Top 5 Bass Players
1. Jimi Hendrix (The Jimi Hendrix Experience & Band of Gypsy’s) – Yes Jimi Hendrix! he made up and played the bass lines on many of his songs as he would be recording throughout the hours of the night when he was in the studio. Noel Redding from the Jimi Hendrix Experience would then learn these guitar riff inspired bass lines and play them live. Cool bass line tracks include Manic Depression, Fire, Dolly Dagger, Foxy Lady, Stone Free and Catfish Blues.
2. Jack Bruce (Cream) – Bruce had some pretty cool vocals, wrote some wicked classics and inspired me to play bass. The Cream had to have a full sound with the limitations of only being a trio…this was accomplished by sheer talent of all three members. A volatile combination that made a big impact in a very short period, cool bass lines hail in the form of Deserted Cities of the Heart, Sunshine of Your Love, Strange Brew, Born Under a Bad Sign, SWALBR, I Feel Free and Politician.
3. Bootsy Collins – The best and funkiest James Brown tracks feature Bootsy on bass and rumour has it that James Brown sacked Bootsy because the crowd was cheering for Bootsy and not Brown. So, then we have the birth of funk but also the foundations of Rap and Hip Hop with Parliament-Funkadelic…where the magic happened! Boots brings the funk on Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine, I Got The Feelin’, Soul Power, Up For The Down Stroke, Give Up The Funk, Flash Light and Groove Is In The Heart.
4. John Paul Jones - Best known as the swiss army knife for Led Zeppelin, JPJ earned a reputation as one of the most creative bass players in the London scene in the sixties. He played with Donovan and also worked with the likes of Jeff Beck, Keith Moon, The Rolling Stones, Cat Stevens, The Yardbirds, Paul McCartney, R.E.M. I personally loved them Crooked Vultures. John Paul Jones came up with the iconic riff of Black Dog and was unbelievable on bass in other song he wrote including, Good Times Bad Times, Communication Breakdown, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Misty Mountain Hop and No Quarter.
5. Carol Kaye – After watching how ‘Pet Sounds’ was made, I soon learned about this exraordinary studio and session musician (who the average Joe is not aware of). She is a guitarist and bass player. She played on many Phil Spector and Brian Wilson productions throughout the 60s and 70s and played on many iconic television themes. She was a member of ‘The Wrecking Crew’ (which she states was called ‘The Clique’). A few artists she played with include Simon & Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, Sam Cooke, Nancy Sinatra, The Righteous Brothers, Neil Young, Dusty Springfield, Frank Zappa. Amazing!
Special Mentions – It would be wrong not to mention the following bass players as also being amazing and highly influential and they include John Entwistle, Les Claypool, Paul McCartney, Robert Trujillo, Michael Peter Balzary (aka Flea), Cliff Burton, Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn and Geezer Butler.