concertmaster, conductor and violinist who attended the Curtis Institute of
Music with Leonard Bernstein and went on to join The Philadelphia
Orchestra, under Eugene Ormandy, and become concertmaster of the Hollywood Bowl
Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leopold Stokowski.
This was a
solid classical music foundation that could have prepared him for what
would become one of the most prolific careers in the history of music
He started out
on violin on the self-explanatory Pete
Jolly and Friends in 1962 but had already graduated to string section
leader a year later when he recorded “The Riddle Song” with Sam
Cooke, a track that appeared on his 1964 album, Ain’t That Good News.
Wilson tapped him for work on his most ambitious project to date, Pet Sounds, which featured
Sid’s violin stylings on “God Only
Knows”, released as a single, backed with “Wouldn’t It Be
Nice”, in 1966.
concertmaster can say that have conducted The Abnuceals
Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra, but Sid did,
on Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention albums, Lumpy Gravy and We’re
Only in It for the Money.
In 1968, he
appeared on Randy Newman’s self-titled album and one of the most
famous rock instrumentals of all time, Mason Williams’
the work kept pouring in.
Highlights from 1969 include:
Soul Symphony: A New Sound from the Three Sounds;
Twelve Ways by Nancy Sinatra; Working! by
Bobby Jameson; and, The Yard Went on
Forever… by Richard Harris.
By this time,
The Sid Sharp Strings had become indispensable to the burgeoning L.A.
session scene. Sid was in the
strings section for Chet Baker’s Blood,
Chet and Tears, which was recorded in 1970, and then appeared on Truth of Truths, a rock opera based
on The Holy Bible, in 1971.
In 1972, The
Sid Sharp Strings accompanied David Clayton-Thomas on his eponymous LP, and
Sid was concertmaster on Patti Dahlstrom’s
self-titled album and was in the string section for Neil Diamond’s
classic live album, Hot August Night. He served as concertmaster on Linda
Ronstadt’s 1973 offering, Don’t
Garcia decided to go solo, Sid was brought in to contract the musicians. Sid is credited with strings on two
other 1974 albums, Hard Core Poetry
by Tavares and Michael O’Martian’s White Horse.
In 1975, he
appeared on Diamonds & Rust
by Joan Baez, Joe Cocker’s Jamaica
Say You Will, Your Place or Mine by
Patti Dahlstrom, John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas, One of These Nights by The Eagles, Just Wanna
Rock and Roll by Jose Feliciano, and Two Lane Highway by Pure Prairie League.
bicentennial year was chock full of more projects: He reunited with Joan Baez on Gulf Winds, was concertmaster on
Glen Campbell’s Bloodline, I’d Rather Believe in You by Cher,
Michael O’Martian’s Adam Again and Silk Degrees by Boz Scaggs, played violin on Alice Coltrane’s Eternity and Patti Dahlstrom’s Livin’ it Thru, was orchestra leader on Whistling Down the Wire by Crosby & Nash, and was a member
of the strings on Susie Allanson’s and Warren
Zevon’s self-titled debuts.
In 1977, he
rejoined Neil Diamond on I’m
Glad You’re Here With Me Tonight and Boz
Scaggs on Down
Two Then Left and Hollywood
and served as concertmaster on Melissa Manchester’s Singin’… and Dionne Warwick’s
Love at First Sight, and led the
string ensemble on Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue.
nautical was Jimmy Buffett’s Son
of a Son of a Sailor, but then Sid changed tack and caught disco fever
on Yvonne Elliman’s Night Flight, Andy Gibb’s Shadow Dancing, and The Hues Corporation’s Your Place or Mine. He was a member of the strings on Toto’s
eponymous album and Giorgio Moroder’s
soundtrack to Midnight Express, and
donned the cap of leader on Olivia Newton-John’s Totally Hot.
In 1979, he
reacquainted himself with Glen Campbell, conducting the strings on Highwayman, appeared on Judy Collins’
Hard Times for Lovers, played violin
on Leah Kunkel’s self-titled LP, and was concertmaster on Dan Fogelberg’s Phoenix,
Dolly Parton’s Great Balls of
Fire, Rufus & Chaka Khan’s Masterjam, and Donna Summer’s
work began to dry up in the 1980s, but you wouldn’t know it from the
way the decade began. Sid’s
credits from this time include Give
Me the Night by George Benson, The Jazz Singer by Neil Diamond, Faces by Earth, Wind & Fire, Special Things by The Pointer
Sisters, and Bad Luck Streak in
Dancing School by Warren Zevon.
Here is the
way the rest of the decade played out:
Sid was concertmaster on Dan Fogelberg’s
The Innocent Age and Windows and Walls, and was a member
of the strings on Patti Austin’s The
Real Me, Joe Cocker’s Civilized
Man, and Sarah Vaughan’s Song
of the Beatles.
somewhat busy in the early ‘90s with projects such as As I Came of Age by Sarah Brightman, The
Forest by David Byrne, Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable: With
Love, Barry Manilow’s Showstoppers, and Whatever by Aimee Mann.
millennium affords us ample opportunities to hear Sid and his strings in
all their digitized, re-mastered glory, on boxed sets such as All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions, Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon, and Up,
Up and Away: The Definitive
Collection by the 5th Dimension.
Giorgio Moroder recordings
Chase (Giorgio Moroder)
144 A (UK 45)
Love's Theme (Giorgio Moroder)
144 B(UK 45)