The Wrecking Crew in the Rock Marathon!

What does it take to put together a Rock Marathon program? For me, about a year of research. Wednesday, April 10, 2019, I host a three-hour program featuring the Wrecking Crew.

From 6-9am I’ll air music by this extraordinary group of players — and trying to raise some major cash for WTJU in the process!

Who was the Wrecking Crew?

The Wrecking Crew comprised of a loose band of about twenty studio musicians who worked in Los Angeles. From the mid-1950s through the mid-1970s, they were the first choice for producers and artists.

During their heyday, they weren’t known as the Wrecking Crew. That term was added later. They were the Clique or the First-calls. Members of the Crew played on approximately 6,000 recordings and hundreds of Top 40 hits.

Most of the major recording studios, such as Gold Star, Western Recording, Capitol Records, A&M Records, Warner Bros., and CBS were all in the same general area. Many Wrecking Crew members booked back-to-back sessions, quickly traveling from one studio to another.

They were highly paid (often double union scale) and they worked constantly. Wrecking Crew members earned six-figure incomes, yet remained anonymous to the general public. They were rarely credited on album sleeves, and never on singles.

I want to feature as many different recordings as possible, to help folks understand the talent and the diversity of styles these players could accomplish.

Who was in the Wrecking Crew?

Leon Russell and Glen Campbell honed their skills working back-to-back recording sessions as part of the Wrecking Crew. Dr. John also was part of the First Calls for a while.

The Crew included Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Steve Douglas (sax), Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer.

Keyboardist Larry Knetchel won a Grammy for his work on “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Bassist Carol Kaye was the only woman in the First Calls, and one of the most prolific. Her session credits range from Richie Valens and the Beach Boys to J.J. Cale and Frank Zappa (as well as extensive TV and movie soundtrack work).

On Sunday, April 14, Erin O. will be hosting a three-hour program devoted to Carol Kaye beginning at 9 am. And between both shows, you’ll still only hear a fraction of what she recorded!

Tommy Tedesco contributed guitar solos to countless tracks — he even provided the guitar solos for the “Bonanza,” and “Green Acres” opening credits!

What’s the show about?

It’s about three hours long. And that’s the problem. There’s so much material to cover.

In addition to Top 40 singles, the Crew recorded album tracks. They recorded for artists famous and obscure. They recorded TV themes and movie soundtracks. They recorded with pop singers, rock groups, jazz artists, and even country artists.

I’ll focus on what the Wrecking Crew did best — Top 40 hit singles. And I’ll still only have time to present a very small sample.

I hope you’ll tune in and listen — and pledge.
The Wrecking Crew
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 6-9am
WTJU 91.1 fm,

For even more about the Crew’s star bassist, sure to listen to:

Ace of Bass: An Ode to Carol Kaye
Sunday, April 14, 2019 9am-noon
WTJU 91.1 fm,

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