Klaus Voormann - A Sideman's JourneyEven the most casual Beatles fan has heard of Klaus Voormann. You may not have any idea what he looks like, but he has appeared on countless albums as a graphic artist, musician, and producer over the years. It all began when he met the Beatles during one of their trips to Hamburg in the early ’60s. The rest is the stuff of legend.

Among Voormann’s many honors is the Grammy he won for designing the album cover for Revolver in 1966. As a bass player he was a member of the Plastic Ono Band, and Manfred Mann, and he played on albums by Lou Reed, Carly Simon, James Taylor, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Harry Nilsson among others. Voormann was the bass player at George Harrison’s Concert For Bangladesh, and the Plastic Ono Band’s Live Peace in Toronto.

After many years as a sideman and producer, Voormann retired from the music business in 1989, though he has remained active, designing the covers for the Beatles Anthology albums in 1995. In 2009, he released his first solo album, A Sideman’s Journey.

As you might imagine, A Sideman’s Journey is an all-star affair, featuring performances by the likes of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Manfred Mann (reunited to recut their ’68 hit “Mighty Quinn”), Yusuf Islam, Bonnie Bramlett, and Dr. John, on songs written by George Harrison, Randy Newman, Bob Dylan, and Carl Perkins, among others. As you might also expect, it’s a low-key affair, simply and effectively produced. When you have great performers and great songs, it’s a good idea to just let them play, and that’s what Voormann does here. The standout track for me finds Yusuf Islam covering George Harrison’s beautiful song “The Day the World Gets ‘Round”. It all adds up to a very enjoyable listen.

Here’s the good news: I have a copy of the album for one lucky reader, but not just any copy. Someone is going to win the Super Deluxe Version of the album as described here:

Super Deluxe Version (released September 2009)

Grammy nominated.

Includes 14-track CD + DVD including a 10-minute recording session documentary,

68-page hardcover book and signed and numbered fine art print by Klaus Voormann. The bonus DVD, ”Making of a Sideman’s Journey,” carries the viewer into the center of the action. This is not a staged production. This DVD is a powerful and passionate documentary showing how this audio-visual work of art came into being.

To win this great prize, all you need to do is send an e-mail to ken@popdose.com with word “Contest” in the subject line, and the answer to the following question in the body:

Klaus Voormann had a small role in Robert Altman’s 1980 film Popeye. Name the character that he played.

The deadline for entries is Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time. At that time I will choose one winner at random from all of the correct entries. Only one entry per person please, and this contest is open only to readers with a valid US mailing address.

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About the Author

Ken Shane

Ken Shane lives in Narragansett, R.I. He is a freelance writer and far and away the oldest Popdose writer. In fact, he may be the oldest writer, period. He wants you to know that he generally does not share his colleagues' love for the music of the '80s, and he does not forgive them for loving it. (Ken passed away in November 2022. R.I.P. —Ed.)

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