Thursday, March 4, 2010

A little more bass, please

Here are rock's best bass players, snipped from the list of the Top 100 at

1. James Jamerson, Funk Brothers, session player
2. John Entwistle, The Who
3. Larry Graham, Sly & The Family Stone
4. Chris Squire, Yes
5. Jack Bruce, Cream
6. Tony Levin, King Crimson, session player
7. Geddy Lee, Rush
8. Paul McCartney, The Beatles
9. Louis Johnson, Brothers Johnson, session man
10. Anthony Jackson, session man

Observations: We think it's wonderful that somebody actually knows the names of 100 rock bass players. They don't get nearly the attention and respect they deserve. We certainly hope no fights broke out over these rankings.

Growing up in my small hometown there was a pretty decent local band, The Loney Ones, that was trying to get gigs at bars and venues in surrounding cities. They were in La Crosse, I believe, for an audition and their bass player couldn't make it. (He might have been working on the farm.) So they asked a younger kid from town to stand in. Now this kid didn't know a bass guitar from a broomstick. They said don't worry, we'll have the amp on zero. Just get up there and fake it. And he faked it pretty good, because they got the gig.

Moral of the story? You, too, can be a rock 'n' roll bass player. Just make sure the sound is turned down.

Oh, and happy birthday to Chris Squire, who turns 62 today. We went through our Yes phase, a blissful period during which every other band's output sounded inferior by comparision. So we're certain we appreciated his contributions at much higher decibel levels; unfortunately we can't remember any details.

Bass players, they get little respect.


  1. I'd have to agree, Jim, that James Jamerson was the best ever; like McCartney, he was an extraordinary arranger as well. My list would have Berry Oakley (Allman Brothers) and Carol Kaye (session master, think Beach Boys) right up at the top.

  2. The guy who flew the plane into the IRS office was a bass player. Just sayin.

    But hell yeah on Jamerson. I prob. would have included Duck Dunn. And since Jim is in NYC, the lovely Kim Gordon ain't too shabby.