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#2954498 - 10/25/18 07:24 AM Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew
GregC Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
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Loc: Discovery Bay, California
https://medium.com/@JasonCMcBride/brian-wilson-used-freelancers-to-make-one-of-the-greatest-rock-albums-of-all-time-9241d564c6c3

Brian Wilson Used Freelancers to Make One of the Greatest Rock Albums of All Time

[snip]
Freelancing today is like being an elite studio musician in the 1960s — you can write your own ticket

In the 1960’s, rock and roll matured into an art form. No album highlighted this more than the Beach Boys classic Pet Sounds. Even over 40 years later, this record is considered one of the best rock albums of all time.

But, the only member of the band that actually played on the album was Beach Boys founder, and musical genius, Brian Wilson. The album was recorded with studio musicians.

Why did Wilson hire a bunch of freelancers to work on his masterpiece instead of using his bandmates?

The 60s and 70s were a great time to be a studio musician in Los Angeles. A core group of talented musicians, sometimes informally known as “The Wrecking Crew,” played on many of the biggest hits of the era. These players laid down tracks for everyone from Frank Sinatra to The Monkees.
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#2954499 - 10/25/18 07:26 AM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: GregC]
GregC Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: Discovery Bay, California
[snip snip]

Wilson, like every other music industry insider, knew about these musicians. They were talented professionals who always showed up on time, ready to work. They had so much experience that they could get through a session twice as fast, if not faster, than the stars who would get famous singing them.

The studios loved working with the Wrecking Crew because the studio musicians worked at a fixed hourly rate. The fixed rates combined with their rapid, high-quality output, meant that the studios could produce more records, and make more money in a shorter period of time.

Studio musicians were freelancers.
By the time the Brian Wilson was recording Pet Sounds, the Beach Boys were already huge. He wasn’t worried about the cost of making the record. He just wanted to get everything perfect.

Wilson hired studio musicians to work on his most important project because he knew that they were better at what they did than the other members of his bad — and they could do it faster.

Initially, some of the Beach Boys resented the musicians Wilson brought in to play on Pet Sounds. But, once the rest of the Beach Boys heard the record, they grudgingly admitted that Wilson had made the best choice. The smashing commercial success of the album further validated Wilson.
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#2954500 - 10/25/18 07:27 AM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: GregC]
GregC Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: Discovery Bay, California
[ca-ching snip ca-ching]

Many of the members of the Wrecking Crew became incredibly wealthy playing on other people’s records.

If you handle yourself right, you can make a lot of money as a freelancer working on other people’s projects. All you have to do is prove that you are the solution to their problems.
Like Brian Wilson, companies are willing to pay for freelance talent, as long as they are confident they will get the results they want.

It’s up to you to go and find them.
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#2954507 - 10/25/18 08:18 AM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: GregC]
skipclone 1 Offline
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Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 8250
Loc: Japan
I happen to know just such a person, a bass player. He is not only a studio ace but also a photographer, some of his work with models is pretty impressive. Based on his chat posts, we are on opposite sides of a lot of issues. But we sat in on a jam together that was memorable-the video has reportedly been `lost`-ya right. Anyway for the jam he checked his ego, anything was okay.
I`ve had bandmates who also considered studio musicians to be the last word-I think so too, up to a point. Being a kingmaker often pays better than being king. But how many docs are being made before it`s too late if not after, about the unsung side guys who made the sounds everyone associates with the stars? moreover, before something is played perfectly there has to be something to play. Creativity counts.
Then there`s the flat rate-that seems incompatible with doing well. Maybe for the top 1%, they get called enough to clean up.


Edited by skipclone 1 (10/25/18 08:23 AM)
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#2954525 - 10/25/18 10:11 AM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: skipclone 1]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 11487
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: skipclone 1
But how many docs are being made before it`s too late if not after, about the unsung side guys who made the sounds everyone associates with the stars?


A lot of us know who Jim Croce was/is and what a great singer song writer and guitar player he was. On par with Bob Dylan and James Taylor IMHO. But much of what was heard on stage and on record was played by his lead, rhythm and vocal back up man Maury Muehleisen. He died in the same plane crash with Jim. He was an excellent guitar man helping to bring Jim's acoustic guitar featured music alive! Here's a sample:



cool
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#2954529 - 10/25/18 10:38 AM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: skipclone 1]
GregC Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: Discovery Bay, California
Originally Posted By: skipclone 1
I .
I`ve had bandmates who also considered studio musicians to be the last word-I think so too, up to a point. Being a kingmaker often pays better than being king. But how many docs are being made before it`s too late if not after, about the unsung side guys who made the sounds everyone associates with the stars? moreover, before something is played perfectly there has to be something to play.

- Creativity counts.
Then there`s the flat rate-that seems incompatible with doing well. Maybe for the top 1%, they get called enough to clean up.


You raise good points. My guess is Brian Wilson had a strong idea what he expected from each studio musician. Behind the scenes, how much input did the studio ' bass player ' or studio drummer have on Mr Wilson's tracks ?

