“THE WRECKING CREW” My rating: B- (Opens April 24 at the Tivoli)
101 minutes | MPAA rating: PG
The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” LP. The Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Virtually anything by the Monkees.
The instrumental backing for these classic recordings was provided not by the groups whose names were on the record label but by anonymous studio musicians who earned millions creating the hooks, beats and arrangements that translated into monster record sales.
These L.A.-based players — there were perhaps two dozen of them — came to be known as the Wrecking Crew. They were given that nickname by old-time record producers who in the early ’60s viewed these blue-jeaned, T-shirted newcomers as a threat that would wreck the recording industry.
Didn’t work out that way.
Denny Tedesco’s long-in-limbo documentary “The Wrecking Crew” — it made the festival rounds in 2008 but its commercial release was delayed by years of negotiations over the music rights — is the filmmaker’s tribute to his late father (legendary session guitarist Tommy Tedesco, who died in 1997) and to a generation of brilliant musicians.
The Crew wasn’t an organized group. The musicians individually contracted to play at recording sessions (sometimes several in one day), and as the best of the best they kept bumping into one another. Friendships and musical relationships were formed.
Following on the heels of other recent docs taking us back to the formative years of rock ‘n’ roll — “20 Feet from Stardom,” “Muscle Shoals” — this piece provides talking-head conversations (with the likes of Dick Clark, Lou Adler, Herb Alpert, Leon Russell, Jimmy Webb, Brian Wilson), archival footage and photos, and a treasure trove of great tunes.