Thursday, December 9, 2010

50 Best Bass Lines of All Time: Part 4

After going through a ton of songs, I now present to you Part 4 of The 50 Best Bass Lines of All Time. I have been playing bass for over 25 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 the final part. Here are the other parts if you missed them: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.  Scroll down to the bottom for a Spotify playlist that collects the songs from this series.

The Beatles - Penny Lane
Bass Player: Paul McCartney
Album: Released as single (1967), then on Magical Mystery Tour
I never really appreciated Paul McCartney until I really started dissecting his bass parts. I could've chosen several songs by The Beatles, but I just love the movement of the bass on 'Penny Lane.'

David Bowie - Ashes to Ashes
Bass Player: George Murray
Album: Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980)
This song is like icy funk. The crazy keyboard sound mixed with the funky slap bass, just create a feeling that matches the cold loneliness of Major Tom's life in and out of space. Just perfect.

Primus - Jerry was a Race Car Driver
Bass Player: Les Claypool
Album: Sailing the Seas of Cheese (1991)
If you aren't super familiar with the bass guitar, you may not notice that the bass line in this song is created by a technique called tapping. Instead of plucking the strings with your picking hand, you tap your fingertips on the fretboard to create additional notes. The bass begins immediately after the car engine sound in the beginning.  Yes, that's bass! What's even more impressive is that he sang at the same time!

Aerosmith - Sweet Emotion
Bass Player: Tom Hamilton
Album: Toys in the Attic (1975)
Such a cool, sleazy bass intro. Great song.

Porno for Pyros - Tahitian Moon
Bass Player: Martyn LeNoble
Album: Good God's Urge (1996)
I just love Martyn's bass and that heavy kick drum. For those not familiar with Porno for Pyros, it consisted of Perry Farrell & Stephen Perkins from Jane's Addiction, along with Peter Distefano (guitar) and Martyn LeNoble (bass).

Fishbone - Party at Ground Zero
Bass Player: Norwood Fisher
Album: Fishbone EP (1985)
Listen to that bass line. Norwood Fisher = rad.

War - Low Rider
Bass Player: B.B. Dickerson
Album: Why Can't We Be Friends? (1975)
Sick bass line. Everyone knows this song.

New Order - Regret
Bass Player: Peter Hook
Album: Republic (1993)
Peter Hook makes his second appearance on the list. Great tone and super melodic. One of my favorite songs of all time.

James Brown - I Got You (I Feel Good)
Bass Player: Bernard Odum
Album: I Got You (I Feel Good) (1965)
This bass line is super tight. If it wasn't, James Brown would fine the players $5 for every mistake!

Average White Band - Pick Up the Pieces
Bass Player: Alan Gorrie
Album: AWB (1974)
Just listen to that killer groove.

Continue to Part 5

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1 comment:

  1. Very cool selections! Let's see: dog will hunt, five bucks was a lot of money when I was one, and the Eagles play Pick Up the Pieces at their field (first heard it just last night).