The Wrecking Crew review – paean to the unsung heroes of 60s pop

This band of session musicians helped some of the biggest acts of the era – from the Beach Boys to the Monkees – to produce their signature sounds

For a while – before authenticity mattered – the discerning pop producer of 60s LA wanted only one group of session musicians on their recording: the Wrecking Crew. That’s them raising Good Vibrations for Brian Wilson, playing to exhaustion on Phil Spector’s hits for the Ronettes and recording the Monkees’ songs for the band to ape.

This small group was responsible for a slew of the earworms wiggling around our heads. Denny Tedesco, son of Crew guitarist Tommy, directs a loving documentary that brings together core members (including drummer Hal Blaine and bassist Carol Keye) to sit and crack wise about a business that bought their genius and, for the most part, left it uncredited.

The editing is muddled and the structure has gone for a walk, but Tedesco nails the point: that the beauty of pop music lies not with the prancing pop starlets, but in the hands of the average-looking, insanely talented artists behind the scenes.

  • This article was amended on 29 June 2015. An earlier version implied that the Beach Boys song, Good Vibrations, was on their album Pet Sounds. It was recorded around the same time, but released as a standalone single. This has been corrected.


Henry Barnes

The GuardianTramp

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