They went into the studio in their jeans, sometimes 15-30 in number, smoking cigarettes and talking up a storm. All of the old men in the business thought they were just going to wreck everything. Sure enough, lo and behold, that’s exactly what they did in the best possible fashion. The group of session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew were the unsung heroes on the forefront of rock n roll in the 1960’s. They were absolutely bonafide hit-making machines, working for artists such as The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Cher, and many, many more. Even Brian Wilson, founder of The Beach Boys and widely-known musical genius, said that The Wrecking Crew “were at the focal point of all of the music”. Though the general public has never heard any of their names, they were an incredibly pivotal part of creating the rock n roll sound that became so famous in the United States in the ‘60s. This film takes a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what was going on in the world of music at the time, while still providing a deep emotional connection to the members of the group.
I didn’t quite know what to expect from this film at first. These types of documentaries have become extremely popular in recent years; finding some band or group of musicians that no one has heard of, but were influential, and going deep into their story. This film could’ve been just another generic version of this subgenre. However, it is obvious from the beginning that this film is so much more. A reasonable portion of the film takes place as a round table conversation with the major members of The Wrecking Crew, with them all discussing all of their experiences and memories from their 40 years of the experience in the music business. You can see really early on that they were like a family to each other, having been so close for so many years. They have some absolutely captivating insight as to what was going on around that time, not just about their own personal experiences, but about the role of session musicians. It’s incredibly interesting to get such an in-depth view of the ins and outs of music production at that time. In the 1960s, so many artists relied heavily on the talents of session musicians, to the point where most musicians didn’t play any of their own music in the studio. I certainly didn’t realize how big of a role session musicians played at the time, especially a group like The Wrecking Crew. The film also takes a lot of time going through a lot of the individual musicians that made up The Wrecking Crew. This part of the film is really what makes it fantastic for me. Each member gives such a personal testimony of their lives as members of the group, which added such an important human element to this film.
This film is an incredible tribute to a group of amazingly talented musicians that played a more important part in A
merican popular music than most people will ever know. This film, and this group, deserve all the credit they can get. I highly recommend this film for any music lovers and documentary lovers out there.
If you are interested in seeing this film, there is one more showing during the festival, which will be at The Downer Theatre at 7pm on Tuesday, October 6.