The Wrecking Crew were a group of studio musicians who played on dozens of songs. Some of the songs are classics and some are better forgotten. I reviewed THE WRECKING CREW documentary
here. Both the DVD and this 4-CD set are well worth experiencing. Do you see any favorite songs in this collection? GRADE: A
Track List:
Disc 1
Be My Baby — The Ronettes 2:42
Walk Right In — The Moments 2:11
This Diamond Ring — Gary Lewis & The Playboys 2:11
The Birds and the Bees — Jewel Akens 2:11
La Bamba — Richie Valens 2:05
Johnny Angel — Shelly Fabre 2:11
Mr. Tambourine Man — The Byrds 2:31
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Discuss Stone Soul Picnic :59
Stone Soul Picnic — The Fifth Dimension 3:31
Let’s Go (Pony) — The Routers 2:22
Deep Purple — April & Nino 2:44
Donna — Rickie Valens 2:24
Let’s Dance — Chris Montez 2:31
Mike Melvoin Joke Drummer Joke :10
Dean Torrence Talks About Baby Talk 1:39
Baby Talk — Jan & Dean 2:25
Monday Monday — The Mamas and The Papas 3:27
To Know Him is to Love Him — The Teddy Bears 2:26
Guantanamera — The Sandpipers 3:23
Disc 2
Good Vibrations — The Beach Boys 3:39
California Dreamin’ –The Mamas and The Papas 2:44
Dizzy — Tommy Roe 2:56
Eve of Destruction (Barry McGuire Interview) 1:11
Eve of Destruction — Barry McGuire 3:34
Windy — The Association 2:56
Up, Up and Away — The Fifth Dimension 2:38
This Guy’s in Love with You — Herb Alpert 4:02
Everybody’s Talking — Harry Nilsson 2:51
The Big Hurt — Miss Toni Fisher 2:11
Mary, Mary — The Monkees 2:27
The Beat Goes On — Sonny & Cher 3:22
Baja — Jack Nitzsche 2:22
California Sunshine Girl — The Shacklefords 2:45
Flying Telecaster — Michael Nesmith 3:20
You Told Me — Michael Nesmith 4:37
Little War –Suze Jane Hokem 2:08
Disc 3
Wichita Lineman — Glen Campbell 3:10
Midnight Confessions — The Grass Roots 2:49
God Only Knows — The Beach Boys 2:55
Danke Shoen — Wayne Newton 2:45
Louis Shelton Talks about Valerie 1:29
Valerie — The Monkees 2:27
Another Saturday Night — Sam Cooke 2:24
Out of Limits — The Markets 2:17
Sleep in the Grass — Ann Margret and Lee Hazelwood 3:25
Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) — Paul Revere & The Raiders 2:55
Gypsies Tramps and Thieves — Cher 2:40
Summer Breeze — Seals & Crofts 3:30
The Lonely Surfer — Jack Nietzsche 2:37
Hal Blaine 3 Piece Suite Joke :11
Whipped Cream — Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass 2:38
Dedicated to the One I Love — The Mamas and The Papas 3:31
It Ain’t Easy Being Green — Ray Charles 3:01
Julie, Do Ya Love Me — Bobby Sherman 2:58
Forget Marie — Lee Hazelwood 2:01
Disc 4
The Beat Goes On — Hal Blaine’s Hollywood Drum Band 3:39
Surfin’ Hootenanny — Al Casey 2:11
James Bond Theme — Billy Strange 2:00
Walking and Talking — Bobby Tedesco 6:03
Floreando — Al Delory 3:39
De Patie Melt — Don Randi & John DePatti 2:28
Safari West — Buddy Collette 7:01
Deep Drum — Hal Blaine 3:12
Lost in the Shuffle — Mike Deasy 3:08
Cute — Frank Capp 3:08
Concierto de Aranjuez — Dennis Budimir 4:55
Ciao Bella — Emil Richards 5:50
Blues Cha Cha — Michael Rubini 3:30
Beginner’s Luck — Lyle Ritz 3:20
Afternoon in Paris — Chuck Berghofer 6:32
Begin the Blues — Barney Kessel 4:26
Room 2000 — Tommy Tedesco 2:19
Grease Patrol — Plas Johnson 6:25


  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    Some great stuff here. Also some songs that I never want to hear again: Danke Schoen, Johnny Angel, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, Up Up and Away,

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    Don’t forget “Julie Do You Love Me” by Bobby Sherman, an abomination.

