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This article is about the role of a musician. For the Tony Award-winning play by Warren Leight, see Side Man. For the church term, see Sidesman.

A sideman is a professional musician who is hired to perform or record with a group of which he or she is not a regular member. They often tour with solo acts as well as bands and jazz ensembles.[1] Sidemen are generally required to be adaptable to many different styles of music, and so able to fit smoothly into the group in which they are currently playing.[2] Often aspiring musicians start out as sidemen, and then move on to develop their own sound, a name, and fans of their own, or go on to form their own groups. Some examples of this are:

Lindley (1980) playing the pedal steel guitar

Some sidemen become famous for their musical specialties, and become highly sought-after by pop, rock, blues, jazz and country music bands. Examples of some of these include multi-instrumentalists. David Lindley is a multi-instrumentalist who has worked with such diverse musicians as Curtis Mayfield, Dolly Parton, Jackson Browne, and Hani Naser. Lindley used his time as a sideman to discover and master new instruments while on tour around the world, becoming proficient on ethnic instruments rarely seen in Western music genres. He has mastered so many that he admits to losing count, and instead placed a photo gallery of them on his website.[3]

Waddy Wachtel's guitar licks and experience have placed him as a bandleader while on tour with Stevie Nicks, and Chuck Leavell, who has toured with The Allman Brothers Band, but more often, is onstage with The Rolling Stones on keyboards.

Often sidemen go on to form their own groups and/or solo careers; for instance, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best acted as sidemen to Tony Sheridan before becoming famous as The Beatles, with the addition of Ringo Starr. Jimmy Page left his first attempts working in bands, to hone his skills as a session player, where he met John Paul Jones sought and recruited Robert Plant and John Bonham, to forming Led Zeppelin. Bob Dylan's first recorded song was as a harmonica sideman on Harry Belafonte's cover of Midnight Special[4]

Other musicians may take time from their own bands to tour or record as a sideman for other artists, such as Mike Watt with J Mascis and the Fog or Iggy and the Stooges.

Bernard Fowler, backup vocalist for The Rolling Stones

Some notable sidemen include[edit]


  1. ^ Miskin, Paul D. (August 25, 2008). "Good Vibrations: The Evolution of Popular Music". Retrieved December 16, 2009. 
  2. ^ Melvin, Gary. "A Guide to Being a Successful Sideman". Los Angeles, California: Musician Retrieved December 16, 2009. 
  3. ^ Kotapish, Paul (2012). "Big little Music: The Weird and Wonderful World of String Wizard David Lindley". Cover Story, Acoustic Guitar Magazine. String Letter Publishing, Inc., David A. Lusterman, Publisher. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Midnight Special by Leadbelly Songfacts". Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  5. ^ Eugene Chadbourne. "Bernard Davis | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-05-24. 

External links[edit]

Sideman - An irrelevant and powerless guy, also known as a 'flowerman' and shows signs of 'moist' and 'soggy' behaviour,AKA Charls Alexander Richardson.

Charls Alexander Richardson, this poor child has been in the friendzone longer than Ryan Giggs has been playing football...this child was born in the friendzone and as time has passed has became the friendzone. His name should be in oxford dictionary as the definition as every single girl he has spoken to has placed his a*s straight in the friendzone. Poor child also has the title sideman due to how many girls have swerved his b***h a*s, and how his boys have quite literally called him a sideman behind his back....PLEASE pray for this boy as he will need every single ounce of the lords power to remove his a*s not only from friendzone under every girls contact list but sideman under his boys as well. There is ONLY Charls Alexander Richardson....but s**t, this some bomb a*s tea.