Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Wrecking Crew Loses Earl Palmer

Earl Palmer has died. Palmer was a New Orleans jazzman turned session musician, who worked on numerous west coast jazz, R&B, and pop albums, drumming for recordings produced by Phil Spector, and for artists like Frank Sinatra, The Mamas and the Papas, The Beach Boys, Tom Waits, and even doing the drums (apparently) on the Flintstones Theme Song (!). Palmer is one of several such musicians who, because of their professionalism and ease in the studio, were routinely called in, behind-the-scenes, to play music on the albums by Hollywood hitmakers; it wasn't just The Monkees who weren't really playing the music on their albums (tho' Palmer worked on their recordings, too). The loose group of hired guns was dubbed The Wrecking Crew, and they're the subject of a new film that will be playing at the VIFF. Even though it's not my usual area of interest, I found the film charming and informative, made with considerable energy; people interested in behind-the-scenes music stories will probably like it, and many of the anecdotes are really engaging to hear (Palmer is among those interviewed). As far as I know, my review of it is in the current issue of The Skinny...

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