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The Wrecking Crew

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01:41:53   |   May 10, 2019

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The Wrecking Crew
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  • (instruments warming up)
  • Brad: This sound we're going to record with a tape recorder.
  • - Man: Brad? - Brad: Here we go.
  • - Man: Brad? - Brad: Yes.
  • Do you want me to lay out again
  • after that instrumental break,
  • and then come back in with the fours
  • t oward the end of the, uh-- like, before "C"?
  • Brad: We'll have you wail on that baby, for the instrument...
  • Here we go! This'll be what?
  • Engineer: Okay, take two.
  • (The Beach Boys' Good Vibrations )
  • ♪ Close my eyes, she's somehow closer now ♪
  • (radio dial changing)
  • - (bass drum and snare) - (radio dial changing)
  • (Wayne Newton's Danke Shoen)
  • Danke shoen
  • - ♪ Darling, danke shoen ♪ - (radio dial changing)
  • (guitar lick)
  • - (radio dial changing) - (surf rock)
  • (radio dial changing)
  • (Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass' Spanish Flea)
  • - (radio dial changing) - (Chris Montez's Let's Dance)
  • ♪ Let's dance Oh, let's dance ♪
  • - ♪ Oh, let's dance ♪ - (radio dial changing)
  • (Frank Sinatra's Strangers in the Night )
  • Strangers in the night ♪
  • (static sound)
  • - Alvin! - Okay!
  • - (record speeding up) - (radio dial changing)
  • V.A.H.J., Los Angeles
  • (The 5th Dimension's Up, Up and Away)
  • DJ: It's 5:00 in Los Angeles!
  • ♪ Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon? ♪
  • (radio static)
  • (The Marketts' Surfer's Stomp)
  • The Wrecking Crew was the focal point of the music.
  • They were the ones with all the spirit,
  • and all the know-how,
  • especially for rock and roll music.
  • (The Beach Boys' California Girls)
  • (The Crystals' Then He Kissed Me)
  • Dick Clark: In the hardcore producing area,
  • everybody knew what went on there.
  • I mean, everybody knew that the best musicians
  • played on all the sessions,
  • but we as the general public didn't know.
  • I had no idea that certain people
  • didn't play their own records until The Monkees came along.
  • (The Mamas & The Papas' California Dreamin')
  • They played so well, and they played so well together.
  • I think they were so into that. They all respected each other,
  • and they all would sit and hang--
  • You know, talk in between takes and hang.
  • I mean, it was like-- it was a social event
  • for these guys too.
  • What was nice about that unit
  • was that they played together a lot.
  • And so they were an established groove machine.
  • They knew each other.
  • So you could really count on what they had to offer.
  • (Frank Sinatra's That's Life)
  • - ♪ That's life ♪ - ♪ That's life ♪
  • We played on everybody's.
  • The Lazy-Crazy-Hazy Days of Summer album
  • with Nat King Cole, it was the same guys doing that
  • that was doing The Beach Boys.
  • The musicians were really the unsung heroes
  • of all those hit records.
  • (The Righteous Brothers' You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling)
  • ♪ You've lost that lovin' feeling ♪
  • Micky Dolenz: When I listen to the records,
  • it is so apparent that these guys
  • were just really so good.
  • And you can see why everybody used 'em, you know?
  • Because they were so tight.
  • They were the stone cold rock and roll professionals,
  • and there may never, ever be
  • a group of rock and roll musicians
  • of that caliber again.
  • (Nancy Sinatra's These Boots Are Made For Walkin')
  • ♪ Are you ready, boots? ♪
  • ♪ Start walking! ♪
  • The chances are, you didn't know his name.
  • But it's likely you sang and hummed along with his music.
  • Famed studio guitarist Tommy Tedesco has died.
  • I'm Kurt Loder with an MTV news brief.
  • Tommy Tedesco was arguably
  • the king of Los Angeles session guitarists.
  • You've probably never heard his name
  • or heard him speak, but listen.
  • He is someone you've heard before.
  • (theme to Bonanza )
  • He was featured in the theme to Bonanza ...
  • (theme to Batman )
  • in Batman.
  • The chores!
  • The stores!
  • Tedesco died of cancer Monday
  • at his home in Northridge, California,
  • at the age of 67.
  • While his name may not be immediately familiar
  • to everyone, some aspect of his music almost certainly is.
  • Here's the irony.
  • You spend your whole life playing guitar,
  • creating guitar licks that people
  • all around the world recognize.
  • But nobody knows your name, until you're dead.
  • And then, even in the end,
  • they misspell your name and call you...
  • - " Tony Tedesco." - . .. instead of Tommy.
  • (M.A.S.H theme's Suicide Is Painless )
  • Tommy was not only a legendary guitarist.
  • He was my father.
  • And he was also a member of an elite group
  • of studio musicians.
  • So what follows is the story of my father
  • and his extended family, The Wrecking Crew.
  • (The McCoys' Hang On Sloopy )
  • Hondells, Marketts, Routers--
  • We'd cut the tracks and the records,
  • and then they'd form a group to be that group.
  • People were really not focused
  • on the long, drawn-out album recording sessions.
  • Four songs in three hours.
  • It's only a certain group of guys can do that.
  • A lot of the recording came out here.
  • That's when you had an influx of a lot of New York musicians.
  • That was in the mid-'60s,
  • when they started flowing out here.
  • Then it became a flood around that time.
  • (Sam Cooke's Twistin' The Night Away)
  • ♪ Let me tell you about a place ♪
  • This led to a surge of work
  • for the L.A. studio musicians.
  • Not all of 'em, but a small group,
  • who later became known as The Wrecking Crew.
  • ♪ Twistin' the night away ♪
  • ♪ Here they have a lot of fun Puttin' trouble on the run ♪
  • It wasn't an organized band of musicians
  • that set out to take over rock and roll.
  • And I can't tell you exactly who was part of this
  • hit-making machine.
  • Even the musicians that were part of this scene
  • couldn't come to an agreement.
  • Twelve, 15 people.
  • Maybe what, 20 of us?
  • Thirty, maybe?
  • It was probably 20 musicians,
  • or maybe a few more,
  • counting the string players, of course.
  • They were doing all the sessions.
  • Jimmy Webb : They were a product of the '40s, '50s, and '60s.
  • And they were great musicians
  • who came of age when rock and roll came of age.
  • And here they are at the height of their physical powers
  • with all of this talent.
  • And they're in the right place. And it's the right time,
  • and so they get to do this.
  • (The Association's Windy)
  • Who's peeking out from under a stairway
  • On the first day of shooting, I brought
  • four of L.A.'s greatest session players together.
  • Carol Kaye, Plas Johnson
  • and Hal Blaine, along with my father.
  • It was probably the first time that all four
  • had been in the same room in about 20 years.
  • - Tommy: Do you recognize me-- - Carol: You've lost weight!
  • And all you have to do is just get sick.
  • (laughter)
  • Cameraman : Rolling.
  • (The Association's Windy music continues)
  • - Cameraman: Rolling. - Man: Okay, the question is--
  • This is not, uh--
  • You know, if all the guys that had been in the studios--
  • God bless 'em all-- For 20, 30 years,
  • they all wore the blue blazers, the neck ties,
  • and there was no talking, no smoking, and no nothing.
  • And we came in there with Levis and t-shirts,
  • smoking cigarettes, whatever we're--
  • - Man: Yeah. - And the older guys
  • were saying, "They're gonna wreck the business."
  • You know, "They are gonna wreck the music business."
  • We didn't have the respect that the older guys had.
  • Remember the older studio players,
  • Barney Kessels, and the Lloyd Elliots,
  • - all these people? - Carol: Yeah, exactly.
  • Well, that's how that whole wrecking crew thing came in.
  • Even though the term "The Wrecking Crew"
  • gained popularity with rock historians,
  • many of these musicians never heard the term
  • until years later.
  • I think Hal Blaine was the first one I heard it from.
  • - Yeah, it-- - He probably
  • came up with the name.
  • I think it kind of evolved really.
  • - There was-- - The first time I heard
  • the name, I think was at The Baked Potato,
  • where they had that get-together.
  • They used the expression "the wrecking crew."
  • Well, it was used before that.
  • It was used while we were recording.
  • And the definition of who was a member of The Wrecking Crew,
  • there really isn't any definition.
  • Between the engineers, producers
  • and musicians themselves,
  • each has their own take on how this all went down.
  • Together, they form a snapshot of a time
  • that will never be repeated.
  • Anybody could do five or six different things
  • on as many different instruments also.
  • There were a lot of producers at that time
  • that were not really musicians,
  • so these guys were able to decode--
  • He's talking about me, by the way, so--
  • No, I mean, there were some producers
  • that really just, you know,
  • didn't really know the musicians' language,
  • and these guys were able to just quickly interpret it.
  • The people we're talking about
  • played for so many people
  • in so many different styles.
  • That's a fascinating thing.
  • They could walk into, uh, a pop sound, and play it.
  • They could do rhythm and blues.
  • They could do soul music.
  • I guess they could have done classics if they'd had to,
  • but they had the magic touch.
  • We injected a lot of ourself into it,
  • because we were experts at doing it.
  • We were doing it all the time.
  • A guy would give us a lead sheet or something,
  • and we'd know what the song was.
  • We made up a lot of arrangements and so forth
  • on that set, ourselves on those things.
  • Carol: Here's the way that The Beat Goes On sounded
  • when we first heard it.
  • La-de-da-da-dum
  • - (chuckles) - ♪ Da-da-da-da-da-da
  • (chuckles)
  • ♪ Da-duh-da-de-de-de de-de-de-de ♪
  • I said, "Uh-oh, we need to pull
  • a rabbit out of a hat for this one," you know?
  • It was our job to come up with riffs and stuff,
  • so about the third line I came up with was:
  • ♪ (playing bass guitar) ♪
  • ♪ Ba-de-da-da-dah ♪
  • Da-da-da-da-da-dah
  • And Sonny loved it and he gave it to Bob West,
  • the bass player, to play it. And both of us are playing it
  • throughout the tune. And without a good bass line,
  • the tune doesn't pop, you know,
  • it doesn't snap, you know, like a big hit record.
  • (Sonny and Cher's The Beat Goes On )
  • The beat goes on ♪
  • I've always said, "They put notes on paper.
  • They put notes on paper,
  • but that's not music." You make the music.
  • What do you do with the notes?
  • - Right. - What you do with the charts?
  • - Absolutely. - What you do with the chords?
  • Other than that, they can call the union
  • - for a guitar player. - That's right, so--
  • So it's what you put into it,
  • because how many days are, in fact, we're all here.
  • And it's what you put into it that's not written.
  • Yeah, well, in fact, everybody can-- that's sitting here,
  • I remember doing different things
  • that weren't ever even thought about.
  • And then, all of a sudden, become part of the record,
  • and part of signature of the record.
  • We all used to produce our own parts. It's that simple.
  • - Oh, yeah, yeah. - To make it swing, yeah.
  • (rock and roll music)
  • You know, the first thing that I ever did
  • that smacked of any kind of rock and roll
  • was some kind of date, which I don't even know
  • who the artist was. There wasn't a minor 7th chord
  • in the bushel, you know? It was all pretty vanilla.
  • That's when I knew something was different.
  • At the time, I was doing the Ozzie And Harriet TV show.
  • - Ah. - Then all of a sudden,
  • you know, I'm doing this show. And then, they--
  • One day, they come up with-- Well, Jimmie Haskell comes up...
