'Immediate Family' film highlights unsung musicians behind hits of '70s and '80s

George Pennacchio Image
Friday, December 22, 2023
'Immediate Family' honors unsung studio musicians behind hits
"Immediate Family" shines the spotlight on the talented unsung musicians who backed artists like James Taylor and Carole King for others.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The new documentary, "Immediate Family," introduces us to the talented stars behind the stars in the music world.

We meet four session musicians who, in the 1970s and '80s, played on some of the era's most well-known albums.

But it goes beyond just that time in music. These guys, now in their mid-70s, are all still playing today. The film celebrates their success while giving us quite a history lesson along the way.

This documentary comes from director Denny Tedesco, who highlighted session players of the 1960s with his first documentary, "The Wrecking Crew."

"I want to be able to share these stories with people before these stories are gone and lost," said Tedesco.

Those stories go along with the songs. Tedesco says every song is a bookmark to someone's life.

And now those bookmarks go back for generations.

"It used to be, 'Oh, I love that song. We used to play it in high school.' Then it became, 'Oh, I love that song. My parents played that song all the time, or that album.' Now, it's 'Oh, I love that song. My grandparents play that album!'"

Playing on more than 2,000 albums was Leland Sklar.

"It's been a great run and, for me, the real fun part of all of this has really been the variety of being able to work with - you know, playing 'It's Raining Men' one day and then working with Barbra Streisand the next and then James Taylor the next," Sklar said. "That's really what kept the juices flowing is the variety. It's exciting every day still."

And for the musicians in this documentary, it was exciting back then, too. Artists like James Taylor, Carole King, Phil Collins and Stevie Nicks, to name a few.

"It really does bring people together. Music is something that we all have in common around the world," Tedesco said.

Sklar says he is flattered by all this attention. And it has changed things. "I guess so. I can't go the supermarket anymore!"

"Immediate Family" is now available on video on demand. More information on the film here.