The sideman position has always existed in music, but it was really popularized in the early 2000s when musicians started hiring individuals to help them with their musical projects. A sideman is typically paid less than your average musician, but they are just as important to the success of their project!
A lot of artists have made themselves famous by including at least one sideman in their team. Some even manage to get outside the genre of music and into other fields (like having an opera singer on board for album songs or having a violinist contribute to soundtracks). This article will talk you through some of the most well-known sidemans in hip hop, rock, R&B, pop, jazz, and more.
I’ll also tell you how much money each individual makes from being part of their team, and what kind of achievements they achieved while under their employer. So keep reading to learn all about that!
What is a sideman?
That depends on who you ask! There are several different definitions depending on who you speak to. For this article I’m going to use the definition provided by Wikipedia:
"A sideman is someone who collaborates with another artist in the creation of their work. They may be hired as an additional guitarist for the band, a vocal coach, a creative contributor, or any number of things."
As you can see, this definition isn’t too specific.
The name ‘sideman’ is typically associated with musicians who are famous for their work as songwriters or producers, but there has been at least one person who fits this bill in popular culture. His contributions to music go beyond writing his own songs though; he created an iconic look that inspired other artists to do likewise.
Hendrix is often credited with creating the term “stoned-out” when he used it to describe his state of mind while recording his first solo album. He later included the lyrics to the hit song “Hey Joe” about giving up and walking away after a breakup, which some say was written while under the influence of marijuana.
He also famously wore large amounts of make up including heavy use of black eyeliner and lipstick, something that would become very common among young adults in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This hairstyle, along with his choice of wardrobe (including leather jackets) influenced many others to experiment more heavily with fashion.
The drummer for The Who is one of the most famous people in music history. He was known professionally as “The Spaceman,” but he would not have been recognized outside his circle if it were not for his signature move. When performing, Moon would climb up onto the drum riser, put down his stick, and walk away with no shirt on!
He would then hop back into place, grab another stick, and continue playing. This behavior attracted attention and earned him fame. His tendency to lose shirts at concerts made him an iconic figure in rock.
After leaving The Who in 1981, he struggled to find work. It took years before he landed again, and even longer until he found success. But he never gave up on his dream to make a career out of being a musician.
Moon died from alcohol-related causes in 1978, just two years after rejoining The Who. Since then, he has received many accolades and tributes. He is now considered by some to be the greatest drummer ever lived.
The man himself is considered by many to be one of the greatest songwriters of all time, having penned some of the most well-known songs in music history such as “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “The Times They are A-Changin’,” and “Things Have Changed.”
He was also an influential figure in popular culture, creating a body of work that has left its mark on generations of musicians and listeners.
His lyrics have been described as poetic, thought provoking, and at times even political. He once said he wanted his songs to make people feel good and think about what they should be feeling better.
In honor of National Music Day on June 6th, let’s take a look at five things you may not know about the sideman position in the music business.
Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, artist, and activist John Winston Lennon was born April 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England. He is widely considered one of the most influential artists of all time due to his work as a musician, social commentator, and leader in activism and politics.
He famously co-wrote songs with fellow Beatle Paul McCartney including “Do You Want To Know A Secret” and “All I Do Is Think About You.”
As a recording artist he produced such classic tracks as "Give Peace A Chance," "Imagine" and "Working Class Hero."
He once said, “I think people underestimate what a powerful force music can be. It touches us so much, it can change lives for the better or for the worse.”
Youtube channel: TheSidemanVlogs
You may have heard some of his famous melodies like “Good Morning”, “Come Together”, and “Let It Be”. All three of these tunes are well known and include the name of his band at the end!
He rose to fame alongside McCartney after leaving their group The Beatles in 1970. Since then he has continued to create and contribute to music while also becoming an outspoken political figure.
He passed away on Oct 8 1980 from bronchial pneumonia caused by smoking. He was 40 years old.
Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, and instrumentalist Pete Townshend is one of the most well-known musicians in recent history. He has spent his career writing and performing music that he himself defines as “pop”.
Townshend got his start playing guitar for local bands in north London before landing work with The Who. Since then, he has designed many successful songs, styles, and genres including power ballads, prog rock, punk rock, ska, surf rock, and hard rock.
He is also known for his dramatic stage presence and outspoken style. Many consider him to be an influence on other musical artists such as Pink Floyd member Roger Waters and Metallica bass player Robert Trujillo.
In addition to his solo works, Townshend has composed or performed music for several feature films and TV shows including The Simpsons, Casino Royale (2006 film), and Chuck.
One of the most famous sidemen in music history is guitarist, songwriter, singer, and producer George Harrison. He worked with some of the biggest names in music such as Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Tom Petty, and many others!
George was born in Hertfordshire, England on November 25th, 1943. His father left when he was five years old so he grew up mostly alone. This made him feel very isolated as a child which may have contributed to his decision to make music as a career later in life.
He started playing guitar at age 15 and wrote his first song just two weeks after buying one. Since then he has penned over 30 songs that have been recorded by several different artists including My Sweet Lord (by Billy Graham) and What Do I Know (By Heart) (both sung by Rihanna).
In 1989, he formed the band known as “The Fab Four” along with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr. They called themselves this because they each wanted to be remembered for being part of the band that changed music forever.
Since then he has continued to work with various artist both independently and as a member of their group or team. Some of these collaborations include working with Elton John, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Dhruv Bhattia, and Nile Rodgers among others.
The drummer for one of the greatest bands in music history, The Beatles, has enjoyed quite the successful career since his departure from that band. He now boasts having his own clothing line, he is an ambassador for many charities, and he even had his very own talk show!
Not only does he enjoy success as an artist himself, but he also helped other artists succeed as well. Many musicians credit him with teaching them how to play or encouraging them to pursue their dreams.
He was famously known for being friendly and approachable, most notably towards young fans. His charitable work earned him several awards and medals, and he currently sits on the board of directors at The Special Olympics.
As mentioned earlier, Justin Timberlake is one of the most famous sideman in music history. He has performed as Jay Z’s right-hand man for over a decade now!
As his lead singer, Jay can totally depend on him to deliver powerful vocals and he knows he will always be there when needed.
He has worked with some of the biggest names in hip hop such as The Beasties (check out their song “Rock This Party”) and Nas (his hit track “Canon”).
Timberlake also collaborated with Taylor Swift on her number one album 1989 and she won an award for Best Collaboration at this year’s MTV Music Awards for their track “Bad Blood”.
His other collaborations include Rihanna, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj.