Rated PG. Running time: 1 hour 41 min.
Our content ratings (1-10): Violence 0; Language 1; Sex/Nudity 0.
Our star rating (1-5): 4
This film about Los Angeles studio musicians is filmmaker Danny Tedesco’s work of love, made by the son of one of the group’s most talented members, Tommy Tedesco. During the 1960s and 1970s there were 30 to 100 musicians, dubbed “The Wrecking Crew,” who backed up such great acts as Elvis Presley, Nat “King” Cole, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin. Frank Sinatra, Sonny & Cher, Nancy Sinatra, The Mamas & the Papas, The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, The Righteous Brothers, The Monkees, and of course, The Beach Boys—need I go on (as there were many more)?
The Wrecking Crew created what was called the West Coast Sound. They were so skilled that they could quickly sight read a composition and get right on with the rehearsal. They also contributed to compositions, some of these distinguishing a song in memorable ways. You will probably find many of your favorite songs from that period on the sound track, and filmed interviews with many of the musicians reveal the fascinating details of their recording sessions and the life and work of the performers. Some of the interviewees we hear are Herb Alpert, Cher, Dick Clark, Nancy Sinatra, Brian Wilson, archive footage of a stage full of stars, as well as clips of Wrecking Crew members. During the Sixties and Seventies songs involving the Wrecking Crew won the Grammy for “Record of the Year” six times in a row.
Consummate musicians all, only one member of The Wrecking Crew emerged to super stardom himself, Glen Campbell. I felt moved by seeing him so articulate in his interviews, especially in light of last year’s Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, the powerful documentary about the musician’s last tour while suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Although Danny Tedesco’s film is driven by his love for his father and his desire for him to receive recognition, it pays tribute to many other musicians as well, sung and unsung .
IMDB lists the film as a 2008 release. That we are just now seeing it in our theaters seven years later reveals the filmmaker’s long struggle to bring this work to fruition, the actual production work having begun long before that date. The resulting film shows that Danny Tedesco’s struggle was worth the effort. Anyone who loves the music of that period will enjoy this beautifully made film.