Of course, this album was some decades ago, but a song writer is a song writer , no matter the decade. The beauty , these days, is a musician/song writer can multi track and lay down parts to his hearts desire . That way the song writer can easily point out- ' this is how I hear the bass guitar ' in my original
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#2954531 - 10/25/18 10:44 AM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: Larryz]
GregC Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: Discovery Bay, California
Originally Posted By: Larryz
[quo

A lot of us know who Jim Croce was/is and what a great singer song writer and guitar player he was. On par with Bob Dylan and James Taylor IMHO. But much of what was heard on stage and on record was played by his lead, rhythm and vocal back up man Maury Muehleisen. He died in the same plane crash with Jim. He was an excellent guitar man helping to bring Jim's acoustic guitar featured music alive! Here's a sample:

cool


Jim Croce's music and story was a big deal to me back then. I use to follow his music and Leo Kotke , from Chicago.

Jim and his wife actually gave up on the frustrating music biz until....

Commercial Success

In 1970, one of Croce's former college friends, Joe Salviuolo, also known as Sal Joseph, introduced Croce to Maury Muehleisen, a classically trained pianist, guitarist and singer-songwriter from Trenton, New Jersey. Sal encouraged the duo to get together and record new songs, and to send them to ABC Records. At first, Croce backed Muehleisen on guitar, but their roles later reversed, with Muehleisen playing lead guitar to Croce's music. Following Sal's advice, Croce and Muehleisen recorded their songs and sent them to ABC, and soon met with producer Cashman in New York City. In 1972, ABC Records signed with Croce and released his first solo album, You Don't Mess Around With Jim. The record was an instant success, and became a Top 20 album in the United States. The title track reached the Top 10 on the pop charts
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#2954534 - 10/25/18 11:18 AM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: GregC]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 11487
Loc: Northern California
Yeah, the song I posted by Jim Croce was written to his wife as he and Muehleisen were so much in demand that Jim was not at home as much "I know it's kind of late, I hope I didn't wake you." and had to say I love you in a song.


Glen Campbell was one of the studio musicians on the Wrecking Crew and I suspect that's how he got a job playing as a Beach Boy for a tour or two... cool
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#2954541 - 10/25/18 12:12 PM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: Larryz]
GregC Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: Discovery Bay, California
Originally Posted By: Larryz

Glen Campbell was one of the studio musicians on the Wrecking Crew and I suspect that's how he got a job playing as a Beach Boy for a tour or two... cool


yes, Glen was a fantastic guitarist. Im a fan of Jimmy Webb and Glen. Incredible collaboration.

I have an arrangement of Wichita Lineman ( all keys etc) . Once I get the license , I will post it on my Sound Cloud.

I would like to do more 60's covers but locally, nobody cares about 60's. I determined this 2 yrs ago. Where I live is mostly country, dumb pop and some party rock.
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Innovation is never a single event. It is a long process of discovery, engineering, and transformation.
My Soundcloud with many originals:
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#2954559 - 10/25/18 02:03 PM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: GregC]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 7043
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Short answer = BW wanted it done right.
Actually the Beach Boys played on almost none of their early records, even before PSounds.
They did sing on their records.
Not really that unusual in those days (or even these---hint-hint :D).

On the 1st Byrds album the only bandmember who played was McGuinn & it's just possible that drummer Mike Clarke didn't play on any of them... idk
We also know what happened to Ringho Starr when The Beatles showed up to record their 1st EMI record.
G Martin, having thought they were bringing Pete "Best" back had already booked a studio pro & Ringo wound up whacking a tambourine, although he did do the playing on an alternate take.
I forget which was the single & which the album version but for a while (maybe still ?) you could hear & compare both versions.

Anywhat, per the Bleached Boys, they may've not all played on any of their records til THE BEACH BOYS PARTY !





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#2954562 - 10/25/18 03:19 PM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: d]
GregC Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: Discovery Bay, California
Originally Posted By: d
Short answer = BW wanted it done right.
Actually the Beach Boys played on almost none of their early records, even before PSounds.
They did sing on their records.
Not really that unusual in those days (or even these---hint-hint :D).


We also know what happened to Ringho Starr when The Beatles showed up to record their 1st EMI record.
G Martin, having thought they were bringing Pete "Best" back had already booked a studio pro & Ringo wound up whacking a tambourine, although he did do the playing on an alternate take.



good research. I recall that Ringo did not like to practice. So no surprise he did not play in the 1st album.

Back to BW and song writers. Possible observation. I write songs, over 40, copyright.
I play every instrument on keys plus lay down drum tracks.

As a result of this effort and 1 man band thing, I would be controlling about how parts are played. The studio musician would have to add a lot of value to replace my recorded track. Plus I use different drum kits on each song, different bass guitars.

