Don Randi of The Wrecking Crew

(via CultureSonar) by Mark Daponte

In 1974, the Righteous Brothers sang about a rock ‘n’ roll heaven reserved for rock stars. Peter Tork landed there in 2019 and let’s hope he actually gets to play guitar, unlike his Monkee days when the Wrecking Crew played on their albums instead of him.  These masters included Glen Campbell (“Mary, Mary,” and “The Kind of Girl I Could Love”), Al Casey (“Papa Gene’s Blues,” “Laugh”), and Bill Pitman (“The Monkees Theme Song”).  But Crew member Don Randi recalled: “Peter Tork was a great musician. He was the only one that could have held his own, as far as I’m concerned, with any of us.  And he wondered, “’Why the hell am I not on these records?’ He always came ready to play.”

At the age of 88, pianist Don Randi still comes ready to play the occasional club date with his two children, Leah and Justin, and to share anecdotes from his 2015 book You’ve Heard these Hands: From the Wall of Sound to the Wrecking Crew and Other Incredible Stories.  The book tells of his days of backing up the bigwigs like his good friend, Nancy Sinatra ( “These Boots Were Made for Walking”), Buffalo Springfield, the Association, Frank Zappa, Frank Sinatra, Lee Hazlewood, and many more…

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Video of the Week: ‘The Wrecking Crew’ Documentary

Carol Kaye, The First Lady of Bass Guitar

(via Culture Sonar) by John Montagna

The Fender “Precision Bass” Guitar first appeared in 1951, and within a few short years the bass guitar created a seismic shift in popular music thanks to a number of forward-thinking musicians. Chief among these bold explorers is female bass player Carol Kaye, born in Everett, Washington in 1935.

Initially, on the fast track to success as a jazz guitarist in Los Angeles, Kaye was thrust into the lucrative Hollywood studio scene at a 1957 recording session with Sam Cooke. One morning at Capitol Studios the bassist didn’t show up, and Kaye spontaneously picked up a “Fender bass” and took over. Plectrum in hand, she immediately seized upon the creative potential of the instrument and became an indispensable member of the now-famous “Wrecking Crew” collective of session musicians. The Crew defined the sound of American popular music in the 1960s, but Kaye’s musicality, creativity, and distinctive tone (the result of flatwound strings and a pick) helped redefine the bass guitar’s role in the rhythm section. Some might not know Carol Kaye’s name, but if they’ve ever been near a radio (or a TV set) you’ve heard her bass playing. Here is some of her signature work.

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Happy 87th to Session Drummer Extraordinaire Hal Blaine


(via The College of Rock and Roll Knowledge)

Remember that one song from years ago that you just loved…. well he probably played the drums on it.

Kind of a very vague statement isn’t it. But maybe not as vague as you might think……

Today, legendary studio session drummer Hal Blaine is celebrating his 87th birthday.

Never heard of him? Ok, that’s possible. Never heard him? Not likely. Here is a list of the #1 songs Hal played drums on:

“Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Elvis Presley (12/18/61)
“He’s a Rebel” – The Crystals (10/06/62)
“Surf City” – Jan & Dean (06/22/63)
“Everybody Loves Somebody” – Dean Martin (07/11/64)
“Ringo” – Lorne Greene (11/07/64)
“This Diamond Ring” – Gary Lewis & the Playboys (01/23/65)
“Help Me, Rhonda” – The Beach Boys (05/01/65)
“Mr Tambourine Man” – The Byrds (06/05/65)
“I Got You Babe” – Sonny & Cher (07/31/65)[8][9]
“Eve of Destruction” – Barry McGuire (08/28/65)
“My Love” – Petula Clark (01/15/66)
“These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” – Nancy Sinatra (02/05/66)
“Monday Monday” – The Mamas & the Papas (04/16/66)
“Strangers in the Night” – Frank Sinatra (07/02/66)
“Poor Side of Town” – Johnny Rivers (10/08/66)
“Good Vibrations” – The Beach Boys (10/29/66)
“Somethin’ Stupid” – Frank & Nancy Sinatra (03/25/67)
“The Happening” – The Supremes (04/15/67)[10][11]
“Windy” – The Association (06/03/67)
“Mrs. Robinson” – Simon & Garfunkel (05/04/68)
“Dizzy” – Tommy Roe (03/15/69)
“Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” – The 5th Dimension (04/12/69)
“Theme – Romeo & Juliet” – Henry Mancini (05/24/69)
“Wedding Bell Blues” – The 5th Dimension (10/04/69)
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Simon & Garfunkel (02/14/70)
“(They Long to Be) Close to You” – The Carpenters (06/27/70)
“Cracklin’ Rosie” – Neil Diamond (08/29/70)
“I Think I Love You” – The Partridge Family (10/31/70)
“Indian Reservation” – Paul Revere & the Raiders (05/29/71)
“Song Sung Blue” – Neil Diamond (05/13/72)
“Half Breed” – Cher (09/01/73)
“Annie’s Song” – John Denver (06/15/74)
“Top of the World” – The Carpenters (10/20/74)
“The Way We Were” – Barbra Streisand (12/22/74)
“Thank God I’m a Country Boy” – John Denver (04/05/75)
“Love Will Keep Us Together” – Captain & Tennille (05/24/75)
“I’m Sorry”/”Calypso” – John Denver (08/30/75)
“Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” – Diana Ross(01/24/76)

Now remember, these were just the #1 songs he played on.

Hal has recorded with, well just about everybody. (We would post a list here, but, he has over 35,000 sessions to his credit. You get the picture. He was / is the perfect studio drummer, perfect time and perfect creativity.

Happy Birthday Mr. Blaine!! Thank You for so much!!

hal blaine


“The Wrecking Crew For 200”


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