Remembering Tommy Tedesco
Guitar Player magazine called him “the most recorded guitar player in history,” while guitar manufacturers Gibson called him “the most famous guitarist you’ve never heard of.” How did Tommy Tedesco – who died on this day in 1997 – manage to earn both titles?
One of the biggest ways, certainly, was by being a member of the legendary group of musicians known as “The Wrecking Crew,” whose presence on ‘60s pop and rock hits was so prominent that you’d be hard pressed to find any best-of list of the decade that doesn’t include at least one appearance by Tedesco, if not several.
In addition, Tedesco played on a ton of movie and TV themes, more than you’d believe if there wasn’t appropriate accreditation to confirm his presence. On the small screen, Batman, Bonanza, Green Acres, M*A*S*H, The Waltons, and even Three’s Company all feature your man Tommy in some capacity or other, and as for the silver screen, there’s The Godfather, The Deer Hunter, Jaws, The Jerk, Cannonball Run, E.T., Cocoon, Field of Dreams… The list truly does go on and on and on.
When Tedesco died, it wasn’t what you’d call Michael Jackson level coverage, but CNN and MTV News both covered his passing, citing a myriad of past credits and collaborators from his résumé. Even now, it’s hard to conceive of someone whose skills as a musician enabled him to jump around to the point where he could play with Frank Sinatra, Kenny Loggins, Kenny Rogers, Barry White, Joan Baez, the 5th Dimension, the Beach Boys, Doris Day, Ray Charles, Marie Osmond, the Association, the Supremes, Roger Miller… Yeah, we’re back to that list-goes-on-and-on thing again.
We’ve compiled a playlist of 10 songs from our catalog – that’s right, a mere 10 out of God only knows how many – that feature Tommy Tedesco in some capacity. It’s a little all over the place, musically speaking, but given the diversity in Tedesco’s overall catalog, that’s just as it should be.