10 Greatest Secret Weapons In Rock And Roll

Life as a Musical Swiss Army Knife.

Linkin Park
Warner Bros

When working with the best musicians in the world, it's pretty easy to get overshadowed. Whenever you have that one musician who's doing more than their fair share either onstage or in the studio, people tend to forget all of the other players that make the band what they are. Without these people behind the production though, the whole track would fall apart.

Aside from the occasional session work, these artists have left their musical fingerprint across every single song they've touched both in and out of their namesake band. Though some of them have managed to gain some notoriety as the years have gone on, they are never brought up nearly enough in terms of the greatest musicians to ever pick up their instruments.

While never being the flashiest of players, the best instances of a secret weapon have come by playing around the notes, either acting as the glue that holds the instruments together or giving a boost to the other members of the band to make sure they reach their fullest potential. After all, rock and roll is a team sport, so you need to make sure that everyone is at their A-game. They may seem like the weak link, but these musicians are the reason you have the hits that you know and love today.

10. Tony Levin

As far as rock music is concerned, sessions musicians tend to get a raw deal at the end of the day. Whereas most bands come together with a communal vibe between them, the unsung heroes behind the studio creations never seem to claim the adulation they deserve, instead looking to operate in the background of whatever album they're in. Even though it's their call, Tony Levin certainly deserves more than just being a faceless bass player.

While most low enders fade into the background of bands, Levin has kept up a pretty impressive track record over the years, providing his signature groove to the likes of King Crimson and even showcasing his skills on some of John Lennon's final recordings on Double Fantasy. Aside from his usual session schtick, Tony also showcased himself to be a master at writing bass lines of his own on Peter Gabriel's So record.

Across songs like Sledgehammer and Big Time, Levin is all over his fretboard, even breaking out a Chapman stick for a couple of songs and inventing what's known as his Funk Fingers, which involved taping drum sticks to his hands to get a more percussive attack on the strings. In a world where session musicians basically just play what they're told to play, Tony Levin is still one of the more impressive musical thinkers in the game.

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