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List of Famous Session Musicians

List of famous session musicians, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top session musicians in the world? This includes the most prominent session musicians, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable session musicians is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic session musicians were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned session musicians.

Items include everything from Willie Nelson to Josh Freese.

From reputable, prominent, and well known session musicians to the lesser known session musicians of today, these are some of the best professionals in the session musician field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous session musicians ever?" and "What are the names of famous session musicians?" then you're in the right place. {#nodes}
  • Willie Hugh Nelson (born April 29, 1933) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, actor, producer, author, poet, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie (1973), combined ...more
  • Phillip Harvey Spector (December 26, 1939 – January 16, 2021) was an American record producer, musician, and songwriter who developed the Wall of Sound, a music production formula he described as a ...more
  • Rickie Lee Skaggs (born July 18, 1954), known professionally as Ricky Skaggs, is an American country and bluegrass singer, musician, producer, and composer. He primarily plays mandolin; however, he ...more
  • Nicholas Christian Hopkins (24 February 1944 – 6 September 1994) was an English pianist and organist. Hopkins recorded and performed on many notable British and American pop and rock music releases ...more
  • Jeffrey Thomas Porcaro (; April 1, 1954 – August 5, 1992) was an American drummer, songwriter, and record producer. In a career that spanned more than 20 years, Porcaro was best known for his work ...more
  • Michael Arnold Kamen (April 15, 1948 – November 18, 2003) was an American composer (especially of film scores), orchestral arranger, orchestral conductor, songwriter, and session musician.
  • Gakuto Oshiro (大城 ガクト, Ōshiro Gakuto, born July 4, 1973), better known by his mononymous stage name Gackt, is a Japanese musician, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor. Born in Okinawa, ...more
  • Ryland Peter "Ry" Cooder (born March 15, 1947) is an American musician, songwriter, film score composer and record producer. He is a multi-instrumentalist but is best known for his slide guitar work, ...more
  • Brian Blade (born July 25, 1970) is an American jazz drummer, composer, session musician, and singer-songwriter.
  • Malcolm Boyd McNab is a trumpeter and player of other brass instruments, and a Los Angeles-based session musician who has performed on nearly 2000 film and television soundtracks.
  • Chester Burton Atkins (June 20, 1924 – June 30, 2001), known as "Mr. Guitar" and "The Country Gentleman", was an American musician, occasional vocalist, songwriter, and record producer, who along ...more
  • Murrey Mizell "Buddy" Harman, Jr. (December 23, 1928 – August 21, 2008) was an American country music session musician.
  • Earl Cyril Palmer (October 25, 1924 – September 19, 2008) was an American rock and roll and rhythm-and-blues drummer. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Palmer played on many ...more
  • Ralph Gallant (October 15, 1943 − August 24, 1992), better known by the stage name Larrie Londin, was an American drummer and session musician.
  • Peter Erskine (born June 5, 1954) is an American jazz drummer who was a member of the jazz fusion groups Weather Report and Steps Ahead.
  • Joshua Ryan Freese (born December 25, 1972) is an American session drummer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and composer. He is the son of tuba soloist Stan Freese and the older brother of ...more
  • Stephen Kendall Gadd (born April 9, 1945) is an American drummer, percussionist, and session musician. Gadd is one of the most well-known and highly regarded session and studio drummers in the ...more
  • Jesse Edwin Davis (September 21, 1944 – June 22, 1988) was a Native American guitarist. He was well regarded as a session artist and solo performer, was a member of the band Taj Mahal and played with ...more
  • Russell Kunkel (born September 27, 1948) is an American drummer and producer who has worked as a session musician with many popular artists, including Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Jimmy Buffett, Dan ...more
  • James Lee Keltner (born April 27, 1942) is an American drummer known primarily for his session work. He was characterized by Bob Dylan biographer Howard Sounes as "the leading session drummer in ...more
  • Marc Benno is a singer-songwriter and musician.
  • David Thomas Mason (born 10 May 1946) is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist from Worcester, who first found fame with the rock band Traffic. Over the course of his career, Mason has played ...more
  • Hal Blaine (born Harold Simon Belsky; February 5, 1929 – March 11, 2019) was an American drummer and session musician estimated to be among the most recorded studio drummers in the history of the ...more
  • Bernard Alfred Nitzsche (22 April 1937 – 25 August 2000), known professionally as Jack Nitzsche, was an American musician, arranger, songwriter, composer and record producer. He first came to ...more
  • Kim Richmond is an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Richmond played piano, clarinet, and saxophone when young, and made his professional debut in 1956. He studied at the University of Illinois ...more