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    Sharp, Sid

    Arranger, 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 recording. 


    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. 


    Then Brian 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.


    Not every 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’ “Classical Gas”.


    From there, 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 Cry Now. 


    When Jerry 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.


    America’s 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, Dion’s Streetheart, 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. 


    No less 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 Bad Girls.


    The studio 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.


    Sid was 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.


    The new 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)

    Casablanca CAN 144 A (UK 45)


    Love's Theme (Giorgio Moroder)

    Casablanca CAN 144 B(UK 45)



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