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'Greatest musicians' finally get honor

  • Story Highlights
  • Wrecking Crew inducted into Hollywood's RockWalk
  • Wrecking Crew included notable L.A. session musicians, played on many hits
  • Film about band is making the rounds
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- They played with Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, the Mamas and the Papas, the Monkees, and countless others on chart-topping and Grammy-winning hits. But for all their success, the Wrecking Crew may have well been the invisible people.

Until now.

On Wednesday, the group of some of "the greatest musicians in the world," in the words of drummer Hal Blaine, was inducted into Hollywood's RockWalk, the Sunset Boulevard music gallery that honors some of pop music's most notable musicians.

Among those attending were Blaine, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer on songs including "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Strangers in the Night," "Good Vibrations" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water"; guitarist Glen Campbell; Danny Tedesco, son of the late guitarist Tommy Tedesco; bassist Jimmy Bond; and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas.

"It's like one big birthday party," Blaine told CNN upon seeing many of his old colleagues.

The Wrecking Crew was the name given the core group of L.A. session men and women who played on hundreds of chart hits, TV themes, movie soundtracks and commercial jingles. Phil Spector used the Wrecking Crew on most of his productions; Brian Wilson tapped their talents when he wanted to experiment in the studio and his group, the Beach Boys, was on tour.

Others in the group included pianist Leon Russell, keyboardist and bassist Larry Knechtel (that's his piano on "Bridge Over Troubled Water"), bassists Carol Kaye and Chuck Berghofer (Berghofer played the descending bass line on Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin' "), saxophonist Steve Douglas and guitarist Barney Kessel.

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Blaine credited Tedesco, director of a new documentary about the band, for maintaining interest.

"[The film] came out so wonderful," Blaine said. Tedesco has "been directing commercials for a very long time and so this was a new project for him, but he knew exactly what he was doing and he went for it and did it."

Campbell, who broke away from the Wrecking Crew in the mid-'60s to become one of the leading country singers of the '60s and '70s, said he missed being part of a band.

"I wanted to stay here and play with the musicians. It was what I really enjoyed doing, more so than singing. I was a guitar player, one of the gang!" he said. "But putting yourself out there yourself, it's a lot different. You've got the people out there and the band back here and I missed my peers a lot."

"The Wrecking Crew" is making the rounds at film festivals. Hollywood's RockWalk is located at Guitar Center's Sunset Boulevard location.

CNN's Melissa Rowley contributed to this story.

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