Classic Rock Corner

Before We Cared: 10 Bit Players Who Became Superstars

On this day in 1965, British songstress Petula Clark reached number one on the charts with "Downtown," a pop classic with an unforgettable hook that has become a mainstay of oldies radio, film soundtracks and TV advertisements in the years since. The song even served as a plot point in an episode of Seinfeld. What a lot of people don't know, of course, is that a young session guitarist named Jimmy Page played on the recording. "Downtown" was just one of a string of hits featuring Page's studio talents before he rose to fame with Led Zeppelin.

It's not a unique story. Behind the success of every superstar, you'll often find a talented group of bandmates, collaborators and sidemen happy simply to play their roles and cash their checks. Not all of these semi-anonymous musicians are content to remain in the background, however -- some are able to parlay their skills, connections and desperation into stardom. In honor of Page's early session work, Rocks Off has assembled this list of ten performers who stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

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Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith