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Tommy Tedesco

Tommy Tedesco

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Also Known As: Thomas J. Tedesco Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Profession:

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An integral member of session musician supergroup The Wrecking Crew, Tommy Tedesco was one of the most versatile and most sought-after studio guitarists of his generation, his virtuosic skills featuring on hundreds of U.S. Top 20 hits and dozens of iconic TV and movie soundtracks during the 1960s and '70s. Born in Niagara Falls, NY in 1930, Tedesco first picked up the guitar aged six and by his early teens was sneaking into his hometown's nightclubs to showcase his talents. After moving to Los Angeles in the early 1950s, he became an on-call musician for arranger Nelson Riddle and jazz vocalist Mel Torme. But he achieved his big break when he was drafted by legendary producer Phil Spector to help perfect his Wall of Sound technique at Gold Star Studios, where he subsequently played on seminal hits by The Ronettes ("Be My Baby"), The Righteous Brothers ("You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling") and The Crystals ("Then He Kissed Me") and became a key figure in the group of studio musicians that drummer Hal Blaine later dubbed The Wrecking Crew. Tedesco went onto play on the likes of The Beach Boys' "Fun Fun Fun," Richard Harris' "MacArthur Park" and Cher's "Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves," took part in Elvis...

An integral member of session musician supergroup The Wrecking Crew, Tommy Tedesco was one of the most versatile and most sought-after studio guitarists of his generation, his virtuosic skills featuring on hundreds of U.S. Top 20 hits and dozens of iconic TV and movie soundtracks during the 1960s and '70s. Born in Niagara Falls, NY in 1930, Tedesco first picked up the guitar aged six and by his early teens was sneaking into his hometown's nightclubs to showcase his talents. After moving to Los Angeles in the early 1950s, he became an on-call musician for arranger Nelson Riddle and jazz vocalist Mel Torme. But he achieved his big break when he was drafted by legendary producer Phil Spector to help perfect his Wall of Sound technique at Gold Star Studios, where he subsequently played on seminal hits by The Ronettes ("Be My Baby"), The Righteous Brothers ("You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling") and The Crystals ("Then He Kissed Me") and became a key figure in the group of studio musicians that drummer Hal Blaine later dubbed The Wrecking Crew. Tedesco went onto play on the likes of The Beach Boys' "Fun Fun Fun," Richard Harris' "MacArthur Park" and Cher's "Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves," took part in Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special and recorded arguably his most acclaimed work on Frank Zappa's semi-orchestral Lumpy Gravy, while also adding Frank Sinatra, The Monkees and The Mamas and the Papas to his impressive resume before the '60s came to an end. Having previously lent his guitar to the opening theme of "Bonanza" (NBC 1959-1973), Tedesco also spent much of the decade focusing on TV work, with "Batman" (ABC 1966-68), "Gilligan's Island" (CBS 1964-67) and "The Munsters" (CBS 1964-66) just a few of his more notable credits. He also branched out into cinema by contributing to the soundtrack of Paul Newman prison drama "Cool Hand Luke" (1967). Tedesco remained just as active throughout the '70s, performing on records by Barbra Streisand, The Partridge Family, Herb Alpert, and Linda Ronstadt, as well as the theme tunes to "M*A*S*H" (CBS 1972-1983) and "Happy Days" (ABC 1974-1984), and the scores to "Love Story" (1970), "The Godfather" (1972) and "The Deer Hunter" (1978). After three decades in the business, Tedesco formed his own jazz trio and released several albums between 1978 and 1992, when he suffered a stroke which resulted in partial paralysis. In 1997, Tedesco died of lung cancer, aged 67.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Willie & Phil (1980)
2.
 California Suite (1978)
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Milestones close milestones

1960:
Recruited by Phil Spector to help perfect Wall of Sound technique
1966:
Performs on Beach Boys' <i>Pet Sounds</i>
1978:
Forms own jazz trio and releases debut album, <i>Autumn</i>

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