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Larry Knechtel

Larry Knechtel
Birth name Lawrence William Knechtel
Born (1940-08-04)August 4, 1940
Bell, California, United States
Died August 20, 2009(2009-08-20) (aged 69)
Yakima, Washington, United States
Occupation(s) Session musician
Instruments electric piano, harpsichord, harmonium, guitar, keyboards, bass, harmonica
Associated acts
Website .com.larryknechtelwww

Lawrence William "Larry" Knechtel (August 4, 1940 – August 20, 2009) was an American keyboard player and bassist, best known as a member of The Wrecking Crew, a collection of Los Angeles-based session musicians who worked with such renowned artists as Simon & Garfunkel, Duane Eddy, The Beach Boys, The Mamas & the Papas, The Monkees, The Partridge Family, The Doors and Elvis Presley, and as a member of the 1970s band Bread.


  • Biography 1
  • Discography 2
    • Solo Discography 2.1
    • Session Work 2.2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Born in Bell, California, in 1940, Knechtel's musical education began with piano lessons. In 1957, he joined the Los Angeles-based rock and roll band Kip Tyler and the Flips. In August 1959, he joined instrumentalist Duane Eddy as a member of his band The Rebels. After four years on the road with the band, and continuing to work with Eddy in the recording studio, Knechtel became part of the Los Angeles session musician scene, working with Phil Spector as a pianist to help create Spector's famous "Wall of Sound". Knechtel became a prominent member of session musicians The Wrecking Crew, performing on many hit songs of the period[1] and earning him entry into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2007.

In 1970 Knechtel won a Grammy Award for his piano work on "Bridge over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel. He also played the piano on Johnny Rivers' 1972 hit "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu".

Knechtel was proficient in other instruments, notably the harmonica and the electric bass guitar, which can be heard on "Mr. Tambourine Man" by The Byrds, "Stoney End" by Barbra Streisand, "If I Can Dream" by Elvis Presley and on tracks by The Doors (who did not have their own bass guitarist). In 1971, he joined the band Bread, where his contributions include the guitar solo on the hit single "The Guitar Man". He also played on sessions for Nancy Sinatra.

During the late 1980s, Knechtel moved to Nashville, where he was signed to a solo recording contract. He released two solo albums, Mountain Moods and Urban Gypsy in quick succession in 1990.[2]

In later years, Knechtel lived in semi-retirement in Yakima, Washington, until his death. He had, however, worked with record producer Rick Rubin, contributing keyboards to albums by Neil Diamond and the Dixie Chicks, touring with Elvis Costello and also the Dixie Chicks in support of their Grammy Award-winning album Taking the Long Way. During this time Knechtel contributed guest spots on many recordings for dozens of Northwest artists including Wayman Chapman, Ken Stringfellow (Posies, R.E.M., Big Star), Quakers On Probation, Dimestore Mystery, Elba, Animals at Night, Zera Marvel, Colin Spring and his son, Lonnie Knechtel.

Knechtel died on August 20, 2009, in Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, Washington, at the age of 69 of an apparent heart attack.[3]


Solo Discography

  • Mountain Moods (1989)[4]
  • Urban Gypsy (1990)[5]

Session Work

'With The We Three Trio

With Brian Wilson

With The Doors

With Chet Baker

With Howard Roberts

With Lalo Schifrin


  1. ^ Hartman, Kent (February–March 2007). "The Wrecking Crew".  
  2. ^ "Larry Knechtel Biography". Larry Knechtel Family Estate. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Larry Knechtel, Rock Keyboardist-Arranger, Dies at 69".  
  4. ^ "Mountain Moods"Larry Knechtel - . MusicStack. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Urban Gypsy"Larry Knechtel - .  
  6. ^

External links

  • List of Larry Knechtel's session contributions
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