Wrecking Crew Charts More Than the Beatles

Mystery Group Dominated U.S. Airwaves

On AM radio back in the day, the Beatles charted a total of 47 times. Not all of these were number one positions, with the biggest travesty—at least in the U.K.—being the power-single Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane losing out to Englebert Humperdinck's Release Me.

But there was another group—perhaps one you've never heard of—that gave the Fab 4 stiff competition when it came to dominating commercial radio airwaves in America. Consider this partial list of super hits:

All I Really Want To Do, California Dreamin', Classical Gas, Da Doo Ron Ron, Danke Schoen, Donna, Eve of Destruction, Everybody Loves Somebody, Everybody's Talkin', Fun Fun Fun, Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Homeward Bound, I Got You Babe, I'm a Believer, La Bamba, Let's Dance, Little Old Lady (From Pasadena), MacArthur Park, Mrs. Robinson, Mr. Tamborine Man, Natural Man, Rhinestone Cowboy, River Deep Mountain High, Rockin' Robin, San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair), Scarborough Fair, Sixteen Tons, Sloop John B, Stoned Soul Picnic, Strangers in the Night, Surf City, The Beat Goes On, The Girl Can't Help It, Then He Kissed Me, These Boots Were Made for Walkin', This Diamond Ring, Walking To New Orleans, We've Only Just Begun, Wichita Lineman, Windy, You Send Me, You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'.

Blaine is credited with having played on at least forty U.S.
number one hits and more than 150 top ten records.

You may have also heard the group playing the theme music on such television shows as The Flintstones, M.A.S.H., I Dream of Jeannie, Ironside, Mission Impossible, Get Smart, The Love Boat, The Cosby Show and Green Acres.

The group is The Wrecking Crew, featured in an unreleased documentary by a son of the late Tommy Tedesco. Tedesco was a multi-style guitarist extraordinaire who, along with Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame drummers Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer, Glen Campbell, Barney Kessell, and several other regular session musicians, comprised L.A.'s hit-making machine. Others included Paul Beaver (of Beaver and Krause), Tom Scott, Paul Horn, Toots Thielemans, Larry Carlton, Joe Sample, Russ Freeman and Dave Grusin. From the classic rock world, keyboardists Leon Russell, Billy Preston and Mac Rebennack (a.k.a, Dr. John) were members at one time, as were drummers Jeff Porcaro, Jim Keltner and Jim Gordon. Count noted vocalists Clydie King and Merry Clayton in the mix, too. In the first-call instrumentalist category, however, guitarist and bassist Carol Kaye was the only woman to achieve outstanding success in what was then primarily a man's world.

Women like...Fender bass player Carol Kaye...
could do anything and leave men in the dust.

Quincy Jones, in his autobiography, Q

Click below to watch the movie trailer:

Guitar Player magazine cites Wrecking Crew member
Tommy Tedesco as "the most recorded guitarist in history."

If your appetite isn't yet whetted, David Was (of Was, Not Was) has a very positive review of the film on NPR.

So when will we get to see this intriguing documentary? When Floydian Slips contacted Denny Tedesco in May, we were told that the film still awaits wide-scale distribution. In the meantime, visit the movie site online and leave your e-mail address so as to be notified when you might be able to see the movie in its entirety.