|Birth name||Lawrence William Knechtel|
August 4, 1940|
Bell, California, United States
|Died||August 20, 2009
Yakima, Washington, United States
|Instruments||Piano, Hammond organ, electric piano, harpsichord, harmonium, guitar, keyboards, bass, harmonica|
Lawrence William "Larry" Knechtel (August 4, 1940 – August 20, 2009) was an American keyboard player and bassist, best known as a member of the Wrecking Crew, a collection of Los Angeles-based session musicians who worked with such renowned artists as Simon & Garfunkel, Duane Eddy, the Beach Boys, the Mamas & the Papas, the Monkees, the Partridge Family, the Doors, the Grass Roots, Jerry Garcia, and Elvis Presley, and as a member of the 1970s band Bread.
Born in Bell, California, in 1940, Knechtel's musical education began with piano lessons. In 1957, he joined the Los Angeles-based rock and roll band Kip Tyler and the Flips. In August 1959, he joined instrumentalist Duane Eddy as a member of his band the Rebels. After four years on the road with the band, and continuing to work with Eddy in the recording studio, Knechtel became part of the Los Angeles session musician scene, working with Phil Spector as a pianist to help create Spector's famous "Wall of Sound". Knechtel became a prominent member of session musicians the Wrecking Crew, performing on many hit songs of the period and earning him entry into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2007.
In 1970 Knechtel won a Grammy Award for his piano work on "Bridge over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel. He also played the piano on Johnny Rivers' 1972 hit "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu".
Knechtel was proficient in other musical instruments, notably the harmonica and the electric bass guitar, which can be heard on "Mr. Tambourine Man" by the Byrds, "Stoney End" by Barbra Streisand, "If I Can Dream" by Elvis Presley, and on tracks by the Doors (who did not have their own bass guitarist). In 1971, he joined the band Bread, where his contributions include the guitar solo on the hit single "The Guitar Man". He also played on sessions for Nancy Sinatra.
During the late 1980s, Knechtel moved to Nashville, where he was signed to a solo recording contract. He released two solo albums, Mountain Moods and Urban Gypsy, in quick succession in 1990.
In later years, Knechtel lived in semi-retirement in Yakima, Washington, until his death. He had, however, worked with record producer Rick Rubin, contributing keyboards to albums by Neil Diamond, Arlen Roth and the Dixie Chicks, touring with Elvis Costello and with the Dixie Chicks in support of their Grammy Award-winning album Taking the Long Way. During this time Knechtel contributed guest spots on many recordings for dozens of Northwest artists including Wayman Chapman, Ken Stringfellow (Posies, R.E.M., Big Star), Quakers On Probation, Dimestore Mystery, Elba, Animals at Night, Zera Marvel, Colin Spring and his son, Lonnie Knechtel.
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With The We Three Trio
- The We Three Trio (Mainstream S/6055,56055, 1965)
With Brian Wilson
With The Doors
- The Doors (Elektra, 1967)
With Chet Baker
- Blood, Chet and Tears (Verve, 1970)
With Howard Roberts
- Antelope Freeway (Impulse!, 1971)
With Lalo Schifrin
- Rock Requiem (Verve, 1971)
With Art Garfunkel
- Angel Clare (Columbia, 1973)
- "The Grassroots official website". The-grassroots.com. Retrieved 2015-01-19.
- Hartman, Kent (February–March 2007). "The Wrecking Crew". American Heritage 58 (1).
- "Larry Knechtel Biography". Larry Knechtel Family Estate. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- "Larry Knechtel, Rock Keyboardist-Arranger, Dies at 69". The New York Times. 25 August 2009.
- "Larry Knechtel - Mountain Moods". MusicStack. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
- "Larry Knechtel - Urban Gypsy". Discogs. Retrieved 16 January 2013.