Friday, December 3, 2010

50 Best Bass Lines of All Time: Part 2

Okay, here is Part 2 of The 50 Best Bass Lines of All Time. If you missed Part 1, click here.

I have been playing bass for over 25 years now, and 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 ten songs are not in any particular order, so Paul Chambers' jazz chops may appear right next to U2's Adam Clayton. Stay tuned for Part 3. If you'd like to listen to all of the songs collected in this series, scroll down to the bottom for a Spotify playlist.

Pink Floyd - Money
Bass Player: Roger Waters
Album: The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
Probably the most recognizable bass line in a non-standard time signature: 7/4. Say it out loud with me: 1 2and3 4 5 6 7 (repeat)

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Higher Ground
Bass Player: Flea
Album: Mother's Milk (1989)
Well, it was hard to choose from many of Flea's great bass parts, but this is one that had a huge effect on my early years. Be sure to check out the original version by Stevie Wonder.

Lou Reed - Walk on the Wild Side
Bass Player: Herbie Flowers
Album: Transformer (1972)
The harmony of the two bass parts (one on electric bass, the other on the upright). Perfect.

Level 42 - Love Games
Bass Player: Mark King
Album: Level 42 (1981)
Just listen.

Duran Duran - Rio
Bass Player: John Taylor
Album: Rio (1982)
Most people probably remember this one for the video and catchy chorus, but check out John Taylor's bass part.

Miles Davis - So What
Bass Player: Paul Chambers
Album: Kind of Blue (1959)
Turn it up and listen to Mr P.C.'s double bass sing. Beautiful.

U2 - New Year's Day
Bass Player: Adam Clayton
Album: War (1983)
I spent countless hours of my youth playing along with all of the early U2 albums. Adam Clayton rules.

Cream - Sunshine of Your Love
Bass Player: Jack Bruce
Album: Disraeli Gears (1967)
The second bass line I ever learned. A classic.

Megadeth - Peace Sells
Bass Player: Dave Ellefson
Album: Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? (1986)
'MTV News, where you hear it (insert Peace Sells bass riff here) first!'  Remember?

Young MC - Bust a Move
Bass Player: Flea
Album: Stone Cold Rhymin' (1989)
Listen to that bass when it kicks in at the 34 second mark, it's Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I love this song. It reminds me of several things: 1.  Uncle Buck (the movie), 2. Going to clubs when I was a teenager with my brothers, 3. My brother Carl and his friend singing this at karaoke (whoa).

Continue to Part 3

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  1. nice variety, bro! very surprised by "bust a move" but that song is a classic. for the record i would have picked "new religion" by duran duran. :D

  2. Thank you, Anji. I'm not familiar with a lot of Duran Duran's deep catalog. But I will have to check out this 'New Religion' that you speak of. Cool, thanks.

  3. New Religion is John Taylor best riff IMHO!