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Lawrence William "Larry" Knechtel (August 4, 1940 – August 20, 2009) was an American keyboard player and bassist, best known for his work as a session musician with such artists as Simon & Garfunkel, Duane Eddy, The Beach Boys, The Mamas & the Papas, The Doors, and Elvis Presley, and as a member of the 1970s band, Bread.
Born in Bell, California, 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. His career took a giant leap forward in August 1959, when he joined legendary Rock and Roll instrumentalist Duane Eddy as a member of his band, The Rebels. After four years on the road as a Rebel, and continuing to work with Eddy in the recording studio, Knechtel became part of the Hollywood session musician scene, working with Phil Spector as a pianist to help create the famous Wall of Sound effect. Knechtel became a prominent member of The Wrecking Crew, a loose collection of session musicians who performed on many songs of the period.
Like many session musicians, Knechtel was proficient in other instruments, notably the harmonica and also the electric bass guitar, which can be heard on "Mr. Tambourine Man" by The Byrds, "Stoney End" by Barbra Streisand, 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".
In recent years, Knechtel lived in semi-retirement in Yakima, Washington, until his death. He had, however, worked with record producer Rick Rubin, contributing with the keyboards to albums by Neil Diamond and the Dixie Chicks, and touring with the Dixie Chicks in support of their Grammy Award winning album Taking the Long Way. In 2007 he was inducted into The Musician's Hall of Fame with his fellow members of The Wrecking Crew.
Larry is survived by his wife Vicki, one son named Lonnie, and one daughter named Shelly. They all live in Washington.
- ^ Kent Hartman, The Wrecking Crew, americanheritage.com. Retrieved on 1 September 2009.
- ^ Yakima-herald.com - accessed August 21, 2009