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Download The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Rolls Best-Kept Secret, by Kent Hartman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (232 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kent Hartman Narrator: Dan John Miller Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Part Hit Men and part Laurel Canyon, this hidden history of rock and roll chronicles the uncredited studio musicians who provided the soundtrack for a generation during the 1960s and 1970s.

If you were a fan of popular music in the 1960s and early 70s, you were a fan of the Wrecking Crew—whether you knew it or not.

On hit record after hit record by everyone from the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and the Monkees to the Grass Roots, the 5th Dimension, Sonny & Cher, and Simon & Garfunkel, this collection of West Coast studio musicians from diverse backgrounds established themselves as the driving sound of pop music—sometimes over the objection of actual band members forced to make way for Wrecking Crew members. Industry insider Kent Hartman tells the dramatic, definitive story of the musicians who forged a reputation throughout the business as the secret weapons behind the top recording stars.

Mining invaluable interviews, the author follows the careers of such session masters as drummer Hal Blaine and keyboardist Larry Knechtel, as well as trailblazing bassist Carol Kaye, who went on to play in thousands of recording sessions. Listeners will discover the Wrecking Crew members who would forge careers in their own right, including Glen Campbell and Leon Russell, and learn of the relationship between the Crew and such legends as Phil Spector and Jimmy Webb. Hartman also takes us inside the studio for the legendary sessions that gave us Pet Sounds, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and the rock classic “Layla,” which Wrecking Crew drummer Jim Gordon cowrote with Eric Clapton for Derek and the Dominos. And the author recounts priceless scenes such as Mike Nesmith of the Monkees facing off with studio head Don Kirshner, Grass Roots lead guitarist (and future star of The Office) Creed Bratton getting fired from the group, and Michel Rubini unseating Frank Sinatra’s pianist for the session in which the iconic singer improvised the hit-making ending to “Strangers in the Night.”

The Wrecking Crew tells the collective, behind-the-scenes stories of the artists who dominated Top 40 radio during the most exciting time in American popular culture.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It makes good music sound better.”

    New York Times

  • “Hartman’s book is a great tour through the California music scene of the 60s and 70s and a great introduction to how the music business functioned back then. This story has all the makings of a great HBO series.”

    Hollywood Reporter

  • “Hartman makes a compelling case for the skill of his subjects, who often fabricated the crucial hooks that brought their clients fame. Some chapters, such as one about the recording of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” are rich in fly-on-the-wall detail.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the Audie Award for history

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ken | 2/18/2014

    " I'm giving this book four stars because it's a quick, interesting read with a lot of great stories. The problem for me is that is too quick. The subject of the book, the pop music made in Los Angeles in the '60s, is one of my favorites. I could have easily used another 1,000 pages on the subject. I want to know more, but this is a good place to start for anyone who wants a basic history of the scene. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Robert | 2/8/2014

    " This book really rocks! Hartman rolls through the Los Angeles-based recording world of the 1960s and early 70s, naming the names of the studio musicians who backed the bands for all of our favorite AM Top 40 hits. Growing up listening to that music, I just assumed that the band on the record label were the musicians recording the music. Hartman wrecks that notion by telling us all about the real talent behind the "talent." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Monica | 2/1/2014

    " I heard the author of this book, Kent Hartman, being interviewed on KQRS radio on the way to work one morning a few months ago and he was so interesting and so knowledgeable it made for a great interview. I made a mental note to read the book. I found a $2 copy at a used book sale (not bad, it was just published in Feb. 2012). It was a fun read with a lot of details about hit records primarily of the 1960's that were recorded in Los Angeles. I never realized that so many of the same musicians played the instruments for so many artists (not just the Monkees). Some artists could deal with others recording the studio performances and others couldn't. I love some of the little music trivia bits, like how the bass line was developed for Sonny & Cher's "And the Beat Goes On". There were sad stories, too, like Brian Wilson's breakdown and Phil Spector's fall from favor. Mostly, it was just interesting learning the story of how musicians Hal Blaine, Glen Campbell, Carol Kaye, Larry Knechtel, Michel Rubini, Tom Tedesco and others became part of the reliable "Wrecking Crew" who performed on so many hit records, often uncredited. Their contributions went beyond just playing; they also suggested parts and arrangements that improved the recordings and helped to create the hits. It's an easy, enjoyable read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Scott Hersey | 1/30/2014

    " Fun, easy read about the LA session crew that played on EVERYTHING from Phil Spector records, to Sonny & Cher, Simon & Garfunkel, even Sinatra and Dean Martin. Also, all the later Beach Boys records after Brian Wilson determined the band couldn't keep up with his visions. "

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About the Author

Kent Hartman is a longtime music industry entrepreneur who has worked with dozens of well-known artists, including Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, Hall & Oates, Counting Crows, and Lyle Lovett. He has written for American Heritage, the Oregonian, and the Portland Tribune. Hartman teaches marketing at Portland State University and for several years produced the Classic Comedy Break, a nationwide radio feature. He lives in Portland, Oregon.