A decade in the making, The Wrecking Crew took almost as long to make it to theaters. But Danny Tedesco's "unknown musicians who cranked out the hits" doc, which predated and inspired the Oscar winning Twenty Feet From Stardom, finally gets a big screen run.
Twenty Feet was about backup singers, Crew is about studio musicians. These were the guys — and one woman — who dominated Los Angeles music studio session work from the late 1950s well into the '70s.
Sax man Plas Johnson honks out the unforgettable first notes of The Pink Panther Theme, Carol Kay picks up her bass guitar and plays the bass line that "made" Sonny & Cher's iconic The Beat Goes On.
"The Wrecking Crew" — they weren't really called that until after their era had passed — fleshed out Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound," and played most, if not all of the instruments on Beach Boys LPs and Monkees" singles.
Those who took advantage of this elite aggregation of 20 to 30 in-demand players, from Herb Alpert of Tijuana Brass fame to Cher, call them "the best." Members of this exclusive club recall how "tight" and "professional" they were — showing up, knocking out somebody's charts or improvising sounds that defined an era.
But as fascinating as it is, Crew suffers in comparison with the more touching and uplifting Twenty Feet. Still, it's a fascinating slice of rock and pop archeology and well worth your time.