Unsung Session Player Heroes: Carol Kaye

One of the longtime hidden realities of the music industry is that so many recorded songs are not done by the people who officially comprise a band. Record companies and producers will employ session players to get the full sound the want, then promote the personalities they think will sell the sound best (especially true in the 60s and 70s). The session players often don’t get credits, rarely become famous (though they might become rich) and they are the behind the scenes heroes for so many of iconic American songs for which other people get to hit the big time.

In this video you’ll see bass player Carol Kaye talk about her session playing career, her contributions to the Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, Hawaii Five-O, and how she made a bunch of money making that wahhhhh sound you hear on TV when a truck accelerates. She also just seems like a really interesting person to get to know, to pick her brain on how she helped normalize a woman’s place in the world of sessions and recording.

“A note doesn’t have a sex to it – you either play it good or you don’t play it good […] but when you hear somebody with balls, that’s me.” – Carol Kaye

Video/documentary credits: Nelson Torres , Jonathan Heaps, Chris Torres and Chuck Simon

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One thought on “Unsung Session Player Heroes: Carol Kaye

  1. KHM says:

    Love her quote and its amazing to think how much of the most cultural important songs wouldn’t have been the same without session players like Carol. There really ought to be a yearly awards show for session musicians!

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