The Wrecking Crew (2008 film)
|The Wrecking Crew|
|Directed by||Denny Tedesco|
|Edited by||Claire Scanlon|
|Distributed by||Magnolia Pictures|
The Wrecking Crew is a 2008 American documentary film directed by Denny Tedesco. It covers the story of the Los Angeles-based group of session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew, famed for having played on numerous hit recordings throughout the 1960s. The film premiered at the 2008 South by Southwest Film Festival.
Popular music of the 1960s was dominated by young bands like The Beach Boys, The Mamas & the Papas, Jan and Dean, and The Monkees. Listening to rock and roll on jukeboxes and car radios created devoted fans of these groups, whose music communicated the optimism and sorrow of a generation contending with strong countercultural forces.
Record companies happily supplied the public with new songs and musical groups, all packaged with artistic photographs and biographical profiles. Left out of the story was an important historical fact: the bands, in many cases, did not play the instruments heard on their records. Instead, the task of recording the perfect tempo, pitch, and timbre fell to a small group of accomplished session musicians.
The Wrecking Crew documents the work of studio players who recorded the tracks for such hits as "California Dreamin'", "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", "Be My Baby", "The Beat Goes On", and "Good Vibrations". Interviews with producers, engineers, and session musicians reveal the warmth and humor that allowed their collective talents to turn a simple chord chart into an international phenomenon.
All cast members play themselves
- Lou Adler
- Herb Alpert
- H. B. Barnum
- Chuck Berghofer
- Hal Blaine
- Glen Campbell
- Al Casey
- Dick Clark
- Micky Dolenz
- Snuff Garrett
- David Gold
- Bones Howe
- Al Jardine
- Plas Johnson
- Carol Kaye
- Larry Levine
- Gary Lewis
- Lew McCreary
- Roger McGuinn
- Joe Osborn
- Earl Palmer
- Bill Pitman
- Don Randi
- Stan Ross
- Leon Russell
- Joe Saraceno
- Nancy Sinatra
- Carmie Tedesco
- Tommy Tedesco
- Peter Tork
- Jimmy Webb
- Julius Wechter
- Brian Wilson
- Frank Zappa
Production began in June 1996 and was completed in February 2008. The film played in film festivals in North America, and was the closing film at the Nashville Film Festival on April 24, 2008. A Kickstarter campaign at the end of 2013 raised over three hundred thousand dollars to cover music licensing and final production costs. The film opened in theaters across the United States on March 13, 2015.
The Wrecking Crew has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "If the history of rock music means anything to you, you know the individuals in question could only be the Wrecking Crew, a legendary group of Los Angeles-based studio musicians, and though their story has taken decades to reach the screen, it has been worth the wait." Mark Feeney of The Boston Globe commented, "Think of The Wrecking Crew as 20 Feet from Stardom (2013) for instrumentalists, or a West Coast version of Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002). There's a similar shared joy among the participants, a similar sense of discovery for the viewer, and, of course, a killer soundtrack." Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 91% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on 43 reviews with a "Certified Fresh" rating and an average score of 7.2/10.
- Seattle International Film Festival - Audience Award (2008)
- International Documentary Association - Nomination for Alan Ett Music Documentary Award (2008)
- The Rome International Film Festival - Best American Documentary and Audience Award (2008)
- Anchorage International Film Festival - Audience Award (2008)
- Barbados International Film Festival - Best Documentary (2008)
- Savannah Film Festival - Standing Ovation Award (2008)
- Tallgrass Film Festival - Audience Award (2008)
- Idaho International Film Festival - Winner Best Documentary (2008)
- Buffalo Niagara Film Festival - Winner Audience Award (2008)
- Nashville Film Festival - Honorable Mention Impact of Music Award (2008)
- Rhode Island International Film Festival - First Place Documentary (2008)
- Connecticut Film Festival - Audience Award (2010)
- "The Wrecking Crew (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- Rohter, Larry (25 April 2012). "Music Film Is Delayed by Fees for Songs". The New York Times. p. C1.
- Greenman, Ben (3 December 2013). "The Session Musicians Who Dominated Nineteen-Sixties Pop". The New Yorker (Condé Nast). ISSN 0028-792X.
- Lewis, Randy (7 March 2015). "'The Wrecking Crew!' finally sets the records straight". Los Angeles Times.
- Turan, Kenneth (12 March 2015). "'The Wrecking Crew' affectionate tribute to hit-backing musicians". Los Angeles Times.
- Feeney, Mark (12 March 2015). "'The Wrecking Crew' makes sure the beat goes on". The Boston Globe.