  • - with Ricky Nelson. - And with Ricky Nelson, said...
  • - It's rock and roll. - "We're doing
  • this rock and roll stuff."
  • I don't know what they're talking about.
  • Just laid out a chord sheet, and says,
  • - "Play behind Ricky Nelson." - (laughs)
  • So pretty soon, you've ended up--
  • We were starting to get involved in this.
  • ♪ So open up your heart and let this fool rush in ♪
  • That's what took me to L.A. in-- In 196--
  • Summer of 1960, uh, to play in the Ricky Nelson band.
  • ♪ Fools rush in ♪
  • Working with those people like that
  • was a perfect showcase for what would happen later.
  • Which I had no idea that I would ever be
  • the "session" player.
  • I didn't even know what that meant.
  • Carol: We learned how to play rock and roll
  • right there on the job.
  • Hey, you know, if they want this...
  • (plays guitar)
  • I can do that. (chuckles)
  • You know, that's Latin-- That's Latin music.
  • (scatting)
  • (plays guitar)
  • That's nothing, you know.
  • You can do that all day long.
  • There were some purists, like there is
  • in every way of life, some people will not compromise.
  • Not that they couldn't. They wouldn't, most of the time,
  • permit themselves to, you know--
  • They felt that they were at a certain level.
  • And playing rock and roll
  • was perhaps a little bit beneath them.
  • And they didn't want to get into it,
  • whereas, our guys, we welcomed the rock and roll.
  • They didn't play that shit. they didn't know about it.
  • They didn't like it.
  • And I started out playing demos mainly,
  • you know, $10 a song, and I got to eat that day, and--
  • I had three kids to earn a living, and that's it.
  • And the money was important to pay the rent.
  • And so I did what all the rest of the guys did.
  • I got, uh, a fender guitar
  • and put the light gauge strings where you could
  • bend 'em from here to Christmas.
  • And listened to some of the people that were doing this,
  • and the rock groups, and I got so I could play that stuff
  • better than they could.
  • The very first call I had ever had at Disney,
  • we got there a quarter to 12:00, and all the blue blazers
  • were leaving. And we're all sitting there,
  • and he makes a little speech about, "Ladies and gentlemen,
  • we brought you in here because in this particular film,
  • we're gonna do a little-- Some of your--
  • - your rock and roll music." - "Your rock and roll music"?
  • "It is this"-- Yeah. "There's a little scene here..."
  • - It always happens to me. - "...and we're gonna show it
  • to you," And it was a quick, little scene,
  • so he says, "Now, we have all the music for you.
  • It's there in front of you.
  • And we're gonna do this to what we call a 'click track.'"
  • Like, we didn't know anything was going on.
  • "We're gonna run the click very slow
  • so that you can all learn, study, and memorize this music."
  • And then he said, "Mary Anne, play the click much slower."
  • Well, she accidentally hit it,
  • and the minute we heard eight clicks,
  • ding-ding-ding-ding-ding- ding-ding-ding, we're in.
  • And we play this thing front to back.
  • And when we finished, this guy said,
  • "How in the-- man, you did it perfect.
  • - I wish we'd have made that." - "Made it." (laughs)
  • "How in the world could you do that?"
  • And Tommy said, "We practice a lot during the day."
  • - All: (laughter) - It was perfect, 'cause they--
  • they thought you were a complete idiot.
  • I mean, it was unbelievable.
  • (rock and roll music)
  • Most of the music and the money--
  • I was about to say-- It was a Freudian slip, but true--
  • came out of the Brill building in New York.
  • It was New York-based, New York writers,
  • New York singers, New York musicians.
  • The music business was in New York city,
  • period, at that time.
  • Rolling master "A."
  • Master "A," take one. Here we go, rolling.
  • (rock and roll music)
  • I saw me that woman
  • H.B. Barnum: Say, Chess Records back in Cincinnati.
  • But there were only maybe one guitar player,
  • one bass player, one piano player,
  • so it could almost get held up by those one or two guys.
  • Well, they could come to Los Angeles,
  • and they-- It wouldn't matter if they could call
  • a matter of 10 or 12 different guitar players,
  • all of them would be equally as good
  • to do what they wanted done,
  • plus we had more studios out here.
  • A lot of the musicians that were back east,
  • and in Nashville, a lot of 'em came out here
  • to seek their fame and fortune.
  • This was an untapped place for--
  • for new artists to record too.
  • Lee Hazlewood told me he went back to New York
  • to do a session, and he just kind of walked
  • over to the guitar player, and said,
  • "Hey, could you play me this little thing?"
  • And the guy said, "Write it out."
  • (laughs) And the guy just refused
  • to experiment and try anything. Like, if it wasn't written out,
  • he wasn't gonna play it. You had young musicians
  • who were willing to contribute
  • and come up with ideas, you know,
  • and I think that was the difference.
  • I don't think it's any secret.
  • The '60s called all of the music to the west.
  • L.A. was the place to be.
  • If you wanted the best, they were right here, in Los Angeles.
  • (The Beach Boys' California Girls)
  • I wish they all could be California girls
  • Wish they all could be California
  • It was a rougher, looser sound
  • than what was coming out of New York,
  • having a lot to do with, I guess, the musicians
  • that we were using, 'cause they were fresh to the sound.
  • All: ♪ Beach blanket bingo ♪
  • That's the name of the-- ♪
  • That's the name of the-- ♪
  • That's the name of the game ♪
  • ♪ Bingo! ♪
  • Hal, you started the surf
  • and Earl started that double time, you know.
  • Because we were bored,
  • we'd go, ♪ Toonka-bonga, toonga-bong -- ♪
  • Oh, yeah. ♪ Dun-dun-do-do ♪
  • Do-do-du-do do-do-do-do, do-do ♪
  • You know-- You know, we doubled it up and made it sweet.
  • Yeah, it was sort of like east coast/west coast jazz.
  • There was really a distinct difference.
  • And at-- for those years, the record producers
  • - chose the west coast. - Yeah,
  • and the hits started coming out of here.
  • (The Beach Boys' Surf City )
  • Two girls for every boy ♪
  • This was where the youthful movies
  • were being made. Everybody wanted to be a surfer.
  • Whether you were white or black or lived
  • in the middle of the desert, you wanted to have a surfboard.
  • It was crazy. And along with it
  • came young music, and it was created here.
  • Beach beauties everywhere, and art lovers willing to look.
  • This is paradise for thousands of sun worshipers,
  • Californians by birth or adoption.
  • I remember the perfumed air, the night-blooming jasmine,
  • and all the kind of plants that grow
  • in Southern California, and how dreamy it all was.
  • It was the sound of The Beach Boys
  • kind of wafting through from house to house,
  • you know, almost the same record just repeating,
  • and the idea that, "Hey, this is real.
  • this is the culture here, is this beach thing."
  • - The Beach Boys! - (girls screaming)
  • Thank you very much.
  • Right now, we'd like to show you how The Beach Boys
  • go about making a record.
  • We start with Denny Wilson on the drums...
  • (girls screaming)
  • ...followed by Al Jardine on rhythm guitar...
  • (cheers and applause)
  • ...helped out by Carl "lead guitar" Wilson...
  • (cheers and applause)
  • ...and filled out instrumentally by our leader,
  • Brian Wilson on the bass.
  • (cheers and applause)
  • When we're ready to sing, we step up to the microphones,
  • and it comes out something like this.
  • (The Beach Boys' Fun, Fun, Fun )
  • Brian Wilson: I went to Gold Star,
  • and I met musicians' favorite, Phil Spector,
  • And I immediately had Steve Douglas start booking,
  • you know, the re-- They're called the regulars,
  • The Wrecking Crew. And he started booking them
  • for me in my studio in Western.
  • Session players were brought in by producers
  • for a variety of reason.
  • In fact, most of the mid-1960s, beach boys backing tracks
  • didn't feature any of The Beach Boys.
  • It was Brian Wilson's decision to push the music
  • to another level. And to do that,
  • he enlisted the best of L.A.
  • We were on the road 150 days a year.
  • Brian was getting a little bit more complex
  • in his arrangements. And it just got to be too difficult
  • to-- to coordinate our itineraries.
  • And that's when The Wrecking Crew stepped in.
  • When I heard that some of the guys sat in
  • for some of The Beach Boys, that surprised me.
  • But in truth, at that point,
  • The Beach Boys were Brian Wilson.
  • He created it all.
  • He was very self-assured, very much in control.
  • He brought in the charts that he wrote himself.
  • And most of the time, I mean, the music was entirely his.
  • I mean, there were very few times that we made up
  • - licks on his stuff. Yeah. - ...musically correct.
  • He had in his head what he wanted.
  • First album, it was-- (stammering)
  • Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!),
  • The Beach Boy album.
  • Ray Pohlman was a great bass player, really good.
  • Steve Douglas was, like, so on-the-mark
  • as a saxophone player. He just blew my mind.
  • He played with such finesse, you know?
  • And he used to get real close to the microphone
  • to get the best benefit of his instrument.
  • They were all-- The Wrecking Crew-- They were just great.
  • The Beach Boys: (singing) ♪ Help me Rhonda ♪
  • Help, help me Rhonda Bow, bow, bow, bow ♪
  • ♪ Help me Rhonda Help, help me Rhonda ♪
  • Help me Rhonda Help, help me Rhonda ♪
  • ♪ Bow, bow, bow, bow ♪
  • Help me Rhonda, yeah Get her out of my heart ♪
  • Brian was a genius. I mean, he would just--
  • (whistles)
  • He was just good as I've ever seen, I believe,
  • about putting things together.
  • Western studio, and there was probably...
  • fifteen, 20 guys in that studio.
  • He'd start at the first guy...
  • and he'd sing 'em their part until they got it,
  • and second guy, he'd sing their part,
  • and the third guy, all the way around the room.
  • Then he'd go back to the first guy.
  • Well, the first guy had forgot his part
  • and he'd sing it again, sang a second--
  • He taught the whole thing by rote.
  • And all of a sudden, that whole band
  • could play that shit. I mean, Brian is--
  • When you want to talk about genius,
  • he's-- There's not any more like him that I know of.
  • I mean, he's unbelievable.
  • Pet Sounds was an incredibly important record,
  • and still stands there, like, "Okay, top this," you know?
  • George Martin told me Sgt. Pepper was an attempt--
  • It was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds.
  • So it was an incredibly influential record
  • and I think it had an electromagnetic field.
  • And people were drawn here, and wanted to be a part of that,
  • and wanted to make records like that.
  • Good Vibrations, we must have done 25, 30 sessions.
  • It might take six months to do.
  • Some days, we worked five minutes.
  • - Some days, four hours. - Yeah.
  • - On the same song. - We just-- We experimented.
  • And they would ask me, "Well, what do you want?"
  • And I'd say, "well, I don't know," you know?
  • and we'd go home, and the next time we get together,
  • then we would fall together, and we'd do the thing.
  • Three months, two, three dates a week,
  • but Capitol Records was picking up the tab.
  • Carol: And we liked to work for him.
  • The word was, "Do you have the date
  • with Brian Wilson tomorrow?"
  • I'd say, "Yeah, I do." "Oh, good."
  • Well, Carol played on Good Vibrations
  • and California Girls, and she was, like,
  • the star of the show. I mean, she was
  • the greatest bass player in the world.
  • And she was way ahead of her time.
