Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret by Kent Hartman

I have always been fascinated with the behind-the-scenes in the music-recording business and this book tells a tale of the men and women who were the ultimate in behind-the-scenes - the session musicians who made the music for many, many hits of the 60's.

Kent highlights certain figures, such as drummer Hal Blaine, guitarist/bassist Carol Kaye, and break-out stars like Glen Campbell and Leon Russell, as well as certain songs and gives us plenty of background information on them all, adding insights along with humanizing these often faceless masters of their craft.

There are many bands/projects that everyone knew used backing musicians - Phil Spectors' Wall of Sound projects, Sonny and Cher, Jan and Dean, the Monkees, the Mamas and Papas, Simon and Garfunkel, the 5th Dimension and on and on, but there are all kinds of surprises, as well. Groups like the Beach Boys and the Byrds relied on the Wrecking Crew's talents, as well, and many productions had their help in sweetening the sound.

This is one of the more enjoyable and readable music books out there. Never dull, always fascinating and filled with anecdotes and fun facts. A must for any fan of 60's pop music, but make no mistake - this is strictly Top 40 pop/rock'n'roll that we're talking about - purposefully slick and made to be hits. Nothing raw and ragged, which is by design. Still, especially if you grew up in this time period, most of these tunes are dear to your heart. Get it!

(I must say though that I found an Amazon review claiming to be Carol Kaye who rails against the book and the writer - and Hal Blaine - though, of course, I have no idea if that is legit. This review claims the book is slanderous, though I came away with nothing but respect for the musicians and read nothing that painted anyone in a bad light.)