’re a fan of 1960s and 1970s pop music, you’ve heard the work of a group of studio musicians often known as “The Wrecking Crew”. They were musical ringers, called in to back up (or sometimes play for) top artists, kind of like Motown’s famed Funk Brothers.
The Funk Brothers were profiled in the eye-opening 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown. Now, The Wrecking Crew has its own eponymous documentary, directed by Danny Tedesco, whose late father Tommy was a Wrecking Crew guitarist.
The group played on innumerable hits, including “Be My Baby,” ”California Girls,” “Strangers in the Night,” ‘Mrs. Robinson,” “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’,” “Viva Las Vegas” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
The documentary, now available on DVD and Blu-ray, hit a couple of festivals in 2008, but didn’t receive a wider theatrical release until this year, after a Kickstarter campaign raised the money needed to pay for licensing more than 100 hit songs for the film. The age of the film also means that it includes interviews conducted with Dick Clark prior to his death and pop/country star Glen Campbell before his Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Legendary bassist Carol Kaye was the only female member of the group. She also disputes that the musicians had “The Wrecking Crew” name in the 60s and 70s and has been vocally critical of the film. Nonetheless, you can check her out in the movie’s trailer, playing an iconic pop intro she created:
By the way, Variety notes that Kaye is easily the most entertaining of the backing musicians and is deserving of her own documentary. She and other members of the crew appear in the film, as do Brian Wilson, Cher, Nancy Sinatra, Herb Alpert, Micky Dolenz, and Roger McGuinn, among others.