Don Randi legendary Wrecking Crew & Wall of Sound musician on #1 hits, tips & reunion concert

 THE WRECKING CREW set to play their golden hits Nov. 13 at El Portal Theatre with Don Randi at the piano

  Working with everyone from Elvis to Sinatra, The Beach Boys to The Righteous Brothers, Peggy Lee to Linda Ronstadt, generates a lot of stories. So legendary piano/keyboard player Don Randi, of the famous Wrecking Crew and Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound studio sessions, can’t wait to enthrall audiences with his tales of working with those incredible performers, and many more. He’ll also offer some sage advice for young musicians.

 Don Randi helped create a lot of hit records for more than half a century. And he’ll be playing those memorable tunes when he takes the stage for The Wrecking Crew reunion concert. Randi will be joining members of the original Wrecking Crew– Don Peake (guitar), Chuck Berghofer (double bass), and other veteran musicians. Plus Lamont Dozier, Jr., and surprise vocalists and performers will appear on November 13, 2022 at the historic El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood.

Don Randi (photos by Margie Barron)

 Randi is also looking forward to dazzling everyone with his musicianship that has become legendary. Remember the unique sound of the harpsichord on Linda Ronstadt’s “Different Drum?” That was Randi at the keyboard. Plus Randi was part of the chart-topping magic that came together for Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin.’” Randi also worked with Elvis for Presley’s comeback special on NBC in ’68 and has great stories about Elvis struggling on “Jailhouse Rock,” which eventually became a triumph.

 Randi described what makes the El Portal concert extra special. “When you hear these songs you’ll be reliving an important part of your life. These precious songs will bring back wonderful feelings and a flood of memories as we perform.”

 The Wrecking Crew will showcase some of the greatest hits of all time. There are so many unforgettable musical moments Don help create— since he played on over three hundred hit records. Randi revealed, “I’ve played on so many top ten hits, and god knows how many top 100 records. There were memorable sessions with Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert, Frankie Lane, Jack Jones, Vic Damone, Buffalo Springfield, James Brown, The Ronettes, Sonny & Cher, Ike & Tina Turner, to name a few, and a wild session with The Tubes. Talk about bouncing off the walls, jeez.”

 Recalling the early days, Randi said, “Some of the most interesting things for me were in the 1960s. We did 21 records in a row, every one a million-seller. That was called ‘The Wall of Sound.’ And then we became The Wrecking Crew. We were young but we were making an impact in the industry. So who did you think the record producers were going to hire? They all said, ‘you better get those guys.’ Phil Spector and Brian Wilson insisted on union contracts, that was good for us. That forced the major record labels to start taking care of business, taking care of the musicians who continue to get residuals to this day. You get a little check for something you did 60 years ago thanks to Brian and Phil.” 

  As an author, Randi recalled his days in The Wrecking Crew in his memoir “You’ve Heard These Hands.” The book goes through his impressive credits as a pianist, record producer, arranger, and composer (proud of the hit Mexican Pearls). He also opened The Baked Potato jazz club in Studio City, California, in 1970, which continues to be a gathering place for new and veteran folks in the music industry. And he always has tips for young musicians. “If you want to be the best don’t listen to one radio station and just hear one thing. If you want to be a studio musician you have to know everything that’s going on. And don’t get your feelings hurt if they say ‘I don’t like that, try something else.’ And if they ask you to play like someone, you have to be able to come up with that. You have to play all the genres— country, rock, blues, etc. If someone tells you to play like Oscar Peterson you need to know what they’re talking about. You’re a studio musician, you get paid to adapt. You’re ready for anything, ready to try something no one has heard before. Like ‘Good Vibrations,’ it took months working with Brian Wilson, that was a good gig and it created something special.”

 Also very special is the THE WRECKING CREW concert, Sunday, November 13, 2022 at 3 pm on the Debbie Reynolds Mainstage at the El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in the NOHO Arts District, North Hollywood, CA. For tickets and information call 818-508-4200 or online at

Pianist Don Randi recalls his days in The Wrecking Crew in his memoir “You’ve Heard These Hands,” and copies will be available in the El Portal lobby the day of the concert.


Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.