  • She would play a tonic in a fifth
  • or a third instead of a fifth, you know.
  • She was one of the first bass players
  • to start playing that way.
  • But he definitely wrote out some neat lines on the bass,
  • like, for instance:
  • (strumming bass guitar line of Good Vibrations )
  • I'd never played that.
  • (continues strumming bass guitar line of Good Vibrations )
  • I'll just go into this...
  • (continues strumming bass guitar line of Good Vibrations )
  • Now, that's a jazz walking line.
  • You knew that this kid was into something really, really great.
  • The room had a spirit to it, with Hal being the leader,
  • you know, and all the guys
  • working together, and thumping and pumping.
  • He would get things like he wanted to hear them.
  • And when he got 'em that way, it was good.
  • When I heard G ood Vibrations the first time on the radio,
  • I just-- It just blew me away.
  • ♪ Close my eyes She's somehow closer now ♪
  • Softly smile I know she must be kind ♪
  • ♪ When I look in her eyes ♪
  • She goes with me to a blossom world ♪
  • Man: Now.
  • Very good.
  • I remember Carol though. I still have to remember,
  • 'cause your favorite thing, no matter what day we went on
  • after that, "Would you like me to use my Beach Boy pick?"
  • - (laughter) - And so she'd
  • impress the shit out of-- This one, and--
  • She picked it up on her way to the studio.
  • And they're looking at this pick,
  • - and they're looking at her. - Carol: You have to sell it,
  • - you know. - She was selling this shit
  • like I couldn't believe. One little pick made this girl
  • hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • (instrumental music)
  • (Tommy Tedesco trio's Pasta Nova )
  • I was very jealous of the guitar
  • when we were first dating and got engaged,
  • and he paid a lot more attention to the guitar, I felt.
  • So I gave him an ultimatum, "It's me or the guitar."
  • And he said, "Honey, the guitar doesn't have legs.
  • you do." (chuckles)
  • I got so upset with him, I took my ring
  • and I threw it at him.
  • Then I went looking for it. (laughs)
  • And I was one of these late starters in life.
  • I wasn't one of these guys that you read about in the books.
  • You know, you read these articles
  • in Guitar Player magazine, the guy says,
  • "Well, when I was 12 years old,
  • I had the chops of a reindeer and all this stuff, you know."
  • (audience laughing)
  • When I was 12 years old, I was playing marbles myself,
  • I don't know, you know. And when I was 24,
  • I was at Douglas Aircraft, you know, moving boxes
  • - and trying to play guitar. - (strumming guitar)
  • I was 24, I was still into this.
  • "Wow, I'm in seventh position." (mumbling)
  • And I finally learned one hip chord.
  • - Whoa. - (laughter)
  • So I'm not one of them guys you read about.
  • We went to the prom, and Ralph Marterie
  • was playing the dance. We found out
  • that their guitar player was leaving that night.
  • And he tried out, auditioned,
  • and he was hired right then and there.
  • It was on a Friday night, and the Saturday night,
  • he left for New York city.
  • (Ralph Marterie's The Moon Is Blue )
  • - Interviewer: Tell the truth. - Okay, you got to let go.
  • (laughing)
  • Marterie was going to get a guitar/singer,
  • so that he could only pay for one guy.
  • He decided he knew there was nothing there
  • in Niagara Falls for him.
  • He wanted to go to California to play.
  • While my father struggled to find work playing guitar,
  • he had to make ends meet working in a warehouse.
  • He always said it was the best job he ever had.
  • He hated it so much, it made him practice every day.
  • I was told by two guys before we left,
  • "He's never gonna make it."
  • So after seven months of struggling here,
  • daddy wanted to go back, and I said, "There's no way,"
  • because I wasn't giving in to those two guys.
  • (laughing)
  • And that's why dad said, "My stubborn Sicilian wife."
  • In fact, my wife was behind me 100%,
  • like, all the time I work. And she's-- It was "You tour."
  • She was working, she took the calls,
  • she didn't-- never complained.
  • I would come in at 11:00 or 10:00,
  • I'd see my kids whenever.
  • My wife accepted it, this was our living,
  • our whole family took it exactly that way.
  • Every once in a while, a musician's wife
  • would come and complain to her,
  • and she'd talk to them. She'd say,
  • "Well, look, that's his living."
  • Well, Carmie never talked to Barbara the Barbarian.
  • - (laughter) - Whoa-ho-ho-ho.
  • My father would say, "There are only four reasons
  • to take a gig:
  • for the money, for the connections,
  • for the experience, or just for fun."
  • I got to tell you a story about your dad.
  • We were in Western studio three there,
  • and, uh, Jan Berry of Jan and Dean,
  • he counted the song, "Everybody ready? Yeah. Okay."
  • Tedesco started playing, (imitating guitar playing)
  • and Jan says, "Stop, wait." And he went over and looked,
  • and he said, "Tedesco, what are you doing?"
  • (chuckles) He-- Tommy--
  • The music was upside down,
  • and Tommy was reading it backwards.
  • Now, that's a true story,
  • but you talk about getting a laugh out of it.
  • Tommy was a cut-up.
  • (The Crystals' Da Doo Ron Ron )
  • And when he walked me home ♪
  • Da doo ron-ron-ron da doo ron-ron ♪
  • ♪ Every evening when the sun goes down ♪
  • ♪ Woo-ooo-oo-ooo-oo ♪
  • Hold it, cut it.
  • - ♪ I lay my head-- ♪ - Darlene...
  • Cher: There was an energy that Phillip would get.
  • I remember, Phillip would be so excited about every session.
  • There was just a vitality in the room that was--
  • would lift you off of your feet.
  • And also there'd be so many players
  • and the sound would be so huge.
  • I mean, it was definitely-- That wall of sound was really--
  • It was really there.
  • I never was in the studio
  • that there were any different guys.
  • it was the same guys always.
  • (The Crystals' Then He Kissed Me )
  • Well, he walked up to me ♪
  • ♪ And he asked me if I wanted to dance ♪
  • The "wall of sound" was the Gold Star echo chambers,
  • - mainly. - Well, it was wall-to-wall
  • - musicians first of all. - Yeah, that's true.
  • Most people'd use a four-piece rhythm section.
  • He had four guitars, or six, or seven.
  • There were four pianos always,
  • one upright bass, one fender bass.
  • I mean, it was only one drums, usually.
  • Fifteen people playing percussion instruments.
  • - In a very small room. - Yeah.
  • Not a small room, but an average room.
  • And a huge echo chamber that Gold Star
  • was famous for, that was the wall of sound.
  • Ceramic walls.
  • - One, two, three. - (piano intro)
  • ♪ Every evening when the sun goes down ♪
  • ♪ Woo-ooo-oo-ooo-oo ♪
  • - Good. - The wall of sound
  • of Phil Spector's more like a lost feeling.
  • it's heavy on You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin',
  • and it was-- He used the echo so much,
  • and it was swimming all the time.
  • In spite of the baffles, we all leaked
  • into each other's mics, just enough to give it
  • the combination of leakage and echo, plus we were tired.
  • By the 30th take, you're tired, you know.
  • So it had a real relaxed feeling on his hits.
  • You've lost that lovin' feelin' ♪
  • Now it's gone, gone, gone ♪
  • ♪ Whoa-ooh-whoa-oh ♪
  • It's the most played song of all time.
  • Oh, I believe it, yeah.
  • Most played record of all time.
  • Cher: They were the whole sound that Phillip had.
  • Phillip was also really, really superstitious,
  • and he didn't-- He wanted those guys,
  • and he always wanted those guys, you know?
  • He felt only secure when he was playing with those guys.
  • Same musicians, same engineers, same studio,
  • same, probably, brand of tape.
  • Lew: Yeah, probably. - Um...
  • It was just a thing that he figured if he didn't
  • do it that way, it wouldn't be a hit.
  • - And he was probably right. - He was probably right.
  • And we're grateful for that. (chuckles)
  • - (piano playing) - Woman: G-minor seventh.
  • You know, Phillip was walking in a different universe
  • than everybody else. And so in his mind, it was all him,
  • you know, and the guys were just some sort of
  • an extension of what he couldn't do.
  • Phil would never record anything
  • for the first three hours.
  • I mean, he worked these guys
  • so that they weren't playing
  • individualistic. They were too tired.
  • And so they just melded into this--
  • this wall of sound.
  • Phil leaned on Howard very, very heavy
  • about how to play, and just kept on it, and on it, and on it.
  • And wasn't satisfied or something,
  • and made 'em kept playing over, and over, and over,
  • and over again for hours
  • until Howard's hands were just a mass of pain.
  • "No, no, no, no, this way." Howard says, "Look, man,
  • "if I can't play it, and you know what it is,
  • why don't you play it?"
  • Howard Robert's the only guy that I ever saw
  • walk out of a session,
  • where he just put everything down,
  • picked up his guitar and his amp,
  • and he walked out. He said, "I've had enough of this."
  • He was very demanding. I had no problem with Phil.
  • I guess it's because he knew that I always knew
  • that I wasn't the original drummer,
  • 'cause if I'd have had a problem, I'd walked out.
  • Who was he gonna get?
  • He'd already, you know, had his argument with Al,
  • maybe Al wouldn't have came back.
  • So-- So, we got along fine.
  • Cher: They made fun of him all the time,
  • but they really liked him.
  • I think they really respected him.
  • They thought he was nuts, which, of course, he was,
  • but I think they always looked forward to it
  • because it was always gonna be something really cool.
  • It was like a total thing friendship too,
  • 'cause they would come in and they would be talking about,
  • you know, "What'd you do on the golf course?"
  • or, you know, that someone had this car or so--
  • There was always a Mad magazine too,
  • being passed around that somebody brought, you know.
  • ♪ Da do ron-ron ♪
  • Brian: I was in awe of them because of Phil Spector, that--
  • It took me a couple times to get used to,
  • you know, being with the guys, you know.
  • Any memories of Be My Baby the first time you heard it?
  • Oh, I pulled my car over to the side of the road,
  • said, "What am I listening to here," you know?
  • I couldn't believe it.
  • I instantly wrote Don't Worry Baby
  • after I heard that. Yeah.
  • I was so inspired. I couldn't believe it.
  • Be my baby now ♪
  • Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh
  • ♪ Be my, be my baby ♪
  • ♪ Be my little baby ♪
  • - ♪ My one and only baby ♪ - ♪ Oh ♪
  • - ♪ Be my, be my baby ♪ - ♪ Oh ♪
  • - ♪ My one and only baby ♪ - ♪ Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh ♪
  • Be my... ♪
  • And do I love you? My, oh, my ♪
  • ♪ Yeah, river deep, mountain high ♪
  • ♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah ♪
  • By the time we got to River deep - Mountain High,
  • we all thought that was gonna be a giant of a hit.
  • It was another wall of sound hit,
  • but it flopped.
  • It was a big hit in the U.K., but in the USA,
  • it was his first downer.
  • And it was like, "Okay, that style is going then.
  • The wall of sound was over then."
  • ♪ But if you ever loved me ♪
  • (bass guitar playing)
  • Man: One of the boys. One of the boys.
  • Carol : One of the guys, yeah.
  • If sexual harassment suits were in there, she'd be
  • - seven millionaires right now, - (laughter)
  • ...after what we put her through.
  • She'd have all the lawyers working for-- Against us.
  • (laughs)
  • I don't think anyone ever really felt
  • that she was a woman-woman, and I don't mean that detrimentally.
