We’re back with another Pop Quiz! Having previously covered some famous females in the first Backup Singers Quiz, now it’s the men’s turn. Here’s another SMGM quiz: Famous male backup singers, in well-known songs they really weren’t well-known for singing.

We’ll list 11 songs and artists (why limit things to an even 10), and then you match up the gentlemen whose critical backing voices somehow made the tunes what they were always destined to be.

No Googling, of course. Should you get the urge, just observe this mandate from George Costanza.

Alright, let’s get back to it.

  1. “Whatever Gets You Through The Night” by John Lennon
  2. “Back In The High Life” by Steve Winwood
  3. “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon
  4. “6th Avenue Heartbreak” by The Wallflowers
  5. “Bad Blood” by Neil Sedaka
  6. “Ride Like The Wind” by Christopher Cross
  7. “Billion Dollar Babies” by Alice Cooper
  8. “Part Time Lover” by Stevie Wonder
  9. “Endless Night” by Graham Parker
  10. “Friends” by Cracker
  11. “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits
  1. Bruce Springsteen
  2. Luther Vandross
  3. Sting
  4. Elton John
  5. Patterson Hood
  6. James Taylor
  7. Adam Duritz
  8. Elton John
  9. Mick Jagger
  10. Donovan
  11. Michael McDonald

Before scrolling down for the answers, please note the following SMGM grading levels:

  • 5 or less: The Beatles have a message for you: Get Back
  • 6-7: CCR says, Doo doo doo, you’re Lookin’ Out My Back Door
  • 8-9: Okay, now you’re up there with Aerosmith, Back In The Saddle (Again)
  • 10-11: Congrats, like Steve Winwood, you’re Back In The High Life


1-D/H, 2-F, 3-I*, 4-G, 5-H/D, 6-K, 7-J**, 8-B, 9-A, 10-E, 11-C

*long-held rumors were that it was partly about him too…but really, it was Warren Beatty, wasn’t it?

**this one has got to be the oddest partnership, right?

We hope you enjoyed this latest quiz. And remember the offer remains open for any high-scorers – or really anybody, what the hell – to contribute your own pop quiz, blog topic, or whatever music-related thing strikes a chord with you. Email your submission to bill@somuchgreatmusic.com. Our previous guest post on ’70’s Story Songs from occasional contributor Shep Cummings proved to be a reader favorite.

Let’s wrap-up this exam with a clip from one of the featured artists/songs from our quiz – Carly Simon with her classic kiss-off ‘You’re So Vain’ – performing here sans her back-up singer from the recording, but at the most Martha’s Vineyard in the ’80’s setting possibly imaginable.