MTSU screens ‘Wrecking Crew’ with director, musician Q&A Oct. 28

MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry is bringing the West Coast sound to campus Wednesday, Oct. 28, with a free public screening of the documentary “The Wrecking Crew” and a question-and-answer session with its director and a member of the Grammy-winning crew of studio musicians.

The studio musicians who would come to be known as "The Wrecking Crew" work in Phil Spector's Gold Star Studios in the mid-1960s on another hit. (Photo courtesy of Hal Blaine)

The studio musicians who would come to be known as “The Wrecking Crew” work in Phil Spector’s Gold Star Studios in the mid-1960s on another hit. (Photo courtesy of Hal Blaine)

The event is set for 6:30 p.m. in the State Farm Lecture Hall in MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building, Room BAS S-102. Doors open at 6; a searchable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking2015-16.

Wrecking Crew logo web“The Wrecking Crew” was the nickname coined by drummer Hal Blaine for the Los Angeles studio and session musicians behind some of the biggest hits of the 1960s and ’70s, including “Be My Baby,” “California Girls,” “Strangers in the Night,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “Up, Up and Away,” “Viva Las Vegas” and “Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man.”

The players were key in creating producer Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” and became one of the most successful groups of studio musicians in history.

Denny Tedesco, son of the late Wrecking Crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco, directed the documentary and will be on hand to discuss it Wednesday, along with keyboard player Don Randi.

Denny Tedesco

Denny Tedesco

Don Randi

Don Randi

Randi also is the author of a memoir, “You’ve Heard These Hands: From the Wall of Sound to the Wrecking Crew and Other Incredible Stories.”

The younger Tedesco began working on the documentary in 1998, spending several years interviewing producers, engineers and the musicians, and first released it in 2008, garnering awards at several film festivals.

Its distribution costs proved prohibitive, however, because of more than $700,000 in licensing fees required to include more than 100 hit songs by artists including Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, The Monkees, The Byrds, the Mamas and Papas, Sonny and Cher, the Carpenters, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Beach Boys.

Denny Tedesco finally took his film funding needs public in 2013, turning to Kickstarter to generate enough revenue to pay record labels, music publishing companies and the musicians who created the unmistakable sounds on vinyl.

“The Wrecking Crew” is now being readied for national release in November, first in theaters across the country and then in DVD release. It’s already been screened at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and at Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre.

The film includes interviews with Brian Wilson, Cher, Nancy Sinatra, Herb Alpert, Glen Campbell, Micky Dolenz, Roger McGuinn and Gary Lewis as well as Wrecking Crew members.

Among the most famous of the Wrecking Crew musicians, along with drummer Blaine and guitarist Campbell, are pianists Leon Russell and Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack, saxophonist Plas Johnson, and bassist Carol Kane, the group’s only female member. You can watch the trailer for the documentary below.


Recording industry professor Jeff Izzo helped arrange the special event, which is being presented by the department and co-sponsored by the MTSU School of Music and the Student Enrichment Grant Program of the Nashville-based Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association.

You can learn more about the documentary at www.wreckingcrewfilm.com. More information on the Department of Recording Industry in MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment is available at www.mtsu.edu/recording-industry.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)