A few months back, I was asked to put together a list of 10 of my favourite basslines by Bass Guitar Magazine. I sent them a list of 10, and a little note about each one, but the article is now out without the little blurb. So here’s the blurb. They also numbered them, as though there’s an order to them, which there clearly isn’t. Music doesn’t work like that. and If I wrote the list again today, it’d be different.
But anyway, here’s the list, with links where possible, and a little bit about each one…
Le Freak – Chic : one of the funkiest lines ever from the Beatles Of Disco. I could’ve picked just about any of their hits. Bernard’s tone and feel are a thing of wonder.
Refuge Of The Roads – Joni Mitchell : My favourite bassline from my favourite album ever. Every note Jaco plays on the whole Hejira album is sublime.
Maxwell Murder – Rancid : carrying the ‘punks that can really play’ torch forward, Matt Freeman manages to be full of energy, inventive and a chops-monster at the same time.
Orphans – Deacon Blue : one of the first pop songs I ever heard with chords on a 6 string bass. This is almost all just bass, voice and tambourine. Beautiful
Chicken Grease – D’Angelo : Pino was The Man in the 80s, and he’s still The Man now, only instead of slide-y fretless and a curly mullet he’s the cool king of hip-hop. My whole understanding of rhythm changed when I heard this album.
Selene – Michael Manring : not exactly a ‘bass line’ but without a doubt one of the most beautiful pieces of solo bass music ever recorded.
I Keep Forgettin’ – Michael McDonald : what locking in with a kick drum is all about. Louis Johnson shows restraint, digs deep and has a bass tone to die for.
Forget Me Nots – Patrice Rushen : My favourite ever slap line. Freddie Washington probably even has a funky heartbeat.
I’m In Love – Frank Dunnery : Matt Pegg, son of Dave, basically soloing through most of this tune, in a way that sounds neither wanky nor out of place. Exceptional playing and writing.
Spirits In A Material World – The Police : again, could have picked one of about 15 Police lines. Something magical happens when Sting gets with Stuart Copeland, even though they both play ‘out of time’ most of the time. Proof if ever it were needed that you don’t need protools to make incredible music.
Feel free to post your lists in the comments. Would be interested to read them. But please, don’t bother with the ‘what??? how could you miss out ********** (insert bassist here)’ – there are only 10, it’s not a definitive list, as I said it’d change now, and it’ll be different again tomorrow. So relax, and gimme a list of great lines.by