Here is one-time Wrecking Crewer Glen Campbell playing “Wichita Lineman” live on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour in 1969.
Here’s a fantastic, short video on Wrecking Crew bassist Carol Kaye, who was the only female in the whole bunch. [Read more…]
Wrecking Crew guitarist
So talented is Wrecking Crew guitarist Don Peake that Ray Charles “borrowed” him for the better part of a year in the mid-Sixties, making Peake the only white musician in Charles’ incomparable band at that time. Peake went on to add his impeccably tight rhythm playing (and occasional arranging) behind the scenes for a multitude of stars such as Bobby Darin, the Righteous Brothers, Sonny & Cher, the Mamas & the Papas, the Beach Boys, the Monkees, the Jackson 5, and many others.
Wrecking Crew producer
Grammy Award-winning music producer Bones Howe spent several decades in Hollywood cutting dozens of Top 40 hits for artists such as the Association, the 5th Dimension, the Mamas & the Papas, Elvis Presley, Johnny Rivers, and the Turtles. In the 1980s Howe became the Executive Vice President of the Music Department at Columbia Pictures where his film credits as music supervisor include About Last Night, Back To The Future, and One From The Heart.
Wrecking Crew bassist
Today considered to be the world’s premier jazz ukulele player, Lyle Ritz actually started his professional life in the early Sixties as one of the most important electric and string bass players in the Los Angeles-based Wrecking Crew. Producing giants like Herb Alpert, Phil Spector, and Brian Wilson simply wouldn’t record without the services of the preternaturally gifted Ritz. Still ready to jam on his beloved ukulele, Lyle Ritz lives in semi-retirement in Portland, Oregon.
Top songs include: “A Taste of Honey” – Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass; “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” – Righteous Brothers; “I Got You Babe” – Sonny & Cher; “Good Vibrations” – Beach Boys.
It might have gone a bit under most people’s radar, but Sean Bonniwell, the lead singer and main songwriter of the band the Music Machine, passed away at the age of 71 in December, 2011.
For anyone like me who goes back far enough or just digs Sixties-style proto-punk, the Music Machine’s 1966 (and only) Top 40 hit, “Talk, Talk,” is about as good as it gets. It had a real snarly, nasty sound. Two minutes of total ‘tude at a time when folk rock from Wrecking Crew-played efforts like “California Dreamin’,” “Eve of Destruction,” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” had become the message-song darlings of Top 40 radio.
The Music Machine also bucked the prevailing LA trend at the time by playing their own instruments. In fact, the bass player was Keith Olsen, who went on to work at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys (a Los Angeles suburb). Olsen engineered and produced dozens of gold and platinum albums there for the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Joe Walsh, Jefferson Starship, Pat Benatar, Eddie Money, and many others. All great stuff. But give me the in-your-face insolence of the Music Machine any day, ya know?
But, hey, what do you think? I’m curious—do any other bands come to mind from that era in LA that were also obvious garage rock pioneers???