The Wrecking Crew Feud: Carol Kaye vs. Hal Blaine.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by IamGroot, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    You decide.

  2. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    BTW, I had a disagreement with a fellow TB'er over the origins of the name Wrecking Crew earlier this year- whether it was bogus and made up for the film "Wrecking Crew" made by Tommy Tedesco's son. Can't find the thread using search. Anyway, here is more info and I understand where he was coming from better. Trying to develop the big picture here.
  3. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Having watched the 'Wrecking Crew' movie by Danny Tedesco, and read the books by Kent Hartman and Hal Blaine himself, I think Hal comes across as a decent guy.
    Carol seems to have a bee in her bonnet about the 'wrecking crew' name, which seems sad.
    I've not read her book yet (it's a bit expensive for me, when I have to include shipping), but someday I will.

    That group made some of the greatest music of their era together and I'd prefer not to lessen their memory and impact with silly bickering.
    FilterFunk, GregC, nixdad and 4 others like this.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008

    Years active 1960s–1970s

    The Wrecking Crew was a loose collective of session musicians based in Los Angeles whose services were employed for thousands of studio recordings in the 1960s and early 1970s, including several hundred Top 40 hits.

    The musicians were not publicly recognized in their era, but were viewed prestigiously among industry insiders. They are now considered one of the most successful and prolific session recording units in music history.

    Most of the players associated with the Wrecking Crew had formal backgrounds in jazz or classical music. The group had no official name in their active years, and it remains a subject of dispute whether or not they were referred to as "the Wrecking Crew" at the time.

    Drummer Hal Blaine popularized the name in a 1990 memoir, attributing it to older musicians who felt that the group's embrace of rock and roll was going to "wreck" the music industry. Some of Blaine's colleagues corroborated his account, while guitarist and bassist Carole Kaye contends that the Clique was the term used.

    Another unofficial name was the First Call Gang, sometimes used in the 1950s for an embryonic version of the group headed by bassist Ray Pohlman which featured some of the same musicians.

    The unit coalesced in the early 1960s as the de facto house band for Phil Spector, contributing to the development of his Wall of Sound production methods.[1] Largely due to the success of Spector's records, they became the most requested session musicians in Los Angeles, playing behind many popular recording artists such as Jan & Dean, Sonny & Cher, the Mamas & the Papas, the 5th Dimension, Frank Sinatra, and Nancy Sinatra.

    The musicians were sometimes used as "ghost players" on recordings credited to rock groups, such as the Byrds' debut rendition of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" (1965), the first two albums by the Monkees, and the Beach Boys' 1966 album Pet Sounds.

    They were also occasionally credited as the Phil Spector Wall of Sound Orchestra for a few of his later records.

    The Wrecking Crew's contributions on so many hit recordings went largely unnoticed until the publication of Blaine's memoir and the attention that followed.

    Keyboardist Leon Russell and guitarist Glen Campbell were members who became popular solo acts, while Blaine is reputed to have played on more than 140 top-ten hits, including approximately 40 number-one hits.

    Other musicians who formed the unit's ranks were drummer Earl Palmer, saxophonist Steve Douglas, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, and keyboardist Larry Knechtel who became a member of Bread.

    Blaine and Palmer were among the inaugural "sidemen" inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, while the entire Wrecking Crew was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2007. In 2008, they were the subject of the documentary The Wrecking Crew.
    The Owl and IamGroot like this.
  5. StudioStuntz


    Jul 19, 2015
    I became aware of session players as early as 1966 via the Mamas and the Papas debut album.

    Out of about a dozen first-call players, Blaine, Osborn, and Knechtel, to me were the main three that often played together, especially at (United) Western Studios (6000 Sunset Blvd), which I'm sure had something to do with it as each studio seemed to have their go to first call favorites.

    Studio 3, the smallest room of its two buildings, was the most popular for many of the 60s top 40 hits not requiring a live orchestra.

    6050 Sunset Blvd. had the largest room (one only), Studio 1, which Sinatra used extensively.
    That was also the room that was used in the film 'You Light Up My Life,' which also used some of the actual employees as themselves.
    The VP was seen smoking a tobacco pipe in the control room.

    Pet Clark's 'My Love' was also recorded there, yet hundreds more.

    Here's some various interesting contracts from various studios from select recording dates during the height of the Wrecking Crew.
    Some of the pay scales were also revealed.

    Back in 2005, some of these actually had their SS#s.
    Edit: I'm going to retract that because I'm sure by then people were hip to the dangers of exposing those numbers by then, but everything else you see blocked out was visible then.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
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  6. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    Thanks for including the contracts. Fascinating reading.
  7. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    Yep, that was likely with me...