  • - No, we were musicians. - Yeah.
  • Everything was music-- music, really.
  • - Yeah. - Worse than that
  • would have been... shutting her out
  • and not sharing the camaraderie.
  • (playing Mission: Impossible theme song)
  • And this is the only one I had to really palm mute
  • to get the treble out.
  • (continues playing Mission: Impossible theme song)
  • So you can hear that. Yeah.
  • Anyway, that's what I did, yeah.
  • And it's Earl Palmer on drums on that one.
  • Carol: I heard music as a kid
  • because my mother was a professional piano player.
  • She'd play in the back of the silent movie houses.
  • And my dad was a trombone player.
  • He played Dixieland bands, things like that.
  • So I heard music all the time.
  • If they didn't fight, they played music,
  • so you know-- you knew where it was coming from.
  • (laughs)
  • My mom and I were living in this housing project.
  • But my mom saved up her pennies
  • and there was a steel guitar salesman that came around.
  • And about three or four lessons for ten bucks,
  • so she opted for that. And I was about 13 then.
  • About that time, I started playing gigs on guitar.
  • Boom-pa, doo-da, doo-da, doo-da, doo-da ♪
  • ♪ D oo-da, doo-da, doo ♪
  • And little Latin things.
  • So it was a lot of great experience, you know...
  • (playing jazz music)
  • ...that kind of stuff, heavy-duty jazz.
  • And it was fun, and I was playing
  • a lot in the black clubs.
  • And very accepted too, by the way.
  • I had made a name for myself.
  • There were a lot of women around that played jazz
  • and were in pop bands of their own,
  • so it wasn't that unusual.
  • But most women back in those days, in the '50s,
  • would play until they got married.
  • it was more important to have a "Mrs." in front of your name
  • than it was to have a career.
  • (Sam Cooke's Twistin' The Night Away )
  • Let me tell you 'bout a place ♪
  • Somewhere up-a New York way
  • ♪ Where the people are so gay ♪
  • Twistin' the night away ♪
  • Then the chance came to do studio work
  • in late 1957 for Sam Cooke.
  • And I'd never heard of Sam Cooke,
  • but they were short a guitar player.
  • As soon as I did my first date with Sam Cooke,
  • I got more money in three hours' work than I did
  • in a whole week's work of my day job.
  • Except they've got more than two dates a week.
  • They wanted our particular group of people
  • to cut the hit records, because we got good at it.
  • Ray Pohlman had a great sound.
  • He was the very first electric bass player
  • playing hits from about '57 on.
  • I'd say that he did maybe 85% of the hit records.
  • But Ray Pohlman got to be the musical conductor
  • for the Shindig show about the same time
  • I accidentally got on bass, so there was a big hole there.
  • People ask me all the time about being a woman
  • in a man's world.
  • I felt equal with the rest of the guys,
  • and they felt it too.
  • Sometimes they got a little testy.
  • They'd say, "Oh, you play good for a girl, Carol."
  • "Yeah, you play good for a guy too."
  • I love musicians and the humor
  • and the way that they play. And they all knew that.
  • And I think it was like a sister--
  • having a sister there.
  • I had my two kids and my mom to support by that time.
  • We would do three, four dates a day,
  • and I'd manage to get home to have dinner with the kids.
  • That's the only thing I regret, is that I didn't
  • spend more time with the kids.
  • But they were very well taken care of,
  • and they had good lives, you know.
  • Most of-- most of the time, they were fine.
  • (Jack Nitzsche's Puerto Vallarta )
  • You know, after looking at my father's work logs,
  • I came to realize he wasn't around
  • as much as I thought he was.
  • But when he was home, his focus was on his family.
  • He was one of the few studio guys
  • who found a balance between working crazy hours
  • and maintaining a pretty decent home life.
  • The truth is, I don't know how he did it.
  • Time was money, and you wouldn't last long
  • in any studio if you couldn't keep up.
  • The studio musicians in this town
  • were really looked up to and respected.
  • We were treated like...
  • "Our life depends on you guys."
  • Well, they were real session players.
  • They were guys that were going from gig to gig,
  • you know, playing on all the good music.
  • Gosh, there were so many things went on
  • and we were so busy.
  • I mean, we would go from one to the other to the other.
  • We used to call going from session to session
  • "dovetailing."
  • Jesus, when you leave the house
  • at 7:00 in the morning,
  • and you're at Universal at 9:00 till noon.
  • Now you're at Capitol Records at 1:00,
  • you just got time to get there,
  • and then you got a jingle at 4:00,
  • and then we were on a date with somebody at 8:00,
  • and then The Beach Boys at midnight,
  • and you do that five days a week...
  • Jeez, man, you get burned out.
  • At one time, we did an album
  • in a day, for Liberty Records.
  • Five, six weeks in a row, we'd do an album a day--
  • six tunes in the morning and six tunes in the evening.
  • When all the guys realized
  • that we were doing most of the dates, said,
  • "We'll get scale, or you'll get somebody else."
  • And, course, they didn't,
  • 'cause that was the tightest rhythm section
  • I believe I've ever played with.
  • (The 5th Dimension's Stoned Soul Picnic )
  • Can you surry? ♪
  • ♪ Can you picnic? Whoa, whoa ♪
  • Can you surry? Can you picnic?
  • Come on, come on and surry down ♪
  • ♪ T o a stoned soul picnic ♪
  • ♪ Surry down ♪
  • To a stoned soul picnic
  • There'll be lots of time and wine ♪
  • Red yellow honey, sassafras, and moonshine ♪
  • Red yellow honey, sassafras... ♪
  • I would not go in a studio
  • if I didn't have Tommy Tedesco, Hal Blaine,
  • people of that nature.
  • I just wouldn't go into a studio until they weren't busy.
  • But they were busy all the time.
  • No matter which producer I worked with,
  • whether it was Lee Hazlewood or Snuff Garrett,
  • they all used the same musicians.
  • They were all just the best.
  • If they couldn't get the guys, they didn't book the date.
  • They'd wait until the guys were available.
  • Which was wonderful.
  • Of course, their wives never saw them.
  • (both laughing)
  • I don't know how those guys could've worked any more,
  • unless they didn't sleep at all.
  • If you want to be successful in this business,
  • you never say no until you're too busy to say yes.
  • And I learned that by watching guys
  • who talked themselves out of careers
  • by saying, "No, it's not good enough.
  • I'm gonna wait till such-and-such and so-and-so."
  • Because if you wait at home for the phone to ring, it won't.
  • If you're a freelance musician,
  • you can't turn nothing down,
  • because there's somebody standing right behind you
  • who is salivating to do this work.
  • One day, I get a call from Ernie Freeman.
  • It was, like, 8:00 in the morning.
  • "Hi, Tom, I need a guitar player here at United.
  • How long will it take you to get there?"
  • I said, "20 minutes," which, you know,
  • is a lie. It's gonna take an hour.
  • But once I made my commitment, they've got
  • - to wait for me, right? - That's right.
  • When I go up there, I did my date, and he loved it.
  • And then he tells me, "You won't believe
  • what Bill Pitman said.
  • "I called bill and asked him,
  • 'Can you come down? I'm stuck.
  • How long will it be?' And Bill says,
  • 'Well, I'm having breakfast. I should be finished
  • in about 45 minutes, and I'll be there in an hour.'"
  • And if anybody ever figured Bill Pitman out,
  • that was a Bill Pitman-- straight life, not thinking.
  • And I'm the opposite, like, "What will work right now?"
  • Announcer: Now it's time for another take
  • of what probably will be another smash hit
  • in the wondrous world of Sonny and Cher.
  • Sonny himself writes most of the songs
  • he and Cher record.
  • Musicians often work with the couple,
  • and they're excellent sight readers.
  • Today, they're recording several songs
  • that will be part of an album called
  • The Wondrous World of Sonny & Cher,
  • the second album they've made together.
  • Now they're ready to record.
  • The engineer is set...
  • and they call, "Take one."
  • Were you ever intimidated by the guys?
  • No, I was too stupid to know.
  • Well, I was kind of shy of everybody.
  • First of all, they were a lot older than me too.
  • I mean, the first time-- session I went to,
  • I was 16 years old, and I didn't--
  • I'd never been inside a recording studio.
  • You know, I just didn't want to step
  • any place I wasn't supposed to step,
  • which I thought was everywhere.
  • And they all knew each other, they were really relaxed.
  • I mean, everybody was nice to me.
  • I really don't think I knew for a long time
  • just how great they were.
  • And then later, when I would meet other players
  • who would ask me, you know, did I--
  • Was I ever on a session with any of these guys?
  • There was a lot of honesty in those records
  • and that's why a lot of 'em were hits.
  • When I thought of the music, I thought I was a 13-year-old
  • trying to learn how to play music.
  • Every time I'd play. You know,
  • there was all them hits that was on--
  • The Marketts, Routers, all them solos. And then,
  • - I brought myself back. - Tongue in cheek.
  • I said, "How would a kid play this,
  • that's so stupid, that doesn't know what he's doing,
  • and play that?" I did that shit,
  • didn't know what I was doing, bending notes,
  • didn't care, didn't-- Awful, out of tune.
  • - Yeah. - What is this tune?
  • - Beatles? Cockroaches? - Some young group.
  • - I had no idea. - Cockroaches.
  • I didn't know them kind of names then.
  • Well, my personal feeling about the music
  • was that it was all wonderful
  • and I was making millions of dollars...
  • period.
  • Snuff: I didn't give a damn if Tommy liked it or not.
  • I didn't make it for him.
  • Like the artist.
  • Cher said she didn't like it.
  • Well, I didn't make it for her anyway.
  • I made it for people to buy,
  • not for Cher to listen to.
  • She never listened to Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves
  • or any other record I made with her... again.
  • Leon: It was Diamond Ring.
  • We cut that record, and I said,
  • "Oh, my God. I hate this shit."
  • Two weeks later, it was number ten or something.
  • So I have to give it to Snuff in terms of
  • a certain kind of pop awareness.
  • He had it, but it was not exactly my cup of tea.
  • The music that we cut in the '60s,
  • nobody thought that was gonna last, like, past ten years.
  • In fact, Bill Pitman says--
  • We were doing a chugga-chugga-chugga date,
  • he says, "Can you see the kids
  • dancing with their wives 20 years from now,
  • saying, 'Darling, they're playing our song'?"
  • I remember coming home from a session one day,
  • and it was just one of those three-chord sessions.
  • And when you're sitting there playing rhythm guitar,
  • there's not much you can do.
  • You just do it, get your money and go home.
  • And I remember coming home, and I was not in a good mood.
  • I said to my wife, "I could do this when I was 14 years old."
  • And she said, "Yeah, but not nearly as well."
  • I didn't care for rock and roll that much.
  • I was basically a jazz drummer.
  • But I realized that I'm making my living off of it.
  • If I'm gonna continue to do that,
  • I got to play that like that's my favorite music.
  • That's not professionalism to me.
  • It's not beneath you if it's supporting you.
  • If it's beneath you, don't play it.
  • I actually enjoyed it,
  • because when I heard the records on the radio,
  • I realized, really, what an incredible sound
  • that group of people had.
