Back in 1969, there would have been no bigger supergroup than one that included John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, and Bob Dylan. So Greil Marcus created it. The former Rolling Stone reviews editor wrote a review of an album by the Masked Marauders, a supposedly secret collaboration among the Beatles, Stones and Dylan that Rolling Stone hyped as the “record of the year.”
Turns out it was all a big joke. In this Rock Center segment, Brian Williams dives into the legend, uncovering the truth with help from Marcus and former Rolling Stone colleague Langdon Winner. Marcus tells Williams he wanted to parody the trend of supergroups and the overwhelmingly gushing reviews such bands garnered, so he created the Masked Marauders for a Rolling Stone review. But the fake review created a real demand, and as excitement built, Marcus and Winner decided they needed a real album with actual music. They wrote some songs, hired friends from Berkeley’s Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band to record them and signed a deal with Warner Brothers.
“It was just an attempt to say, ‘This is stupid, and let’s make it even stupider,'” Marcus says.