A Global Army of Veteran Rockers
No Beatles are eligible.
Pete Townshend is not eligible (not that he was any Pavoratti, but he was not "backup"...he was occasional lead....)
I'm going with Mike Mills in R.E.M.
Got the headphones on and am going thru these transcendent new deluxe editions of the first 4 albums. Revelatory.
He was huge.
Listen to Fall On Me again, asap......
Sorry, can't narrow the field to a single person, but a few noteworthy performances:
Merry Clayton--Gimme Shelter
Doris Troy and Clare Torry for their work on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.
Emmylou Harris--her work with Gram Parsons.
As a pure backup group, I am quite enamored with Thunderthighs, who not only did the backups on "Walk on the Wild Side", but this slab o' joy:
Mott the Hoople "Roll Away the Stone"
Also worked with Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Elephant's Memory, and had the best name EVER for a female backing group.
Some stellar stylin' and profilin' by those gals, too.
Although a "group"--the Dixie Hummingbirds did a fine job behind John Fogerty:
You might remember them behind Paul Simon on "Loves Me Like a Rock."