Did Glen Campbell play lead guitar on “Eight Miles High”?

Dear Cecil:

Did Glen Campbell really play lead guitar on "Eight Miles High" by the Byrds?

Cecil replies:


When Glen Campbell first arrived in Los Angeles, a fresh-faced country boy from (where else?) Delight, Arkansas, he worked as a studio musician for a number of high-powered acts, including Johnny Cash, Dean Martin, and the Mamas and the Papas. For a few months in 1965, Campbell was a genuine Beach Boy, filling in for Brian Wilson (who had suffered a nervous breakdown) when the group went on tour. Campbell was soon replaced by Bruce Johnston–a lucky break for Glen but a serious blow to music lovers, since Campbell then signed with Capitol and began churning out the ersatz country hits that infected America’s airwaves for many years thereafter. So Campbell’s studio career was, presumably, finito by the time the Byrds released “Eight Miles High” on Fifth Dimension (1966).

But we don’t need to rely strictly on our powers of deduction. We can just ask Byrds guitar genius Roger McGuinn, a regular participant in the Usenet newsgroup alt.music.byrds. When I dropped him a line, here was his reply:

“I played the lead guitar on Eight Miles High. Glen Campbell was not on that session, or any other Byrds recording. I have no idea how that rumor got started.”

The man having spoken, I say we give this one a rest.

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

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