Synopses & Reviews
If you were a fan of popular music in the 1960s and early '70s, you were a fan of the Wrecking Crew—whether you knew it or not.
On hit record after hit record by everyone from the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and the Monkees to the Grass Roots, the 5th Dimension, Sonny & Cher, and Simon and Garfunkel, this collection of West Coast studio musicians from diverse backgrounds established themselves as the driving sound of pop music—sometimes over the objection of actual band members forced to make way for Wrecking Crew members. Industry insider Kent Hartman tells the dramatic, definitive story of the musicians who forged a reputation throughout the business as the secret weapons behind the top recording stars.
Mining invaluable interviews, the author follows the careers of such session masters as drummer Hal Blaine and keyboardist Larry Knechtel, as well as trailblazing bassist Carol Kaye, who went on to play in thousands of recording sessions. Listeners will discover the Wrecking Crew members who would forge careers in their own right, including Glen Campbell and Leon Russell, and learn of the relationship between the Crew and such legends as Phil Spector and Jimmy Webb. Hartman also takes us inside the studio for the legendary sessions that gave us Pet Sounds, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and the rock classic "Layla," which Wrecking Crew drummer Jim Gordon cowrote with Eric Clapton for Derek and the Dominos. And the author recounts priceless scenes such as Mike Nesmith of the Monkees facing off with studio head Don Kirshner, Grass Roots lead guitarist (and future star of The Office) Creed Bratton getting fired from the group, and Michel Rubini unseating Frank Sinatra's pianist for the session in which the iconic singer improvised the hit-making ending to "Strangers in the Night."
The Wrecking Crew tells the collective, behind-the-scenes stories of the artists who dominated Top 40 radio during the most exciting time in American popular culture.
"[The Wrecking Crew] has the . . . potent excitement of a collection of greatest hits. It makes good music sound better." ---Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Part Hit Men
and part Laurel Canyon
, this hidden history of rock and roll chronicles the uncredited studio musicians who provided the soundtrack for a generation during the 1960s and 1970s.
About the Author
Kent Hartman is a longtime music industry entrepreneur who has worked with dozens of well-known artists, including Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, Hall and Oates, Counting Crows, and Lyle Lovett. He has written for American Heritage, the Oregonian, and the Portland Tribune. Hartman teaches marketing at Portland State University and for several years produced the Classic Comedy Break, a nationwide radio feature. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Dan John Miller is an American actor and musician. In the Oscar-winning Walk the Line, he starred as Johnny Cash's guitarist and best friend, Luther Perkins, and has also appeared in George Clooney's Leatherheads and My One and Only, with Renee Zellweger. An award-winning audiobook narrator, Dan has garnered multiple Audie Award nominations, winning for The Wrecking Crew by Kent Hartman; has twice been named a Best Voice by AudioFile magazine; and has received several AudioFile Golden Earphones Awards and a Listen-Up Award from Publishers Weekly. He has narrated books by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Philip Roth as well as by Pat Conroy, Andre Dubus III, John Green, Nora Roberts, and Dean Koontz. Dan lives in the Detroit, Michigan, area with his wife, Tracee Mae, and their daughter, Frances Rose.