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Subject:     Music; U.S./1945 - 1991; SEL: **; Moral-Ethical Emphasis: **; Available from Amazon.com. Citizenship.

Ages:        ; 9th through college Levels

MPAA Rating: PG

Length:      Film Clip: ** minutes.

Description of the Film Clip:     This is a documentary about an informal group of Hollywood musics who played the instrumental for most of the hit rock and roll songs of the 1960s and 1970s. During this period, and unknown to the public, the American bands on the stage at perfromances were not considered good enough to play the instrumentals on the recordings.

Rationale:     This film will introduce students to an interesting era in U.S. pop music history.

Learner Outcomes/Objectives:     See Rationale.



Learner Outcomes/Objectives
Description of the Snippet
Using the Snippet in Class:
      Suggested Introduction and
             Post-Viewing Comments
      Discussion Questions


Helpful Background:

For a little more than a decade, from approximately 1962 to 1973 there was a relatively small set of go-to studio musicians that were used by the music industry in Los Angeles to produce an amazing number of hit records. There was no official membership and musicians floated in and out of the group as they came and went from other gigs, but the total number of people in The Wrecking Crew totalled approximately 50 people in all, and probably between 15 and 30 at any given time.

The Wrecking Crew made the recorded versions of songs for groups such as The Beachboys, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, The Righteous Brothers, Sony & Cher, The Monkees, the 5th Dimension, Simon & Garfunkle, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Neil Diamond, The Carpenters, Glen Campbell, and many more.

Their work was more than just playing written scores. Often, they were asked to improvise and on occasion, they came up with the music that made the songs into hits. Examples include Carole Kaye's base in The Beat Goes On (Sony & Cher, 1967) and ***

The Wrecking Crew were responsible for the instrumentals more than 70 hit records, including The Beach Boys: Surfer Girl (1963), Surfin USA (1963), Help Me Rhonda (1963) Good Vibrations (1966); The Byrds: Hey Mr. Tambourine Man (1965); The Mams & the Papas: California Dreamin' (1965); The Righteous Brothers: you've Lost that Lovin' Feelin' (1964); (You're My) Soul and Inspiration (1966) Yet, with only a few exceptions, the members of The Wrecking Crew were never given credit for their work. The public was led to believe that the artists who were on stage were performing the music on the records.

While all of The Wrecking Crew were extremly talented musicians, only a few broke out to become popular solo artists The best examples are Leon Russel and Glen Campbell. The Wrecking Crew was all male except for Carole Kay, an immensely talented guitarist.

For more go to Wikipedia Article on The Wrecking Crew This is a particularly well-researched and well-written article drawn primarily from Kent Hartman definitive treatment of the subject, The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best Kept Secret.

Using the Film Clip in the Classroom

After the film, tell the class that:


Class Discussion Prompt:

*** Suggested Response:

*** Suggested Response:

*** Suggested Response:

Links to the Internet

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  • Bibliography

    The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret, by Kent Hartman, 2012, Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Griffin, New York.


    Possible Problems for this Snippet:This snippet shows many young men dying in a war zone, dismembered bodies, arterial bleeding, etc.

    Why Not Show the Whole Movie? It's too long and students can get all they need out of the story with the Snippet.

    Location on DVD: Start at the beginning and play the film until ...

    Select questions that are appropriate for your students.

    Give us your feedback! Was the Guide helpful? If so, which sections were most helpful? Do you have any suggestions for improvement? Email us!

    This Snippet Lesson Plan written by James Frieden and Deborah Elliott .

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