Next Wednesday, the North Park Theatre will be hosting for one night only the documentary The Wrecking Crew, chronicling the legendary Hollywood studio musicians that played on hits by Phil Spector, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Nancy Sinatra, Simon & Garfunkel, Glenn Campbell, and countless others. Their contributions to music history and global pop culture are profound, but their efforts have been largely unsung, until now thanks to this film, which lit it up on the festival circuit before arriving in Buffalo next week.
The Wrecking Crew were musicians’ musicians, the ones studios called first when they needed hit music for artists recording throughout Los Angeles or for a TV show or film, and they included conductor/arranger Jack Nitzsche, Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, Dr. John, Leon Russell, and Niagara Falls native Tommy Tedesco, whose guitar can be heard in Bonanza, M.A.S.H., Batman, Green Acres, the 1968 Elvis Comeback Special, and seen on the cult classic Fernwood Tonight as one of Happy Kyne’s Mirth Makers.
The film, directed Tedesco’s son Denny, has been described as “a labor of love,” not only because of it’s affection for it’s subject matter, but because he worked on it for almost 20 years, starting a few years before his father’s untimely death due to cancer. Such is the legend of Tommy Tedesco within that community that the filmmaker had tremendous access to his subjects, and with licensing worked out the soundtrack is apparently excellent, which is good news for audiophiles keen to hear it on the North Park’s revamped sound system. If you’re down with Pet Sounds, Wilco, Father John Misty’s first two albums, and pop culture in general, this film could be for you.
The Wrecking Crew arrives in Buffalo on April 8th with two screenings at 7pm and 9:30pm.