Tommy Tedesco

Born: 
07/03/1930
City: 
Niagara Falls
Region: 
NY
Country: 
USA
Died: 
11/10/1997
Years Active: 
1950's-1992
Instruments: 
Guitar

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Thomas Tedesco was an American master session musician and renowned jazz and bebop guitarist.

Tedesco's credits, to name a few, include the themes to television's Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, Green Acres, M*A*S*H, Batman, and Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special. He was shown on-camera for a number of game and comedy shows, and played ex-con guitarist Tommy Marinucci, a member of Happy Kyne's Mirth-Makers, in the talk-show spoof Fernwood 2 Night.

Born in Niagara Falls, New York, Tedesco made his way to the U.S. West Coast where he became one of the most-sought-after studio guitarists between the 1960s and 1980s. Although Tedesco was primarily a guitar player, he was also qualified on the mandolin, ukulele, and the sitar as well as 28 other stringed instruments (though he played all of them in guitar tuning).

Tedesco was described by Guitar Player magazine as the most recorded guitarist in history, having played on thousands of recordings. He recorded with most of the top musicians working in the Los Angeles area including The Beach Boys, The Mamas & the Papas, the Everly Brothers, The Association, Barbra Streisand, Elvis Presley, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Zappa, Sam Cooke, Cher, and Nancy and Frank Sinatra. For Guitar Player, Tedesco wrote a regular column called "Studio Log" in which he would describe a day's work recording a movie, TV show or album, the special challenges each job posed and how he solved them, what instruments he used, and how much money he made on the job.

Tedesco also performed for film soundtracks such as The French Connection, The Godfather, Jaws, The Deer Hunter, Field of Dreams, plus several Elvis Presley films. He was also the guitarist for the Original Roxy cast of The Rocky Horror Show. Additionally, he performed the opening guitar solo for the Howard Hawkes & John Wayne film Rio Lobo. He was one of the very few sidemen credited for work on animated cartoons for the The Ant and the Aardvark cartoons (1968–1971).

On his own, Tedesco recorded a number of jazz guitar albums but his musical career ended in 1992 when he suffered a stroke that resulted in partial paralysis. The following year he published his autobiography titled "Confessions of a Guitar Player".

Tommy Tedesco died in Northridge, California in 1997, aged 67, from lung cancer.

Tedesco, along with many of his fellow studio musicians, was featured in the 95-minute 2008 film The Wrecking Crew by his son, Denny Tedesco. The film has screened at several festivals, but has not yet been commercially released.

Discography

Released: 1963
Released: 1965
Released: 1966
Released: 1966
Released: 1968