Today starts a new series here on Life On This Planet: The 50 Best Bass Lines of All Time: Part 1.
I have been playing bass for over 20 years now and I learned a long time ago that a great bass part does not have to be technically amazing and flashy (although sometimes it could be) - it just has to #1: be creative, #2: fit the song and #3: be memorable.
The following list is not in any particular order, except for the #1 pick. :) I have lots of songs to go through, so stay tuned for Part 2. Please enjoy.
01. Jane's Addiction - Three Days
Bass Player: Eric Avery
Album: Ritual De Lo Habitual (1990)
Why?: It's epic. That intro bass part is my favorite bass riff of all time. Just beautiful.
Buy Three Days on Amazon MP3
02. Joy Division - She's Lost Control
Bass Player: Peter Hook
Album: Unknown Pleasures (1979)
Why?: Peter Hook took a whole new approach to bass playing - strumming melodies high up on the neck.
Buy Love Will Tear Us Apart on Amazon MP3
03. Fishbone - Bonin' In The Boneyard
Bass Player: Norwood Fisher
Album: Truth And Soul (1988)
Why?: Such a killer groove. It's super busy, but works so perfectly. And check out the bass solo!
Buy Bonin' In The Boneyard on Amazon MP3
04. Queen & David Bowie - Under Pressure
Bass Player: John Deacon
Album: Released as single (1981), then on Hot Space
Why?: Because it's one of the most recognizable bass lines ever.
Buy Under Pressure on Amazon MP3
05. Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
Bass Player: James Jamerson
Album: What's Going On (1971)
Why?: James Jamerson was amazing. His part on this song is super intricate and is just plain brilliant.
Buy What's Going On on Amazon MP3
06. Yes - Heart Of The Sunrise
Bass Player: Chris Squire
Album: Fragile (1972)
Why?: It's intense. And it always makes me think of Buffalo 66.
Buy Heart Of The Sunrise on Amazon MP3
07. Primus - Tommy The Cat
Bass Player: Les Claypool
Album: Sailing The Seas Of Cheese (1991)
Why?: Try playing that one and then sing at the same time. :)
Buy Tommy The Cat on Amazon MP3
08. Tones On Tail - Go!
Bass Player: Glenn Campling
Album: Released as single (1984), later compiled on Everything
Why?: Just a killer, heavily-distorted, dance-friendly riff.
Buy Go! on Amazon MP3
09. The Smiths - Barbarism Begins At Home
Bass Player: Andy Rourke
Album: Meat Is Murder (1985)
Why?: Andy Rourke is completely overshadowed by guitarist Johnny Marr. This is just one of the many examples of his greatness on the bass guitar.
Buy Barbarism Begins At Home on Amazon MP3
10. Rush - YYZ
Bass Player: Geddy Lee
Album: Moving Pictures (1981)
Why?: Just listen.
Buy YYZ on Amazon MP3