  • (drum intro to Elvis Presley's A Little Less Conversation )
  • ♪ A little less conversation ♪
  • ♪ A little more action ♪
  • ♪ All this aggravation ain't satisfaction-ing me ♪
  • A little more bite and a little less bark ♪
  • A little less fight and a little more spark ♪
  • ♪ Close your mouth and open up your heart ♪
  • And, baby, satisfy me ♪
  • ♪ Satisfy me, baby ♪
  • (rock music)
  • He's gonna bang, bang, bang on that drum
  • He's gonna bang, bang, bang... ♪
  • We're going up to Capitol Records
  • - right up here. - Man: Oh, right.
  • God, the streets are so friggin' torn up,
  • it's unbelievable.
  • This is where we used to do all of,
  • you know, Glen Campbell's records
  • and Ray Anthony and everybody, man.
  • Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole.
  • We did everyone down in the bowels.
  • Pretty amazing.
  • As soon as we got in those studios
  • and we found out that this made a lot of bucks,
  • it was like, "Hey, man, we don't have to go on the road.
  • We can stay home with our kids," you know.
  • Unfortunately, I didn't.
  • I went through six wives.
  • (laughter)
  • Yeah, but that was 'cause of your personality...
  • - (laughter) - ...not your playing.
  • No, I had two major marriages, and they both fell apart
  • because I was in the studio too much.
  • I think it's a very hard balance.
  • Yeah, it was tough.
  • (upbeat jazz music)
  • When I got out of the army, I took my G.I. bill,
  • went to Chicago, went to a percussion institute.
  • I was going to school from about 8:00 in the morning
  • to 4:00 in the afternoon. And then I was playing strip clubs
  • from about 8:00 at night to 4:00 in the morning,
  • which was pretty wild.
  • But it was great sight reading training.
  • You got all these new women coming and dancing,
  • throwing this music at you,
  • and you got to, you know, read it immediately.
  • (burlesque music)
  • ♪ (humming along with the music) ♪
  • It was great training to relax you and to play,
  • because to this day, I could sit down,
  • you can throw any kind of music in front of me,
  • and I will-- You know, it might be
  • the hardest thing in the world, but I'll be completely relaxed.
  • Nobody will know that inside, I'm saying,
  • "Holy cow, this is really something."
  • So there was a lot of great basic training going on
  • while I was there, which really was preparing me
  • for the studios.
  • (upbeat jazz music)
  • I wound up at "the" nightclub in Hollywood,
  • where all the movie stars hung out.
  • There was a manager, called me over one evening,
  • and he said, "Look, I've got a kid
  • who's gonna be signed by Capital Records pretty quick,
  • and we need a drummer."
  • This kid's name was Tommy Sands, a wonderful young man,
  • became a major teenage idol, and we went on the road.
  • But it was during that time that I was with Tommy
  • that I got to work with people like The Diamonds,
  • who were really hot in those days. The Platters.
  • These were shows that I was playing.
  • Great experience. And now I was learning rock and roll,
  • which was still a dirty word to most of the musicians.
  • (The Platters' O nly You )
  • ♪ Only you-ou ♪
  • ♪ Can make this world seem right ♪
  • When I got back to L.A.,
  • there was a man by the name of H.B. Barnum.
  • And H.B. started using me, Carol Kaye on bass,
  • and Glen Campbell on guitar.
  • There were a bunch of us that were sort of demo musicians,
  • but we played rock and roll.
  • Usually, every guy that sat down in one of those sessions
  • in that group was a great musician:
  • studied, practiced, taught well, loved what they were doing.
  • Everybody wanted us.
  • (upbeat jazz music)
  • ♪ Bum, bum, bum, bum bum, bum ♪
  • Do you remember when my dad was doing the Jobim album?
  • Oh, yeah.
  • And all of the "A" team was in.
  • And at the end of that session, we were doing S omethin' Stupid.
  • And the "A" team left, and our little "B" team came in,
  • The Wrecking Crew came in and sat down,
  • and we cut a number on record.
  • And what most people don't realize,
  • that was our dad's first number one record.
  • And we just marched on in there
  • and made our little hit.
  • - Nancy: Daddy. - Frank: Sorry.
  • - Engineer: Quiet in the room. - Frank: (singing) ♪ And then
  • I think I'll wait until the evening gets late ♪
  • ♪ And I'm alone with you ♪
  • I've got to sing a little louder then.
  • - Nancy: You have to sing-- - Frank: You too, you sing
  • a little louder too.
  • I did Somethin' Stupid with Frank and Nancy Sinatra.
  • And that little lick that I played on the intro,
  • I had already played that on another record of the song
  • by the guy that wrote it, Carson Parks.
  • And Frank heard it and wanted that very lick on the intro.
  • Billy Strange was the arranger
  • and the guitars were me and Glen Campbell.
  • And Billy had just written, like, El Paso style guitar
  • for the intro. So Glenn, of course,
  • played something real nice, but it wasn't
  • what was on the original record. And Frank said,
  • "No, that's not it, that's not it. Let's try it--"
  • So Glenn tried something else
  • and Frank wasn't real happy with it
  • 'cause it didn't sound like we'd heard.
  • So finally, after a while, I said, "Glenn,
  • I don't want to be pushy or anything,
  • but that's me on the original record.
  • I know exactly what he wants."
  • He said, "Well, then you play it."
  • Then, we switched parts real fast and I played it.
  • Engineer: Do you want to hear the guitars
  • just to make sure everything's cool?
  • Frank: One real fast start, then we'll go.
  • Engineer: All right, letter "A."
  • (intro to Somethin' Stupid )
  • - Frank: That did it, all right. - Engineer: Pretty sound.
  • Yeah, that's the whole trick of the record.
  • (Frank Sinatra's Somethin' Stupid )
  • Frank and Nancy: (singing) ♪ I know I stand in line ♪
  • Until you think you have the time... ♪
  • (playing bass to These Boots Are Made For Walkin' )
  • Chuck Berghofer, who was the star,
  • you know, that bass line became infam-- As a matter of fact,
  • it's probably-- Simple as it sounds, it's probably
  • one of the hardest things a bass player ever has to do.
  • - Nobody can do it. - They never do it correctly,
  • you know, or they make an attempt at it.
  • The engineer came out and said,
  • "Gee, I love the sound of your bass."
  • He says, "I'm gonna give your name to my friend."
  • And it turned out to be Jim Bowen.
  • And I wound up doing some dates for Jim Bowen.
  • About the third date, I did was B oots Are Made For Walking.
  • And that put me on the map.
  • I went from doing two dates in my life
  • to doing three a day.
  • Yeah, if I wasn't available that day,
  • I'd probably be selling insurance somewhere.
  • That "chunk-a-chunk-a-chunk," that rhythm chunky sound
  • that was so-- Lee used to call it "dumb."
  • He wanted that dumb sound.
  • It really made-- made the records,
  • and it's very hard to capture, especially live.
  • And that's just what they'll do ♪
  • one of these days, these boots are gonna walk all over you ♪
  • Lee didn't want me to do the song.
  • I kept saying, "I want to do that boots thing,
  • that one about the boots." And he said, "No,
  • it's not a girl's song. I said,
  • "Well, it's certainly not a guy's song."
  • He used to sing it live in his performances.
  • And I said, "It's wrong for a man to sing it.
  • It's harsh and abusive,
  • but it's perfect for a little girl to sing."
  • (both laughing)
  • Start walking ♪
  • The feeling of a live session was unlike anything else
  • because you'd hear it back instantly, and there it was.
  • And it was either magic or it wasn't magic.
  • And I never will forget, when I drove to Las Vegas,
  • on the marquee, it says, "Nancy Sinatra
  • With Hal Blaine On Drums." This big marquee
  • all over the thing, at Caesars Palace.
  • Now, he's making like $2,500 a week.
  • Now, Irv Cottler's work with Frank, the father,
  • - he's making $750 a week. - (laughs)
  • - And I-- - Who said life was fair?
  • Oh, my God in hell-- And then, all of a sudden,
  • here's this "Hal Blaine." And I just laughed.
  • "Hal Blaine" all over the Caesar's marquee.
  • - It was great. - What a gig.
  • You got to get it when you can.
  • Oh, Lord, it hurts to be living with a dream ♪
  • Of a drummer man ♪
  • (Saxophone part to The Pink Panther theme)
  • ( The Pink Panther theme playing with full band)
  • ( When The Saints Go Marching In playing)
  • I didn't realize it until later,
  • but New Orleans was a great town for a musician to grow up in.
  • My brother and I were 12 and 13,
  • and we already had gigs on the Mardi Gras floats.
  • Not gigs, one gig. (laughs)
  • My mother was a singer and a pianist.
  • And the city was raging with soldiers, sailors, and marines
  • coming through there to get shipped out to World War II.
  • And the clubs in the French Quarter,
  • they were making a lot of money
  • and they were hiring a lot of bands.
  • My mother had a job in the afternoon
  • playing and singing a matinee,
  • and my father had a night gig.
  • And I think it was the first time in their life
  • that they were fully employed as musicians.
  • I went to a black Catholic high school,
  • and all the public schools were segregated.
  • I couldn't wait to get away.
  • My brother and I soon established a band,
  • you know. He played piano.
  • He mostly played blues and boogie and--
  • We wanted to play be-bop, but really,
  • nobody wanted to hear it. (laughs)
  • People always tell me how great I was and, you know,
  • "That boy's really going places," and--
  • (laughs) of course I believed that.
  • In 1954, my brother and I moved down to Los Angeles
  • and proceeded to starve around town for about two years,
  • made all the jam sessions.
  • That's what you do when you're new in town.
  • And that sooner or later gets you work
  • because the band leaders come to the jam sessions
  • looking for horn players or rhythm players.
  • And that's where they found 'em, at the jam sessions.
  • The rock and roll thing was getting really big,
  • and they needed the kind of horn I play.
  • So it was really being in the right place
  • at the right time.
  • (slow blues music)
  • Particularly when I got on the Merv Griffin Show,
  • which started at 3:00 in the afternoon.
  • Well, that's the time my kids came home from school.
  • And it ended at 8:30 at night, and I'd get home maybe 9:30.
  • Well, that's the time my kids would go to bed .
  • Many days, I didn't see my kids.
  • Let's put it this way:
  • I'm a better grandfather than I was a father.
  • (playing along with Bobby Day's Rockin' Robin)
  • Tweedle-lee-dee-dee-dee ♪
  • Tweet, tweet ♪
  • (wolf whistle)
  • (song ends)
  • Man 1: That's great.
  • - Man 2: Oh, amazing. - (laughs)
  • I remember taking this picture.
  • I took it through a record, through a 45.
  • These were all yours. Hey, that's nice.
  • Yeah.
  • The first band I had was just an experiment.
  • We opened the show for Dave Brubeck,
  • and people went crazy for the-- our, you know, half hour set,
  • however long we played. And I remember coming offstage,
  • and Paul Desmond was-- was standing off to the side.
  • And as I passed him, he was scratching his head,
  • and said, "I don't know what I just heard,
  • but I think I like it." (laughs)
  • That was the first cue I had
  • that maybe we were on to something.
  • A jazz musician loved it... or liked it.
  • The first date I ever did for Herb Alpert,
  • Shorty Rogers called me up and says,
  • "Bill, would you do me a favor?"
  • He says, "There's a guy, he's a friend of mine."
  • He says, "He's a trumpet player and he doesn't have any money.
  • Would you do it as a favor for me?"
  • I said, "Sure, I'll do it."
  • Herb gave us each 15 bucks. It was a scab date.
  • - Oh, well, most of 'em were... - Right, yeah.
  • When we first started way back then, you know.
  • - Right. It was $15. - Two for a quarter.
