Monday, December 6, 2010

50 Best Bass Lines of All Time: Part 3

Okay, here is Part 3 of The 50 Best Bass Lines of All Time. 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. I should also mention that in order to make this list, I have to like the song too!  :) 

The following ten songs are not in any particular order. Stay tuned for Part 4. If you missed Part 1, click here and Part 2 is here. You can listen to all of the songs featured in this series - just scroll down to the bottom for a Spotify playlist.

Eric Avery photo credit:  © Fausto Ristori -

The Cure - Lovesong
Bass Player: Simon Gallup
Album: Disintegration (1989)
I love this one. Like U2's Adam Clayton, Gallup is a solid player whose style works perfectly within the context of The Cure's unique sound.

Michael Jackson - Billie Jean
Bass Player: Louis Johnson
Album: Thriller (1982)
Did you know that producer Quincy Jones didn't want Billie Jean to be included on the Thriller album? I guess he didn't like it at the time. Anyways, a great bass line played by one of The Brothers Johnson.

Tool - Schism
Bass Player: Justin Chancellor
Album: Lateralus (2001)
Unique riff, great tone and weird time changes.

The Rolling Stones - Under My Thumb
Bass Player: Bill Wyman
Album: Aftermath (1966)
The list would not be complete without a Stones song. Bill Wyman is a great player and 'Under My Thumb' is a standout line from him.

Iron Maiden - The Trooper
Bass Player: Steve Harris
Album: Piece of Mind (1983)
Intense! That takes some stamina to pull this one off.

Jane's Addiction - Summertime Rolls
Bass Player: Eric Avery
Album: Nothing's Shocking (1988)
Just beautiful. I could fill this list with Eric Avery bass lines.

Fugazi - Waiting Room
Bass Player: Joe Lally
Album: Fugazi EP (1988), compiled on 13 Songs
Killer opening riff and a great song.

Led Zeppelin - Ramble On
Bass Player: John Paul Jones
Album: Led Zeppelin II (1969)
It was difficult to choose a Led Zeppelin song because all of JPJ's bass lines are great. This is probably my favorite of his work.

Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead
Bass Player: David J
Album: Released as single (1979), compiled on Crackle
Three descending notes and goth rock was born.

John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John - You're the One that I Want
Bass Player: Mike Porcaro or David Hungate
Album: Grease Soundtrack (1978)
My Dad took us to see Grease when it came out and we ended up watching it twice in the same day. Turn up the volume and listen to the bass, such a great line.

Continue to Part 4

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  1. Fugazi's Waiting Room is a GREAT choice! Love that song! If only it was longer than 2 minutes and some odd seconds...

  2. Hey Vanessa, thank you. Waiting Room has such a rad bass line!

  3. I always love those creepy claymation and reverse-melting Tool videos, but Bauhaus had me reaching for the absinthe in my coffee!

  4. How weird. My sister and I saw Grease twice in the same day too - loved it so much, we hung around to watch it again. Haven't done that before or since.

    Sandy Rizzo

  5. Yeah Tool!
    jajajajaja very good all of the parts of Best Bass Lines but until now I haven't seen anything of The Ox, ThunderFingers Entwistle!! jajajaja my favorite bassist :)...

  6. Alejandro! Thanks for your feedback. Yeah, he was a great player. Have you checked out the videos on youtube that separate the bass tracks? There's some for his basslines, really cool. :)