I read something that suggested that session guitarists were used on "Til there was you" and the solo in "Let it be" because none of the Beatles were capable of playing them. Has anyone else heard about this? Is this a credible claim?
I also read that some of the early Beatles stuff, right after they became famous, had overdubs by other guitarists. This implies that the Beatles were lacking in technical competence at the time. True? If so, they really kept this a very good long-time secret from the fans. Also, it's hard to believe these other guys would have kept their roles secret after all these years. I think they would ultimately want credit. So that is why I'm disinclined to believe that session guitarists were used. But yet it really seems very plausible and makes a lot of sense to me. If your band isn't up to snuff and they're very popular, bring in professionals to fill the gaps (and to make them sound good). But - I don't know. What do you all think?
As time distances it's easier for people to make these claims. Like Bernard Purdie and his claim to have drummed on the early Beatle records (he'd only overdubbed some of the Decca audition tapes for use in the US to make up for Pete Best) But Lewisohn's comprehensive Beatle Recording Sessions should put most of them to rest.
As for claims the Beatles couldn't have played some of the early solos, George was more than capable of doing very good solo work, even in the early stages of the Beatles career, if he'd had time to learn his part and get it right. Where he struggled was improvising or coming up with things on the run. And he was inconsistent.
And claims he couldn't have played the Let it Be solo is just ridiculous. George had developed into a fine guitarist by this stage. The Let it Be solo isn't technically difficult. Just typical melodic George. His work on Octopuses Garden was more technically demanding than that.
Certainly session musicians were used. The Kinks used a session drummer on some early tunes. The Byrds barely played on their first few songs, except for Roger McGuinn. And of course Ringo was elbowed aside for Love Me Do. It seems drummers were particularly prone to this, probably because the transition from live to studio was particularly difficult for them and, while you can work around a few bum guitar notes, a drummer who isn't keeping steady time or is clumsy will completely wreck your song.