Glen Campbell And The Wrecking Crew - And Response

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

With the passing of Glen Campbell comes an opportunity to share one of the best tidbits of American music history. 

In the 1960s and early 1970s a group of highly skilled "session" musicians played in the recording studios of Los Angeles. They did more than back singers who were not part of bands, they were the musicians we heard on many of the top recordings of the day, performing the instrumental background tracks for the famous rock bands of the day. It was here Glen Campbell got his start. 

His obituary only makes a passing reference to his start being in a recording session group. But he was, like the other members of the Wrecking Crew, one of the most talented musicians in the country when it came to backing famous artists of the day in each of their own styles of music. 

Led by guitarist, Tommy Tedesco, a name rarely known outside of musician circles, the Wrecking Crew consisted of as many as 20 or more studios players over the years. Many of the well know guitar riffs that appear on different recordings were Tedesco weaving his magic or bassist Carol Kaye playing a charged up bass line like she did so well. 

The Crew replaced, in the studio, many members of groups like The Beach Boys, Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, The Association, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Grass Roots, the Monkees, the Fifth Dimension, the Partridge Family, the Carpenters and the Captain and Tennille. 

The Crew did not do the vocals, that was left to the singers in the groups. 

They also provided instrumental accompaniment for Frank Sinatra, Johnny Rivers, Sonny and Cher, Vickie Lawrence, the Everly Brothers, Sam Cooke, Neil Diamond and Simon and Garfunkel as well as Richard Harris, Ike and Tina Turner, the Mamas and Papas and of course Glen Campbell on his hit songs. Changing styles from Sinatra's swing to Ike and Tina's style of R & B or soul was no trouble for these talented players. 

The Crew were also the musicians who produced  Phil Spector's famous Wall of Sound. 

Spending hours in the studio as Brian Wilson explained what he heard in his head was also easy for the Crew. And then they could reproduce it as many times as needed. 

It was in the framework of this genius pool that Glen Campbell got his start. They and he weren't just studio guys who came in, read their charts and left. They were at the top of their game and Campbell was one of them and then he went solo and made history. 

The next time you hear the bass lines on The Beach Boys' Good Vibrations or Sonny and Cher's The Beat Goes On, it's Carol Kaye and the Wrecking Crew. When you hear the guitar playing the theme from Bonanza, the Munsters, the Brady Bunch and MASH, that's Tommy Tedesco, unofficial leader of the Wrecking Crew. He even played an electric sitar in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. 

The Wrecking Crew may not have achieved the notoriety of one of its most famous members, Glen Campbell, but what they created will last for many years. 

Ralph Miller 

* * * 

Thinking back on those country music singers who crossed over recording with and playing concerts with full orchestras Glen Campbell comes to mind. Two others Ray Price and Eddy Arnold.

All began careers as "hillbilly" singers, but transformed into greatness. In my mind, Campbell, Price and Arnold were the top of the line. Smooth and beautiful. Elvis, of course came a long way from the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, but he, in my opinion, had to have the backup singers and full orchestra. The other three didn't.

Glen Campbell will always be Gentle on our Minds, Ray Price will share The Good Times and Eddy Arnold will Welcome us to His World. Memories of The Rinestone Cowboy, The Cherokee Cowboy and the Tennessee Plowboy. 

Tom Rowland,
Cleveland



My Experience With The Assessor’s Board Of Equalization

According to the Hamilton County Website, the County Board of Equalization “hears appeals from citizens who do not agree with their property assessments.” That sounds good. I sure don’t agree with mine. It “exists to give every property owner a chance to be heard. The goal is not to be an appraiser, but to decide values based on consistency, equity, and evidence. When properties ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Writing From Bragg Avenue

Far and away, my favorite comment on destroying statues appeared on my Facebook page the other day and, believe it or not, it was the clear-minded Times Free Press Sports Editor Stephen Hargis who penned, “This statue offends me! It must be torn down!” Underneath his fiery words, the long-suffered UT football fan posted a picture of the bronze monument outside of Bryant-Denny stadium ... (click for more)

Girlfriend Says Wright Was Driving Her PT Cruiser When He Left With Pair Whose Bodies Were Found At Cemetery

The girlfriend of William Howard Wright testified Tuesday that Wright and "Little Tony" were with two youths whose bodies were afterward found in a cemetery at Shepherd. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck bound two counts of criminal homicide and especially aggravated robbery to the Grand Jury against Wright. A 17-year-old is facing similar charges. The girlfriend ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Pay Increases Announced

Chattanooga Police officers will be earning more under a $1.4 million pay improvement plan announced Tuesday. New officers would get increases in each of their first six years with the department, which has been dealing with a number of newly trained officers going to other cities. City officers now make $35,913 upon joining the force. Under the plan, they will receive about ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Gets Revenge With Boyd-Buchanan

The Notre Dame volleyball team may have felt they let one get away in the championship match of the Hixson Invitational Saturday afternoon against the Boyd-Buchanan Lady Buccaneers, but they were bound to not let it happen again. At least, not during a home match against these same Lady Bucs Tuesday evening in the rowdy confines of their Jack Steiner Sr. Gymnasium. The Lady ... (click for more)

Despite Sloppy Finish, Lady Raiders Sweep McMinn

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Cleveland High School’s volleyball team came close to completely satisfying its coach Tuesday. The Lady Raiders then got lazy. Coach Trish Flowers, who has another state tournament contender on her hands this season, let the squad feel her displeasure in the postgame huddle. “I was within just a few minutes of being in a good mood,” said Flowers, ... (click for more)