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The documentary, "The Wrecking Crew," screened at Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art this last Saturday and I was fortunate enough to be invited to see it. I say fortunate because "The Wrecking Crew," was one of the most enjoyable films on music I've ever seen. I loved how in-depth the movie went into this whole secret backstage look at music in the '50s, '60s, and '70s.
The movie was made by Denny Tedesco, the son of legendary guitarist Tommy Tedesco; the Crew was a group of phenomenally talented musicians who played on just about every Top Ten hit of the late '50s to the early '70s. They played on albums by the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Sonny and Cher, Jan & Dean, The Monkees, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Mamas and Papas, Tijuana Brass, Ricky Nelson, Johnny Rivers, The Crystals, The Ronnettes, Ike and Tina Turner, The Platters and The Diamonds. They were Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. Their tunes played alongside TV shows and movies and are now classic themes: think Batman, Beach Blanket Bingo, The Pink Panther, Green Acres and others.
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The Wrecking Crew was described by director Denny Tedesco as 'the most expensive home movie ever made,' and it feels that way. Watching it, you can tell that this movie was a labor of pure love for not only his father, but for all of these musicians whose names are nowhere near as highly revered as they should be. It's not out to shock or offend, or show debauchery like other music documentaries. It's an enjoyable, amusing, wonderful look back at some of the best years of music, and showcasing who really was behind all of those tracks that hold a special place in so many hearts.
The audience's reactions to The Wrecking Crew were some of the best parts of the film. There were so many people tapping and even singing along that I couldn't help but smile at the level of joy in one room that was created by this one film. I have always believed that music is the best way to bring people together, and I was witnessing it firsthand. People who sat in the corners or purposefully isolated themselves with coats on chairs all around them were leaning over and whispering to others that this certain song was played at their Sweet Sixteen, or at their wedding or at their 50th anniversary. It was an amazing experience to behold.