    Many favorites, starting with”Be My Baby,” one of the greats and a top five for “best beginning of a song ever.” Also California Dreamin’ and Let’s Dance and Good Vibrations and God Only Knows and many others.

    What happened to the George S. Kauman book that I posted on before it disappeared?

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, THE WRECKING CREW played for many performers and bands. The quality of the material they were asked to play was variable. The Kaufman book is tomorrow’s post. WORDPRESS loves to surprise me by moving posts around.

  3. Deb

    The funny thing would be if Kaufman had been part of the Wrecking Crew. Of course, Mary Astor claimed in her diary that Kaufman certainly “wrecked” her. Lol!

    Was Leon Russell part of the crew? I thought he did keyboards and perhaps backing vocals for “This Diamond Ring” and “Palasades Park,” among others.

    So many good songs, but also quite a bit of dreck. Well, when you’re a session musician, you show up and play what they tell you to. It ain’t gonna be “Good Vibrations” every day.

    1. george Post author

      Deb. you’re right about Leon Russell. Here’s the list of all the musicians who played in THE WRECKING CREW over the years:
      Max Bennett (musician)
      Lou Blackburn
      Hal Blaine
      Sonny Bono
      James Burton
      Glen Campbell
      Frank Capp
      Al Casey (rock guitarist)
      Roy Caton
      Jerry Cole
      Al De Lory
      Mike Deasy
      Steve Douglas (saxophonist)
      Jim Gordon (musician)
      The Ron Hicklin Singers
      Milt Holland
      Jim Horn
      Dr. John
      Plas Johnson
      Carol Kaye
      Barney Kessel
      Larry Knechtel
      Jay Migliori
      Jack Nitzsche
      Joe Osborn
      Earl Palmer
      Bill Pitman
      Richard Podolor
      Ray Pohlman
      Don Randi
      Lyle Ritz
      Howard Roberts
      Michel Rubini
      Leon Russell
      Phil Spector
      Billy Strange
      Tommy Tedesco
      Nino Tempo
      Tony Terran
      Julius Wechter

      1. Deb

        Carol Kaye was a Jeopardy category a few weeks back. I guess because she was a woman and a bassist—a rare combination.

      2. Todd Mason

        Less rare than you might think, but she was pretty rare as being a core member of the Crew, and not given any guff about it…or at least not much more than women had to put up with in most mostly-male environments. Nobody questioned her ability.

  4. wolf

    Those were the days …
    I fondly remember many of those songs (not on CD4 however), the two by Richie Valens I had on a tape loop for my tape recorder so I could run them all afternoon …
    The Byrds and the Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, Sonny and Cher, Leon Russell and then of course (in)famous Phil Spector’s first song:
    To Know Him is to Love Him — The Teddy Bears
    I wouldn’t buy those CDs because I have all the good (for me) songs already …

    If I remember correctly the wrecking crew also worked on Spector’s production of Tina Turner’s River deep, mountain high (where her husband was forbidden in the studio).

  5. Cap'n Bob

    I can tolerate anything but Sonny Bono! I can’t imagine what he did on the Wrecking Crew! His singing sucked and he was no musician AFAIK!

      1. Todd Mason

        He wasn’t in the WC (as you might hope), but they were hired to help make his records, as with everyone else here….though some (the Monkees were not untalented, but none of them was going to play the guitar runs on “Valerie”) needed their help more than others (they played on early Byrds tracks to shame most of the band into taking their rehearsal time seriously; Roger McGuinn was the only Byrd playing on some of those released recordings.)

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