  • - Yeah, two for 25. - (laughs)
  • And that was The Lonely Bull.
  • (Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass' T he Lonely Bull)
  • That was the first huge hit that Herb Alpert ever had.
  • It was huge!
  • He became a millionaire on that one record.
  • And you know what he did? He went to the union,
  • said what he did, paid the union fine,
  • and then had checks sent to all the musicians for scale,
  • that-- that they were supposed to have gotten and didn't.
  • A signature moment in A Taste of Honey
  • is when the bass drum is knocking four to the floor.
  • We didn't have a way to get back to the time
  • without, you know, a count off. And Hal, you know, said,
  • "Let me just hit the drum, the bass drum.
  • Everyone will know when to come in."
  • (drum beat)
  • (Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass' A Taste Of Honey )
  • Larry Levine thought-- The engineer,
  • that we should keep that, and it was, you know,
  • one of the things that people remember about the record.
  • And it became kind of a trademark of the T.J.B.S.
  • - (laughs) - It was all because
  • these professional musicians couldn't come in together.
  • ( A Taste Of Honey continues playing)
  • I met Julius in high school.
  • We started playing a song and he took a solo,
  • and I thought, "Wow, man,
  • this guy sounds like Lionel Hampton."
  • He wrote Spanish Flea,
  • although his first title was "Spanish Fly,"
  • and I said, "I-- I don't know, I'm not sure--
  • I'm not so sure that title's gonna work.
  • (applause)
  • You know, when The T.J.B. became famous
  • and he had to create a group to go on the road,
  • none of the studio musicians would do it
  • because they were too busy.
  • We did 13 albums, and this was something
  • that bothered me my whole life, my whole career.
  • We'd come back to town, and I would call
  • guys like Lou and Hal. And the guys on the road...
  • Yeah, were really upset.
  • They were a little offended that they were not used,
  • but you know, recording musicians had
  • a certain sound that was important to get.
  • (upbeat music)
  • Announcer: No matter what shape your stomach's in,
  • when it gets out of shape, take Alka-Seltzer.
  • I saw a commercial, and I thought it was a smash.
  • I called Dave Pell, who was my supervisor,
  • and I said, "What instrumental groups do we have here?"
  • And he said, "Well, we have a name called The T-Bones."
  • And I say, "All right." So I got Tommy Tedesco
  • and the boys, in the studio we went,
  • and we did No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)."
  • And that was the number-one instrumental of the year.
  • The T-Bones!
  • (cheers and applause)
  • (The T-Bones' No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In) )
  • (The Routers' Let's Go (Pony) )
  • ♪ Let's go! ♪
  • What is their name, "Willy Vanelli"
  • - or what the hell the shit is? - Milli--
  • - They had nothing over us.... - Right.
  • ...right? We did that all the time.
  • I wanted The Marketts to be like a working group.
  • And, you know, if the public knew it wasn't so,
  • it would be like a "Mini Vanilli" or whatever.
  • (The Marketts' Surfer's Stomp )
  • I think it's a little different when you're a
  • horn player and you're asked to play the introduction
  • - and play the first chorus... - I can understand that.
  • ...and play the first solo, and then play the fade on the end.
  • And the damn thing comes on and it doesn't have your name on it.
  • Yeah.
  • (The Marketts' Surfer's Stomp continues)
  • Surfer's Stomp-- Plas Johnson was the lead saxophonist,
  • and I said, "Plas, how about calling it The Plas Johnson?"
  • And he's says, "no," he says,
  • "I don't want to be associated with that type of music."
  • I mean, he was a much better player than that,
  • but it became a hit and so we call it The Marketts.
  • And then I start getting calls.
  • So, the song writer, who co-wrote S urfer's Stomp with me
  • called Mike Gordon, he got a group together,
  • went on the road.
  • Worse than not getting the money,
  • is to have-- to played on a hit record which sold
  • a million copies, and not even have your name on them.
  • And they go dig some white kids up out of high school
  • and put them on the road and call them the name.
  • And it was quite easy for the producers
  • and the companies to hire us to read this music.
  • And play these things down, in three hours
  • and get out of that studio in three hours
  • than to have them come and spend three weeks doing it.
  • We would either augment or totally replace a group.
  • We do a new group, say The Association, for instance.
  • None of them played on the record.
  • We replaced the entire group.
  • ( Windy played by The Association)
  • Who's peeking out from under a stairway ♪
  • ♪ Calling a name that's lighter than air? ♪
  • Well, these are the guys that played on Windy
  • and Never My Love and Everything That Touches You.
  • And all the things that were in those two albums
  • that I did with them, those are all those studio musicians.
  • It's Al, Joe, Larry, Tommy and-- and those guys.
  • I wanted to put their names on the back of the album
  • when it was finished and they wouldn't let me
  • because they said, "Well, we don't want those kids out there
  • that buy our records to know that we didn't
  • play on the record."
  • I went out and took Brian's place with The Beach Boys.
  • And I can understand that probably why Brian had studio
  • guys come in, because they would fight like cats and dogs, man.
  • Rather than Brian to go through the hassle to get the tracks,
  • he would hire the rhythm section to come in and do the tracks.
  • One of the guys-- At first they were a little jealous,
  • you know what I mean? But I explained to them, I said,
  • "You know, I want to get the best I can get for the group."
  • And they go, "Well, I can understand your point, Brian,"
  • you know. So we went ahead and did it,
  • and sure enough, the guys liked it.
  • I mean, that's one of the most asked questions,
  • "Well, didn't Dennis get mad, wasn't he mad
  • because you were doing The Beach Boys records?"
  • Dennis did not have the studio chops that we have, you know.
  • The proof of the pudding is that Dennis
  • called me to do his album when Dennis did his solo album.
  • I played the drums on that.
  • A lot of times the guys would be sitting around the studio,
  • we didn't know they were the guys in the band.
  • The guitar players that were in these various groups,
  • when they realized guys like Tommy Tedesco
  • was gonna be playing, they wanted to sit around and watch.
  • And the drummers would want to sit around
  • and watch myself or Al.
  • They were there, like, more or less they were learning.
  • You know, it would be something that I'd like to see too
  • if it had been the other way around.
  • Terry Melcher wanted to use session musicians
  • for Mr. Tambourine Man.
  • I'd been a studio musician in New York,
  • prior to being in The Byrds, so...
  • they let me play on it.
  • So my feeling was, "Great. I get to play
  • with this great band, The Wrecking Crew."
  • Of course, the other guys, David Crosby,
  • Michael Clark and Chris Hellman, were livid.
  • They hated the idea because
  • they didn't get to play on their own record.
  • We got a number one hit with it, right off the bat.
  • But we knocked out two tracks in one three-hour session.
  • To compare that with what happened when the rest
  • of the band got to play, it took us 77 takes
  • to get the band track for Turn, Turn, Turn,
  • which was also a number one.
  • (The Byrds' Mr. Tambourine Man )
  • Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man
  • Play a song for me ♪
  • I'm not sleepy and there ain't no place I'm going to ♪
  • Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man ♪
  • ♪ Play a song for me ♪
  • ♪ In the jingle jangle morning ♪
  • I'll come following you ♪
  • (The Partridge Family playing Come on, Get Happy )
  • People assume that just because my dad made his living
  • playing guitar, I can also play.
  • For me, and some of the other kids of studio musicians,
  • we didn't take it up as a profession.
  • What my father did teach us was common sense.
  • Tommy: I got called many years ago.
  • I show up on this date and now there's 70 musicians
  • sitting there. And I'm looking
  • and I say, "70 musicians? Wow. Where do I sit?"
  • And they said, "Over there. There's the guitar."
  • You know, I sit there and I look at a part.
  • The only problem is starting at bar 95, you know,
  • and all the rest, rest.
  • Now the guy starts, right.
  • And you know what this is to me at the time.
  • This is in a nightclub, you know, you see a chick,
  • "Hey, there she is. Hey, hey--"
  • When he did this and there was no music, I said,
  • "Oh-oh, they're at bar 95, I knew it."
  • "Guitar. Where's the guitar?" "Over here."
  • "We're at 95, I didn't hear you."
  • "Oh, okay," you know.
  • - One, two, three, four, - (playing guitar poorly)
  • "Okay, forget it. Let's go from 96.
  • And they have somebody come in the next day to do it."
  • Elvis Presley came back there a few years
  • and I started getting hot in records, and Elvis
  • started using me when he'd come to the coast for movies.
  • So nobody told Elvis who to use.
  • To that day I never knew if they knew I was the same guy, though.
  • But I wasn't about to tell them, "Remember me?
  • About three years--" Oh, no, no, no.
  • You see, the one thing I have, common sense.
  • I studied common sense more than I did guitar.
  • (The Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' )
  • In the '60s, The Wrecking Crew played
  • on thousands of recordings,
  • but you would never have known it.
  • Producers made a big mistake when they didn't put
  • the credits on the back of the albums
  • of all the people that have played on the albums.
  • Not only did they deserve it, but I think it was misleading.
  • Maybe one of the reasons they left the names off was
  • the same musicians played on so many people's records
  • it would have been an embarrassment if anybody
  • had ever listed them.
  • I was used to it 'cause when a guy hired me
  • with his last $25 and he had a bomb,
  • I never gave him his money back, you know.
  • So I really treated it as a business
  • and I understand how you feel too. But I just felt,
  • "Just give me my money and I get lost."
  • (Gary Lewis & The Playboys' Everybody Loves a Clown )
  • Everybody loves a clown So why can't you? ♪
  • A clown has feelings too ♪
  • Snuffy always let myself and The Playboys
  • lay down all the basic tracks.
  • And then Snuff said, "Now we're gonna sweeten it,
  • do some overdubs and stuff, and I'm gonna bring in
  • the people that I want to use ."
  • And I had no experience in this, and Snuffy had.
  • So I said, "Well, great.
  • If you think that's the way to do it, let's do it."
  • The drummer came in, but Snuffy let him, you know,
  • play some kind of percussion like a tambourine
  • so it could say, "Gary Lewis and The Playboys."
  • But it was really studio guys that made the track.
  • Gary: And I remember my guitar player and our keyboard player,
  • after hearing the session musicians coming in
  • and putting down the parts, you know, they were saying,
  • "Oh, my God, I never could have done anything like that."
  • Tommy: I'll never forget working with Gary Lewis and The Playboys
  • - doing all that record. - Carol: Oh, yeah.
  • And I'll never forget I had one real, real hot lick
  • on this one record-- Spanish stuff all over the place.
  • (Gary Lewis and The Playboys' Sure Gonna Miss Her )
  • ♪ Guess you could say my love was blind ♪
  • And finally, his guitar player come up to me, he says,
  • "You drove me crazy with that thing.
  • First of all, I can't play it, so I don't play it.
  • And then, everybody comes up to me, complimenting me
  • on what I did on the thing."
  • I said, "Well, just take the compliments and forget it."
  • So, while my guitar players played a much simplified
  • version of it, because nobody could play that.
  • (Gary Lewis and The Playboys' Sure Gonna Miss Her continues)
  • That was inside stuff.
  • I think that the public at large was oblivious to the fact
  • that there was a secret star maker machinery,
  • that a very important component of that were these teams,
  • like hitmen, studio hitmen.
  • Nobody cared.
  • All they wanted was the product.
  • They just wanted the name and the sales.
  • Who created it? Psh.
  • That was incidental.
