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    Tedesco, Tommy (3 July 1930 - 10 November 1997)

    Enormously prolific and versatile musician who appeared on thousands of recordings and could play about thirty different stringed instruments, most notably the acoustic and electric guitar.  Tommy was born in Niagara Falls and began playing guitar at age seven.  By age eight, he was touring professionally with an orchestra.  It was a portent of things to come.  In 1953, a big-band orchestra hired him to tour, and the tour ultimately led to a two-month gig in Hollywood, after which he was laid off, and then quit.  He had been bitten by the Hollywood bug, however, and upon returning to Niagara Falls decided it was time to pick up and move.  Although the L.A. session era was in full flight, Tommy found himself grounded at an aircraft factory, a job he hated.  He practiced guitar after work, ten hours a day.  A self-proclaimed hustler, with a fear of flying, Tommy soon left the world of aerodynamics behind, taking off on the club circuit instead.  Stints in Las Vegas and Los Angeles exposed him to Latin music, and television work soon followed, including free-lance assignments on Ozzy & Harriet and The Red Skelton Show.  They were by no means his last forays into television.  An astute sight-reader, Tommy could play in virtually any style, and frequently dumbed down his playing to suit the desires of the musical director.  Thus you get his twangy solo on the Green Acres theme song.  Other television credits include The Ant & The Aardvark, Batman, Bonanza, The Brady Bunch, Dallas, Get Smart, Gilligan's Island, Gunsmoke, Happy Days, The Love Boat, The Mickey Mouse Club, The Munsters, Three's Company, The Twilight Zone, and The Waltons.  It is his plaintive acoustic guitar work you hear on the opening notes of the theme from M*A*S*H.  He also played the recurring role of Tommy Marinucci on Fernwood Tonight.  Tommy Tedesco was destined to break out of the box and onto the big screen, and build a formidable filmography that includes Blade Runner, Bonnie & Clyde, The Buddy Holly Story, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, California Suite, Cocoon, Cool Hand Luke, The Deer Hunter, The Exorcist, Field of Dreams, The French Connection, Girl Crazy, The Godfather, Grease, Guess Whos Coming to Dinner, Jaws, The Odd Couple, Rio Lobo, The River, Viva Las Vegas, and Young Frankenstein.  In the early '60s, Tommy found himself riding the wave of the California sound, adding his guitar hooks to a string of hits, including "Along Comes Mary" by The Association, "Fun, Fun, Fun", "Good Vibrations" and "I Get Around" by The Beach Boys, "The Age of Aquarius" and "Up, Up and Away" by The Fifth Dimension, "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis & the Playboys, "California Dreamin'" and "Monday, Monday" by The Mamas & the Papas, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" by The Righteous Brothers, "Strangers in the Night" by Frank Sinatra, and "These Boots Were Made For Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra.  Other artists and groups with whom he collaborated include Herb Alpert, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Cher, Sam Cooke, Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond, The Everly Brothers, Fats Domino, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson, Jan & Dean, Quincy Jones, Gladys Knight, Peggy Lee, Henry Mancini, Dean Martin, The Monkees, Muddy Waters, Wayne Newton, Olivia Newton-John, The Partridge Family, Johnny Rivers, Doc Severinsen, Barbra Streisand, The Supremes, Tina Turner, Sarah Vaughan, Stevie Wonder, and Frank Zappa.  In 1992, Tommy had a stroke that paralyzed his right arm.  Unable to continue playing, at least at the high level to which he had become accustomed, he did manage to chronicle his experiences in an autobiography entitled Confessions of a Guitar Player, in 1993.  Four years later, he passed away, in Northridge, California, aged 67.  It has been said by the magazine Guitar Player and others that Tommy Tedesco was the most recorded guitarist ever.

     

    Lalo Schifrin recordings

    All for the Love of Sunshine (Lalo Schifrin)

    Theme from "Medical Center" (Lalo Schifrin)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.fenderplayersclub.com/artists_lounge/hall_of_legends/tedesco.htm
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Tedesco
    3. http://www.spaceagepop.com/tedesco.htm
    4. http://imdb.com/name/nm0853770/
    5. http://www.answers.com/topic/tommy-tedesco?cat=entertainment
    6. http://www.fenderplayersclub.com/pdfs/bios/tedesco.pdf

     

    Here he is in a clip of an interview with Tommy Tedesco's son about his time in The Wrecking Crew...

     

                              

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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