    My research into Ms Kaye tends to support her claims - "she's one of the most honest people I know" was a big producer's quote. Didn't find anything like that about the Wrecking Crew creators Blaine and Tedesco (Denny, for example was angry that his dad left him no money when he died! One of the details *my* research revealed...).

    When searching for the name "The Wrecking Crew" in the 1960s, all I found was a spy-spoof film (The Wrecking Crew (1968) - IMDb) starring Dean Martin. No mention of any musicians under that moniker until 1990s, to promote at least Hal Blaine's book, and likely Ken Hartman's book soon after. The name is s'pose to be Blaine's creation. Although, again, I couldn't find any proof that name existed then, when he claims it did, except for that Dean Martin film.

    The name "The Wrecking Crew" (title, or part of the title of at least 3 books, and a film) has permeated the net to the point that the truth is difficult, if not impossible to find now.

    I chose to side with Carol Kaye, and not support the "fake" documentary. Many of the "1st call" musicians of/from that time also support her, from what I have heard, and what she claims. And she has actually named most of them in interviews, and on FB and her own website (which I haven't seen in a few years).

    Anyways... "If you believe..."
    Michael Bauer likes this.
  8. jeffb28451


    Aug 6, 2006
    Leland NC
    I love her work, but Ms Kaye sure picks some weird topics to get torqued about.
    The Owl, bholder, ScottTunes and 4 others like this.
  9. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    I posted this for info only. I believe in sharing all the data. I am not going to take sides.

    I revere the session players of that era both in LA and Detroit. NYC as
    well, but dont know much about NYC.

    Hal Blaines drumming speaks for itself. I posted a video here earlier. I wish someone would make a similar video for Carol,..and Ray Pohlman, Larry Knechtel, Lyle Ritz (who passed recently) , Max Bennett.....and Tommy Tedesco.

    Tommy Tedesco was one of my heros, because of his book which had a lot of useful info for working guys.

    His son , like Dr. Licks has done great service getting the word out to the public about the formerly unknown session players.
    nixdad likes this.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Carol Kaye in a FEUD??????

    Pish posh. Spread that filth somewhere else. I don't buy it.

  11. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I love Carol Kaye. She's got a lot of bees in her bonnet, but it's a lovely bonnet.
  12. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    BTW, there is a clip of Chuck Bergdorf playing upright on one of the many "Good Vibrations " sessions.

    He is using a pick.
    jd56hawk and ScottTunes like this.
  13. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I wish I knew why Ms. Kaye is so bitter. She was/is incredibly talented. But she seems to be looking for any fight she can find. Being a session musician is like being an offensive lineman in football. You get paid, you don't get credit unless you @#!$% up.

    FWIW, Blaine says it was he who coined the term, and that he named the band for talking to his secretary. I have heard that name for decades, and have never heard of the name "The Clique".
    RichardCranium, Loring and Bass Momma like this.
  14. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    If I had to take a cynical guess, it's because Hal got a book out first, and clearly she felt she didn't get enough face time in the movie.
  15. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Yeah, but every time I turn around, she is arguing with someone. I am sure as a woman in the 60-70s music scene, she had to put up with a lot, but obviously got plenty of gigs.
  16. -Asdfgh-


    Apr 13, 2010
    She tends to fight her corner, which might be because she had to as a woman in a male-controlled recording industry.

    I've had personal dealings with her, and she's always been kind, and might still be sending me Christmas cards (I moved, and I am terrible at sending them).
  17. diegom

    diegom Supporting Member

    I second that. Awesome human being!! I love how she can't help but give constructive advice every time she's seen me play (noodle) at NAMM!!! (BTW, not PLAYING, playing. Really just hanging out at the Ibanez booth...)
  18. wizerd


    Jan 5, 2012
    Prone to ranting, episodes of moral outrage.
    Well, not to choose up sides here but I'm inclined to line up in Carol Kaye's corner. Regardless, how bout we just enjoy some of the best music ever?
    Michael Bauer, ScottTunes and Oddly like this.
  19. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Carol Kaye is not bitter. She's grouchy as heck, but she's an amazing, legendary player, and it's not like Hal Blaine is some kind of angel. Carol sees the truth her own way, and gets irritated when she thinks people are reporting it falsely. She's been wrong on lots of things, (mostly song credits,) but she's often right about calling out self-serving "history."

    And she AND Hal have helped countless wannabe players.
  20. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    One thing to keep in mind is that she was in a relatively serious car accident after the height of her studio career and sustained a head injury. She's admitted to some memory problems and other neurological issues as a result.

    Head injuries can easily cause a change in someone's personality from assertive to combative.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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