  • (The Monkees' M ary, Mary )
  • Mary, Mary Where are you going to? ♪
  • Tell him your story, Hal, about The Monkees.
  • Because the newspapers came in to talk to them
  • and we were in the next studio cutting their stuff.
  • And then they were pretending that they were doing it
  • there in the studios.
  • - Well, you just told it. - Tell him the story.
  • (laughter)
  • Well, you told the story. Did you get it?
  • ♪ I'd rather die than to live without you
  • I'd never considered myself a musician.
  • I-- You know, 'cause to me a musician is someone
  • who does session work, who shows up and reads charts.
  • And I always approached The Monkees as an actor,
  • playing the part of a drummer in this imaginary group,
  • that lived in this imaginary beach house
  • and had these imaginary adventures.
  • To me, that always-- always been what it's about.
  • Peter does tell the story of going into some
  • of the early sessions. And he walked in with his guitar
  • and his bass, and they said, "What are you doing here?"
  • "What's going on?"
  • "Well, we've already done the track. Micky's gonna sing."
  • "So, what--? You invited me for a recording session."
  • He said, "Yeah." I said, "Well, what are you doing?"
  • He said, "We have the record, we just need to put a vocal on it."
  • They said, "Just go home. Relax."
  • One, two, three, four.
  • Both: ♪ Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah ♪
  • - Mikey, you like it? - You like it?
  • That's terrible. That's the worst thing--
  • I had no idea who these guys were in these early sessions.
  • It was my first session.
  • And I was introduced to them, "These are the musicians."
  • I was the vocalist.
  • I remember Hal Blaine giving me some pointers
  • in the sessions, and Earl Palmer would give me some pointers.
  • But I didn't have to play at that point.
  • They said, "You're gonna start drum lessons on Monday."
  • And I did. And I had about a year.
  • So, by the time I had to actually play on stage, live,
  • I wasn't that bad.
  • I mean, I only had to play our songs, obviously,
  • and they were pretty simple pop tunes.
  • Hal and Earl do this stuff with one hand in their sleep.
  • (The Monkeys playing)
  • (audience cheering)
  • The fans, they didn't know or care, and I was like,
  • "What's the deal? This is a television show
  • you know. What is the big deal?"
  • But you know, back then, and even to this day,
  • a lot of people take their rock and roll very seriously
  • and, you know-- And it's, you know,
  • rock and roll is no laughing matter.
  • You're not supposed to have fun, you know.
  • It has to be very serious.
  • It makes sense now to me.
  • If I were doing the project,
  • I would do it exactly the same way.
  • Uh, but, uh, at the time, it didn't make any sense to me.
  • I didn't understand.
  • - Were you upset? - Yeah, I was upset.
  • I thought that-- I mean, I was very naive.
  • I regard how upset I was as a function of my naiveté.
  • I always thought I was gonna be in a recording session,
  • and play the guitar, and do the things,
  • and sing the background vocals, and all the rest of that.
  • I had no idea that they had just gone
  • and made the tracks without us.
  • I don't think there was any backlash to the discovery
  • that The Monkees didn't play their own instruments initially,
  • because everybody knew it was common practice.
  • I saw them in everybody's session.
  • I remember in RCA Victor going to The Mamas and Papas,
  • who were next door, and there was Hal Blaine.
  • And then, he'd come over and do one of our sessions.
  • And then off to do somebody else, I guess.
  • I knew they played on virtually all The Beach Boys records.
  • You know, we got a lot of shit for it,
  • but I think finally, you know, some of those guys
  • are coming clean. (laughs)
  • (The mamas and The Papas' California Dreamin' )
  • - ♪ All the leaves are brown ♪ - ♪ All the leaves are brown ♪
  • - ♪ And the sky is grey ♪ - ♪ And the sky is grey ♪
  • - ♪ I've been for a walk ♪ - ♪ I've been for a walk ♪
  • - ♪ On a winter's day ♪ - ♪ On a winter's day ♪
  • Barry McGuire had found this song called California Dreamin'
  • that he wanted to record.
  • And these four, kind of scruffy looking,
  • two guys and two girls came to the studio
  • because Barry wanted them to sing
  • background parts on his record.
  • And he said to Lou, "They're a great sounding vocal group.
  • You should hear them sing."
  • John Phillips wrote this song, California Dreamin'.
  • So while the band was on a ten, Lou and I went down the hall
  • to studio two, with the four of them.
  • And John had a guitar and they sang California Dreamin'.
  • - ♪ California dreamin' ♪ - ♪ California dreamin' ♪
  • All: ♪ On such a winter's day ♪
  • Lou said, "What do you think?"
  • And I said, "If you don't take them, I will," you know.
  • After hearing their vocals-- their background vocals,
  • I thought it should be their record.
  • When I started to do The Mamas and The Papas,
  • I put Joe Osborn in that group with Hal Blaine.
  • And that's when Hal, and Larry and myself worked together
  • as a group for the first time.
  • I wasn't really busy. At that point,
  • I wasn't busy as a studio player.
  • And Hal helped get me into that area.
  • Those kinds of combinations of what Joe brought to Hal Blaine,
  • and what Hal Blaine brought to Joe Osborn was great.
  • (The Mamas and The Papas' Monday, Monday )
  • ♪ Monday, Monday ♪
  • In the case of The mamas and Papas,
  • John Phillips would run the song down on rhythm guitar.
  • At the same time, Hal would be taking notes,
  • Glen Campbell might be taking notes.
  • And then we say, "Okay, let's run it down."
  • They had parts in mind so that you could then edit,
  • "Yeah, that's good, let's keep it.
  • That's not, can you try something else?"
  • But they had a lot to do with the arrangements.
  • Announcer: Members of The Mamas and The Papas teach the song
  • to the musicians.
  • There is no arrangement or score.
  • ( The Mamas and The Papas' Boys and Girls Together )
  • Heads or tails Choose one or the other ♪
  • Announcer: The musicians decide what they should play
  • against the vocals. A rhythm gets going.
  • ( Boys and Girls Together continues playing)
  • Producers presented the musicians with a road map.
  • It was just chord symbols. And that was about as far
  • as it went. Now, these musicians
  • took that information and, you know, added a little flavor
  • to it that was unexpected. A lot of times it was,
  • you know, much more than you had hoped for.
  • (playing bass line)
  • ( Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In by The 5th Dimension fading in)
  • ♪ Let the sunshine ♪
  • ♪ Let the sunshine in ♪
  • ♪ The sunshine in ♪
  • ♪ Let the sunshine ♪
  • ♪ Let the sunshine in ♪
  • ♪ The sunshine in ♪
  • (bass line continues)
  • People come over and say, "Did you this?
  • Would you work with this group?" I said, "I don't remember."
  • "Well, I saw your name on the album."
  • "Then I did." You know, that's--
  • - Right. - 'Cause you work so much,
  • you have no idea.
  • The studio player of 1999, they would--
  • If they're not playing all the time,
  • they would need to do what we never needed to do,
  • was practice.
  • All the time you're practicing, while being paid.
  • It's funny. Earl and I were talking one time.
  • It's like, you couldn't judge anybody by how much
  • they were working 'cause everybody was working
  • all the time.
  • You had to just go by how much work you turned down.
  • Most of us were so fortunate to have been in
  • at the original beginnings of rock and roll.
  • Fuck, I say it, I made more money playing rock and roll
  • than I ever made playing jazz.
  • There was one point in the mid '60s that
  • I was making more money than the president of the United States.
  • I remember I used to kid Carol. I'd say,
  • "Do you realize, Carol, if I got a divorce and you--
  • We could get married and what a year we'd have of money.
  • Between all your money and my money,
  • - we'd be killing everybody." - (laughter)
  • Including each other.
  • This is where we did Sinatra,
  • Dean Martin,
  • Sammy Davis Jr.
  • We did everybody in there.
  • It's just an amazing place.
  • In my particular case,
  • I bought an incredible mansion in Hollywood.
  • I had a magnificent yacht.
  • I had a gorgeous Rolls Royce.
  • But, out of nowhere, I had a wife who all of a sudden
  • declared, "I want a divorce."
  • "What? What are you talking about?
  • I just went for a sandwich and--"
  • It's, like, impossible to believe.
  • And in order for her to get paid off,
  • you sell everything you own.
  • I had 170-something gold records.
  • I had to sell them all.
  • The house was sold for a third of what it was worth.
  • I had to let the yacht go. The yacht was repossessed.
  • I never had anything repossessed in my life.
  • It's just a shame to get wiped out that seriously.
  • I had been working with John Denver,
  • almost 5 grand a week for almost ten years,
  • and all of a sudden, that job ended.
  • Terrible, terrible thing to have to go through.
  • I mean, it's-- You certainly,
  • in the realm of suicide,
  • you certainly think about it.
  • I was working in Scottsdale, Arizona,
  • and I was a security guard,
  • plain and simple.
  • Here I went from... (laughs) all this money
  • and this magnificent estate and everything else involved,
  • and all of a sudden I was reduced to
  • living in a clothes closet.
  • Came out of about 23 rooms in Hollywood.
  • And it was like the end of the world.
  • (upbeat music)
  • This was Gold Star.
  • So this is it. This is what's left.
  • And it was an amazing time,
  • and it was such a historical place.
  • They had a lot of first-time big hit people
  • come here and make their records.
  • Across the street, we recorded The Captain & Tennille
  • doing Love Will Keep Us Together.
  • Boy, they had a number one,
  • it was record of the year that year.
  • It was my last record of the year.
  • ♪ Love ♪
  • ♪ Love will keep us together ♪
  • ♪ Think of me, Babe, whenever ♪
  • ♪ Some sweet talkin' girl comes along ♪
  • ♪ Singin' a song ♪
  • ♪ Don't mess around You just gotta be strong ♪
  • Just stop 'Cause I really love ya ♪
  • In L.A., I'd heard that things were picking up again...
  • you know '82, '83, something like that.
  • And then I was also getting a few calls,
  • and all of a sudden, I was working again.
  • One of the great highlights was when I was inducted
  • into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • So in the year 2000,
  • me and Earl Palmer were both inducted.
  • You know, Earl was just-- I can't thank him enough.
  • Earl recommending me in the beginning,
  • it made a name for myself. It really was that simple.
  • You know, I've always said...
  • if you love your work, it's not work,
  • you know? We loved our work, man.
  • That's how we could work day and night,
  • 'cause we loved it.
  • ♪ 'Cause it's strictly a woman's world ♪
  • ♪ That we're livin' in ♪
  • I'll never forget a session
  • we were all doing with Don Costa.
  • And I start playing rhythm and he stopped and he said,
  • "Glen, you got the lead there."
  • And, boy, I said... (laughs)
  • I said, "Mr. Costa, I can't read notes."
  • He said, "Well, you know the melody, don't you?"
  • And I said, "Yeah." He said, "Well, just--
  • That's the melody." I said, "Oh, okay, great."
  • He would ask Tedesco, "How does that figure go
  • - or this figure go," you know? - Right, exactly.
  • And then he would sit there and work it out.
  • And we'd make the records and it was always perfect.
  • Yeah. Well, he had a certain thing that he offered
  • that they wanted.
  • Wonderful ear and a wonderful facility on the instrument.
  • Carol: Glen came up with great ideas,
  • and his solos were just super.
  • And then all of a sudden, he's a singing star.
  • Well, he always could sing. We used to kid him about,
  • "Oh, he's standing up and singing now,
  • he's gonna be a big star." But he became a big star.
