Book Review: Twisting by the Pool

Rock & roll summer reading

Twisting by the Pool

The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock & Roll's Best-Kept Secret

by Kent Hartman
St. Martin's Griffin, 320 pp., $15.99 (paper)

You've heard this story before, from 2002's Standing in the Shadows of Motown to folklore surrounding the once-unheralded sessionistas at Stax. Venerable L.A. recording troupe the Wrecking Crew – a name drummer Hal Blaine bestowed upon the more than 50 musicians who backed such iconic acts as the Monkees, the Beach Boys, Nancy Sinatra, and the Byrds – cut more hit records than you can fit into a jukebox, but aside from the players who broke out and went solo (Glen Campbell, Dr. John, Leon Russell), you've likely never known their names. Author Kent Hartman walks readers through the studio's walls to exhaustive detail, opening with a story about the first time Campbell picked up a guitar somewhere in Arkansas, before relaying the specific emotions that led to every one of the Crew's phone calls and chord changes. Those recounts get laborious after the 15th or 50th dramatised control room conversation that could not have possibly gone to wit. By the time Phil Spector stops by, it's clear this wall of written sound could have been 60 pages shorter.

READ MORE
More The Wrecking Crew
Thomas Frank's 21st Century Corruption Theory
Thomas Frank's 21st Century Corruption Theory
Frank moves far beyond Kansas with his new analysis of the conservative movement

Wells Dunbar, Aug. 15, 2008

Outsider Art
Outsider Art
Music on the margins

Josh Rosenblatt, March 7, 2008

More Music Reviews
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way
The Parrothead behind the empire

Doug Freeman, July 21, 2017

All Over the Map, True Heroes of Texas Music
All Over the Map, True Heroes of Texas Music

Kevin Curtin, June 16, 2017

More by Chase Hoffberger
Former APD Officer Coleman Martin’s Charges Dropped
Former APD Officer Coleman Martin’s Charges Dropped
Cop who faked his own death accepts probation, won’t face misdemeanor charges

Oct. 20, 2017

APD Body Cameras Coming to East Austin Next Week
APD Body Cameras Coming to East Austin Next Week
Departmental rollout of 736 cameras will continue through year's end

Oct. 13, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

The Wrecking Crew, Hal Blaine, Glen Campbell, Monkees, Beach Boys, Dr. John, Leon Russell, Phil Spector

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)