I probably will never be in a formal studio and have the experience of excellent studio pros. But as of now, I like my recorded effort- like little children I have raised
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#2954841 - 10/27/18 10:21 AM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: GregC]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
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Ringo did play on The Beatles 1st album.
He didn't play on one version of their 1st single & on 1 or 2 trax on the "White Album" b/c he got angry & took a vacation so McCartney stood in.
As far as anyone can determine everything else is Ringo.
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#2954844 - 10/27/18 10:54 AM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: d]
Scott Fraser Offline
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Registered: 03/20/05
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Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: d
Ringo did play on The Beatles 1st album.
He didn't play on one version of their 1st single & on 1 or 2 trax on the "White Album" b/c he got angry & took a vacation so McCartney stood in.
As far as anyone can determine everything else is Ringo.


Yup. Andy White was brought in on the recut of "Love Me Do". Ringo played drums on the first session, which wasn't deemed good enough to release. A week later they re-recorded it with White on drums & Ringo on tambourine. That became the first single.
There is no evidence to support the Bernard Purdie claim that he played on many Beatles tracks.
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#2954847 - 10/27/18 10:57 AM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: d]
GregC Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: Discovery Bay, California
Originally Posted By: d
Ringo did play on The Beatles 1st album.
He didn't play on one version of their 1st single & on 1 or 2 trax on the "White Album" b/c he got angry & took a vacation so McCartney stood in.
As far as anyone can determine everything else is Ringo.


I stand corrected. Thank you !
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Innovation is never a single event. It is a long process of discovery, engineering, and transformation.
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#2954891 - 10/27/18 04:37 PM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: d]
Bartholomew Offline
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Registered: 02/29/04
Posts: 502
Loc: Montreal
Just showing off and have some free time --- we had a couple of amazing connections at a very young age and hopefully some talent also:

I did a few New York recording sessions with a couple of known studio players way back. Not the Wrecking Crew but similar at this end of the country. One of the guitar players had done the banjo intro on Hello Dolly with Louis Armstrong plus steel guitar on Elvis Blue Hawaii among other hits. The bass player on a couple of our Atlantic sessions produced Cream, The YoungBloods, Mountain and my band plus he wrote Clapton's first North American hit with his wife (Strange Brew). One of our NY producers did "Sleepwalk" with Santo & Johnny. Our showbiz Lawyer managed Foreigner and got us signed to Atlantic Records with Tom Dowd and Felix Pappalardi producing. I've done sessions in England with Jim Gordon on drums while he was working with Joe Cocker, George Harrison, Leon Russell. Jim wrote part of Layla with Clapton, had seven sets of drums in major London studios and took taxis from place to place doing all kinds of sessions, did a ton of everybody's hit records as well as ad jingles for radio & tv, The Everly Brothers, Derek & Dominoes, Traffic - just amazing the amount of credits he had.

Lawyers, producers and agents stole my arranging and production credits on pretty much every session, our Montreal Agent sold his 1/3 share of Mountain for $80K US $ which was a payoff for putting us in NY a couple of years prior since Felix took Corky into Mountain after we broke up - could write a book but some of it would be X-Rated. We took a beach gig away from The Vagrants in Long Island and Leslie West hated us but ended-up with my drummer who wrote most of Mississippi Queen. The payoff to get into the top 50 on Cashbox or Billboard was approx $5,000 and we were there more than once with a bullet. I wanted to be a one-hit wonder and almost got there several times.

To change the subject...most fun moment was a food fight with The Young Rascals and The Shangri-Las at the Hampton Diner after our gigs in a couple of Long Island Hampton Beach Clubs. That blond tall chick was amazing, our weapons of choice were the squeezee ketchup and mustard dispensers. Corky Laing and myself got banned from that place for life plus I bonked the owner's favorite waitress a couple of days earlier and he found out...life on the road.

Have to say the nicest and most helpful guys in the music business to us were the studio players who had made it into the hit-record big leagues.
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#2955017 - 10/28/18 01:28 PM Re: Studio Musicians, Brian Wilson , The Wrecking Crew [Re: Bartholomew]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
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Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Not to turn the thread too far off track but...
Originally Posted By: Bartholomew
...The bass player on a couple of our Atlantic sessions produced Cream, The YoungBloods, Mountain and my band plus he wrote Clapton's first North American hit with his wife (Strange Brew). One of our NY producers did "Sleepwalk" with Santo & Johnny. Our showbiz Lawyer managed Foreigner and got us signed to Atlantic Records with Tom Dowd and Felix Pappalardi producing...

That "bass player" would be Pappalardi himself, of course !

Originally Posted By: Bartholomew
... Jim Gordon wrote part of Layla with Clapton...

JG was an incredible musician (too bad how he wound up freak )
However he didn't actually compose that piano coda---he swiped it from Rita Coolidge, a particularly talented singer/musician & his girlfriend at the time.

Those w/an interest may want to chk her memoir Delta Lady: A Memoir for some other real bg on working the studio scenes at the pro level.
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