In our pop and jazz musical selections, we have been talking a lot about the importance of session musicians to pop music and how they knit together pop music history. The difference between a great song and a great song that becomes a hit record has to do with execution, and getting the right session musicians to play on your record is a key ingredient. The same goes with great companies and other entrepreneurial ventures, where the team matters, something that many of our speakers have emphasized.
Last month, Entrepreneur magazine listed the 10 documentaries every entrepreneur should watch, and #3 is “Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” which is given because “It’s a top priority to place incredible people in your business’s high profile executive positions. But, it’s equally (if not more) important to staff the less visible support positions with gifted individuals.”
We have had musical selections that have involved some of the greatest session musicians of all time. Here they are with the songs from our playlist given.
The Wrecking Crew. These are the folks that backed up all of the singers on the Phil Spector records and the Beach Boys, among others. Notable members are Hal Blaine (drums), Carol Kaye (bass), Tommy Tedesco and Glen Campbell (guitar), Leon Russell (piano). You heard The Wrecking Crew on “Be My Baby.”
The Funk Brothers. They were the backup band for the Motown artists. James Jamerson was on bass and Pistol Allen on drums with others. You heard the Funk Brothers on “My Girl.” Bob Babbit often replaced James Jamerson on bass in the later era.
To truly understand the artistry of The Funk Brothers, here they are playing “My Girl” without the lead vocals.”
Other well-known session bands are Booker T and the MGs (who played on the Sam and Dave records and starred in The Blues Brothers movie) and The Swampers from Muscle Shoals, AL.
These are the unsung heroes of American popular music. Enjoy.