- Historic Sites
The Wrecking Crew Top 10
. . . and high time they got some credit for these classics
February/March 2007 | Volume 58, Issue 1
Yes, Alpert did play trumpet, but the rest of the Tijuana Brass actually consisted of the Wrecking Crew. A little-known fact: During 1966 Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass sold more records than any group in the world, including the Beatles. A second little-known fact: The model on the album cover was actually covered in shaving cream (and was several months pregnant at the time).
This groundbreaking vocal group hit its creative stride with the release of its third album, Insight Out , featuring the perennial pop favorites “Windy” and “Never My Love.” With the Wrecking Crew again playing all the instruments, the producer, Bones Howe, had to sidestep some fragile band egos in the studio. “The Association were great singers,” he recalls, “but they just weren’t up to the task instrument-wise.”
With peace, love, and good vibes being ubiquitously celebrated by 1969, the prolific and talented Fifth Dimension again hit the top of the charts, this time with the medley “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” from the controversial rock opera Hair . As usual, the Wrecking Crew played all the instruments, and the song helped propel the album to a Grammy for record of the year.
Considered the first “live” album of the pop/rock era, this initial LP release by Rivers cemented his position as the biggest star on the then-burgeoning Sunset Strip. The record also featured the Wrecking Crew both onstage and in the studio, where a little “sweetening” occurred after the fact, setting the stage for future supposedly “live” releases like Frampton Comes Alive .
With the Burt Bacharach/Hal David title cut and impeccable production values, this sophomore release turned the wholesome, sweet-singing Carpenters into bona fide music celebrities. The gifted Karen didn’t play the only drums on the album (as she often did in concert). It was also Hal Blaine behind the kit.