  • ♪ Well, it's knowing that your door is always open ♪
  • ♪ And your path is free to walk ♪
  • Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
  • I'm Glen Campbell.
  • I'd mixed, actually, the first record.
  • That record that he made for Capitol--
  • I mixed that record.
  • And it was like a really surprise to see him come in
  • and say, "I'm singing on this record, I'm gonna..."
  • you know...
  • And the record was a hit
  • and his vocal career was launched.
  • And when he got out and became a singing star,
  • guess who he called to back him up?
  • - That's right, yeah. - We were all there for him.
  • I remember Tedesco playing on...
  • I forget what it was.
  • He said, "You still talking to us peons?"
  • (laughing)
  • I said, "Well, some of 'em." (laughs)
  • But it was great having the guys do the sessions.
  • I knew who all the good players were.
  • Carol: Playing Wichita Lineman, it had a chord to it.
  • I don't think it had any part written.
  • She came up with (sings) ♪ Da da da da-da bla-ah
  • you know. She says, "How about this for a kickoff
  • on Wichita Lineman?" She came up with that.
  • ( Wichita Lineman intro)
  • I am a lineman for the county ♪
  • Glen Campbell was a heck of a guitar player,
  • and I had this Dano bass guitar
  • that had special pickups and bridge and strings on it
  • and it got a really great gutty sound.
  • And he picked it up and did the solo on it.
  • It was great.
  • ( Wichita Lineman continues)
  • I heard W ichita Lineman at a drugstore one time
  • and it just brought tears to my eyes,
  • 'cause that tune meant a lot to me.
  • ♪ And I want you for all time ♪
  • ♪ And the Wichita lineman ♪
  • ♪ Is still on the line ♪
  • Al: I did all that early Glen Campbell stuff,
  • all of it... up to Southern Nights,
  • when he changed producers and I didn't do anymore.
  • Glen by this time was trying-- recording-- using his own band.
  • I'm sitting in Martoni's one night there in Hollywood,
  • and Steve Turner, his drummer, walked in.
  • And he said, "You're not gonna believe what just happened."
  • "What?" And he said, "I'm just coming
  • from a session with Glen, and we're trying to get this kid
  • to play some decent rhythm guitar."
  • Glen says, "Well, give me that big, full Al Casey sound."
  • I said, "Does he know that I'm available tonight?"
  • you know. But I understand
  • he was trying to use his own band.
  • But when stuff like that starts happening,
  • that's-- that's a signal.
  • I think a lot of us felt this just might go on forever.
  • And that was the first great shock
  • for many of us who had setbacks in our careers
  • and realized that, "Hey, this is an up-down...
  • up-down thing."
  • Sports figures seem to have a ten-year period
  • when it all happens for them.
  • So what you get is you get the ramp up,
  • you get ten great years, and you get the ramp down.
  • And the trick is to make the ramp down
  • last as long as you possibly can.
  • Bill: Who would hire me at my age then,
  • to be in a rock group?
  • They weren't doing that anymore,
  • because now the rock guys were doing their stuff.
  • And writing, which they always did,
  • but they were able to perform it.
  • Herb: As Dylan said, "The times, they are a-changing."
  • it just changed.
  • New game. new way of doing it.
  • I don't think it was a conscious decision
  • that, you know, these musicians play a certain way
  • and now we better get more contemporary.
  • In my case, it had to do with the artist
  • or who the artist brought with them.
  • In the case of Carole King,
  • she brought a rhythm section with her.
  • She brought James Taylor on guitar.
  • I think the bands learned to play.
  • It was more important for the public to know
  • that the bands were really playing the music.
  • You had these groups that came up
  • in the late '60s and into the '70s...
  • The Buffalo Springfield that became Crosby, Stills & Nash.
  • And these were all self-contained groups that,
  • for the most part, never used studio musicians.
  • And those things became huge.
  • And that's where album artists became really big.
  • Well, it had a huge effect and...
  • you know, the singer/songwriter acts
  • became very important to people.
  • They started wanting bands that played their own stuff.
  • It really had an effect on the session musicians.
  • I'd kinda left by then.
  • We all went into it
  • knowing it could stop any second.
  • It was never meant to last.
  • I was just like this magical bubble
  • that just kind of...
  • blossomed for a second...
  • hung there in the air...
  • Hal plays on seven records of the year in a row.
  • Seven in a row...
  • and then the bubble... poof. Pops.
  • It's new people. it's a new regime.
  • We came in at a certain time, when we were all new.
  • All the new people are coming in now,
  • when they are new-- Young, vibrant,
  • playing today's sounds. It's that simple.
  • (rapid plucking)
  • (bluesy end chords)
  • As the record dates with The Wrecking Crew diminished,
  • my father was one of the more fortunate musicians.
  • His versatility, combined with his ability
  • to read music in seconds, led to thousands of recordings
  • in film and television.
  • He worked with some of the greatest composers
  • in American music:
  • John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith,
  • Henry Mancini, Bill Conti,
  • James Horner, Burt Bacharach,
  • Lalo Schifrin, just to name a few.
  • In the '70s, my father started playing
  • for his own enjoyment.
  • It was the first time I remember seeing him at home
  • with the guitar.
  • He got into doing seminars
  • and that's what he really enjoyed.
  • He was flying around the country.
  • And he arranged his seminars on weekends
  • so that he could be home during the week...
  • in case there was any calls.
  • Let me give you what I call
  • "the creative studio guitar player".
  • - (plays chord) - About a year ago,
  • I got the call to do a John Denver special.
  • - (plays chord) - It was John Denver in Mexico,
  • and they wanted some-- He was on a fishing vessel
  • and they wanted some Mexican music, so I gave them this:
  • (romantic Latin chords)
  • Got a call to do Charlie's Angels.
  • They were in Puerto Rico. They wanted Puerto Rican music,
  • - so I gave them this: - (plays same chords)
  • (laughter)
  • (continues to play same chords)
  • Starsky & Hutch was in a big revolt
  • in Bolivia in one show.
  • They wanted Bolivian music.
  • - (plays same chords) - (laughter)
  • (mellow guitar)
  • In 1975, my father, in jest, wrote a song called
  • Requiem For a Studio Guitar Player.
  • ♪ I used to be number one ♪
  • (mellow chords)
  • ♪ I did all the work ♪
  • In L.A. ♪
  • Always looking to carry a joke a little further,
  • my dad dressed up as a 280-pound ballerina
  • and went on The Gong Show.
  • ♪ I used to be number one
  • (laughter)
  • I did all the work in this town ♪
  • You should think about what he's saying
  • in the lyrics to his song.
  • Don't dwell on the costume too much...
  • because it tells a lot about the way the business
  • in this town works.
  • And for being a person with a sense of humor,
  • I think Tommy's had to put up with
  • a lot of really stupid things.
  • ♪ in the '50s I was something ♪
  • In the '60s I was a king
  • The '70s come around ♪
  • Now I'll do anything ♪
  • (laughter)
  • (Latin chords)
  • It was not until I tracked these musicians down
  • to tell their story
  • that I fully understood Frank Zappa's words.
  • In 1992, my father had a stroke
  • that pretty much ended his career as a guitarist.
  • Two months before my father passed away,
  • he said to me, "You know, the stroke came
  • at the right time in my life."
  • I knew exactly what he meant.
  • The phone had stopped ringing,
  • and his day as the Los Angeles session king
  • had come to an end.
  • Now he had an excuse as to why the phone didn't ring.
  • It was something he had no control over.
  • If I learned anything from my father,
  • it was to give more than you take.
  • He loved his family and friends
  • and would always help the younger guitar players,
  • knowing it was only a matter of time
  • that they soon would take his place,
  • just like he took someone else's seat 40 years earlier.
  • mellow guitar chords)
  • ♪ Each night before you go to bed ♪
  • ♪ My baby ♪
  • ♪ Whisper a little ♪
  • Prayer for me, my baby ♪
  • ♪ Yeah ♪
  • ♪ And tell all the stars above... ♪
  • ♪ This is dedicated to the one I love ♪
  • ♪ This is dedicated ♪
  • To the one I love ♪
  • ♪ This is dedicated ♪
  • ♪ To the one I love ♪
  • ♪ This is dedicated ♪
  • To the one I love ♪
  • This is dedicated... ♪
  • ♪ Everybody's talkin' at me ♪
  • ♪ I don't hear a word they're sayin' ♪
  • ♪ Only the echoes of my mind... ♪
  • ♪ Memories ♪
  • ♪ Rest between the pages of my mind ♪
  • Ooh ooh ooh ♪
  • Memories... ♪
  • (drums solo)
  • Right on!
  • Mariachi music)
  • ♪ Pretty soon, all my troubles will pass ♪
  • ♪ 'Cause I'm in shoo-shoo-shoo ♪
  • ♪ Shoo-shoo-shoo... ♪
  • ♪ Everybody finds somebody someplace ♪
  • This is the moment we've been waiting for.
  • With 30 points, the winner today is...
  • Hot dog!
  • ...Tommy Tedesco!
  • (all whooping)
  • Gypsies, tramps, and thieves ♪
  • ♪ We hear it from the people of the town ♪
  • ♪ They'd call us ♪
  • ♪ Gypsies, tramps, and thieves ♪
  • ( MacArthur Park plays)
  • It's the little old lady from Pasadena... ♪
  • ♪ Guantanamera ♪
  • ♪ Guajira guantanamera... ♪
  • ♪ My love is warmer than the warmest sunshine ♪
  • ♪ Softer than a sigh ♪
  • ♪ My love is deeper than the deepest ocean ♪
  • ♪ Wider than the sky ♪
  • My love is brighter than the brightest star ♪
  • That shines every night above ♪
  • ♪ And there is nothing ♪
  • ♪ In this world ♪
  • That can ever change my... ♪
  • ♪ Cherokee people ♪
  • Cherokee tribe ♪
  • ♪ So proud to live ♪
  • ♪ So proud to die ♪
  • (energetic drumming)
  • ( Hawaii Five-0 plays)
  • In my midnight confession
  • When I'm telling the world that I love you ♪
  • ♪ In my midnight confession ♪
  • When I said all the things that I want to
  • ♪ Nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh-nuh-nuh ♪
  • (up-tempo music)
  • ♪ Para bailar la bamba ♪
  • ♪ Para bailar la bamba ♪
  • ♪ Se necesita una poca de gracia ♪
  • ♪ Una poca de gracia para mi, para ti ♪
  • ♪ Arriba y arriba ♪
  • ♪ Y arriba y arriba, por ti seré... ♪
  • I'll take your part ♪
  • ♪ Oh, when darkness comes ♪
  • And pain is all around ♪
  • ♪ Like a bridge over troubled water ♪
  • ♪ I will lay me down... ♪
  • ♪ It's not that easy being green ♪
  • ♪ Having to spend this day the color of the leaves ♪
  • ♪ When I think it could be so much nicer ♪
  • ♪ Being red, yellow, or gold ♪
  • ♪ Or something much more colorful like that... ♪
  • What do you call a trombone player
  • with a beeper?
  • An optimist.

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Description

Music lovers will be astonished at the influence The Wrecking Crew wielded over rock and pop music in the 1960s and early 1970s. These unsung instrumentalists were the de-facto backing band on hit records by The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Sonny & Cher, Elvis, The Monkees and many more. These dedicated musicians brought the flair and musicianship that made the American “West Coast Sound” a dominant cultural force around the world.