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Did the 1960s Really Happen? (Part Two)

This is going to break your heart, but much of the music you heard in the '60s and early '70s wasn't recorded by the people you saw on the album covers. It was done by me and the musicians you see on these walls. ... Many of these kids didn't have the chops and were little more than garage bands. ... At concerts, people hear with their eyes. Teens cut groups slack in concert, but not when they bought their records.

That was "Wrecking Crew" drummer Hal Blaine, speaking to the Wall Street Journal in 2011.

Bruce Gary of The Knack once said he was disappointed to find out that 10 of his favorite drummers were Hal Blaine.

And to "classic rock" fans who love to joke that "punks couldn't play their instruments," and still believe the old chestnut that The Monkees were the only "fake" band going in those days, well...

As a fledgling band, the Byrds had any number of problems. The first and most obvious was that the band’s members did not own any musical instruments. (...) But that didn’t solve a bigger problem, which was that the band’s members, with the exception of Jim (later Roger) McGuinn, didn’t have a clue as to how to actually play the instruments.

[David] Crosby himself admitted, in his first autobiography (does anyone really need to write more than one autobiography, by the way?), that “Roger was the only one who could really play.” (...)

Carl Franzoni perhaps summed it up best when he declared that “the Byrds records were manufactured.” The first album in particular was an entirely engineered affair created by taking a collection of songs by outside songwriters and having them performed by a group of nameless studio musicians (for the record, the actual musicians were Glen Campbell – yes, that Glen Campbell, who also briefly served as a Beach Boy – on guitar, Hal Blaine on drums, Larry Knechtel on bass, Leon Russell on electric piano, and Jerry Cole on rhythm guitar), after which the band’s trademark vocal harmonies, entirely a studio creation, were added to the mix.