Saturday, March 17, 2012

Top 5 "Wrecking Crew" Tunes

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Kent Hartman has pulled back the curtain to reveal the great session musicians who really played on many of our favorite hits. The Wrecking Crew was a group of incredibly talented artists who played on records by The Beach Boys, The Mamas and The Papas, The Monkees, The Grass Roots, Sonny And Cher and Paul Revere and The Raiders.

The Wrecking Crew at a Phil Spector session

Among them: Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, drummer Hal Blaine, and bassist Carol Kaye. In The Wrecking Crew Hartman tells the true stories behind the great songs ( Sonny wrote the lyrics to "I Got You Babe" on a pizza carton) and celebrates the unheralded musicians who taught a generation how to rock and roll.

Carol Kaye ( in 1974)

Kent has been kind enough to send me a list of Top 5 Fave Wrecking Crew Tunes:

"Bridge Over Troubled Water" - Simon & Garfunkel - 1970

The biggest hit of their career and one of the best-selling pop hits of all time. Listen toward the end of the song for the crashing sounds. That's Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine on his hands and knees in the studio slamming tire chains on a cement floor.

"Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" - The First Edition - 1968

You may not know it, but that's Kenny Rogers singing the lead vocals. Yes, that Kenny Rogers! And the Wrecking Crew are playing all the instruments. Note Wrecking Crewer Mike Deasy's spacey guitar stylings.

"Mr. Tambourine Man" - The Byrds - 1965

Only one Byrd played on this, the band's first single. It went straight to number one with Roger McGuinn playing his twelve-string Rickenbacker and the Wrecking Crew playing everything else. Four out of five Byrds weren't very happy that day.

"Wichita Lineman" - Glen Campbell - 1968

Most folks don't know it, but the Rhinestone Cowboy actually got his start as an out-of-this world session guitarist in the Wrecking Crew. And when it came time to cut his own singles? You guessed it---Campbell hired all of his pals from the Crew to play right along side him.

"Good Vibrations" - The Beach Boys - 1966

At the risk of bursting a whole lot of balloons, it should be noted that, instrument-wise, there isn't a Beach Boy on this song. Or on virtually any of their other hit records. Once again, it's all the Wrecking Crew.

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