My Favorite Bassists

This list means more to me because I started off playing bass and spent a lot of time listening to records of many of these artists. Slowing the record down when I was 15 -16 trying to learn the runs. There was no youtube or tabs to show how to play songs.

These are my favorite bass players and the ones I grew up listening to.

1…John Entwistle, The Who – For my money, John was the best rock bass player. He was incredibly quick on bass and his late sixties and mid-seventies tone was great. Some of his bass playing style was developed from having Keith Moon as a rhythm partner. He would have to follow Keith all over the place.

Image result for john entwistle 1978

2…James Jamerson, Motown – One of the most influential bass players without a doubt. All of those great records that Jamerson played on showed how powerful and melodic he was…

Related image

3-…Paul McCartney, Beatles – The most melodic bass player that I’ve heard. Starting with Sgt Pepper his bass playing and sound changed the way the bass was recorded and played.

Related image

4…Jack Bruce, Cream – Like John Entwistle he was incredibly fast and held the song together while singing most of the time.

Related image

5…John Paul Jones – I wish Jimmy Page would have mixed his bass louder in recordings of Zeppelin. Fantastic bass player and arranger.

Image result for john paul jones

6…Rick Danko, The Band – He played the perfect bass lines for all of those Robbie Robertson songs. I like his sliding style along with his very loose playing. Rick also sang either lead or backup while playing.

Related image

7…Roger Waters, Pink Floyd – Roger waters made some of the most memorable bass lines ever.

Image result for roger waters 1979

8…Bill Wyman, Rolling Stones – Part of a great rhythm section with Charlie Watts. I didn’t appreciate Bill until I started to hear him live. He is still playing now at 82 with his own group The Rhythm Kings. He was overlooked with Charlie because of Mick and Keith.

Image result for bill wyman playing bass

9…Bootsy Collins, James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic – You want flashy? Bootsy is your man but he is also one of the best funk bass players ever.

Image result for bootsy collins

10…Carol Kaye, Studio Musician (The Wrecking Crew) – If you listened to the radio in the 60s and 70s you heard Carol. I knew her bass playing long before I knew of her. She has played on thousands of sessions with artists such as the Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder…the list doesn’t end. Here is a link to what she played on.

Image result for carol kaye

Honorable Mention

Les Claypool, Stanley Clarke, Donald “Duck” Dunn,  All those bass players on those 70s disco records, Flea, “Jaco” Pastorius, Chris Squire, Phil Lynott



Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

47 thoughts on “My Favorite Bassists”

  1. Can’t argue against any of your picks (especially like you included the often uncredited Carol Kaye) but I’d add in Herbie flowers (like, the bass session player to end all session players – Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”, David Essex’s “Rock On” etc etc) , Peter Hook of Joy Division/New Order, and to me the best bassist I’ve heard J.J. Burnel , primarily of The Stranglers. The thing that set that band apart in the ’70s was they built their “punk” sound around his bass and D.Greenfield’s wall of keyboards with drums and guitars rather secondary; he played the bass like a lead instrument in concert back in the day. Eventually he toned it down a bit as their music became more nuanced, but he’s quite brilliant in his capability. Cool that you play bass by the way– always been an instrument I kind of wanted to, and I actually got to play around on one at a party about 10 years back, after about half an hour figured I probably COULD … but never followed up on it. Never had that inclination, nor I think ability to play a 6-string guitar.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are right about Herbie…I’ve heard so much of him.
      I’ll have to listen more closely to Peter Hook.
      Bass is what I’m best at and know best. I would study Entwistle and cop his lines and tones…the one that was hardest to get for me… was some of McCartney… listen to the bass on Lucy in the… it doesn’t sound that impressive but it’s brilliant. He said that Carol Kaye was an inspiration for his bass playing on Sgt Pepper

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I definitely concur with Dave! Well done, badfinger20!

      Moreover, the list can potentially expand to include the bass giants in jazz, funk, fusion and indie music. Just to name one: the multi-award winner John Patitucci, not to mention that he is also a composer.

      Even though your blog deals with pop, those bass players in jazz, funk, fusion and indie music do occasionally cross over to pop, sometimes surprisingly well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I agree….the catch I made was the ones I listened to the most… I hope it wasn’t too big a cop out but yea…those funk and jazz bassists are great…even those disco bassists were great… Geddy Lee is great also but I didn’t mention him because I kept it with the ones I listen to the most.

        My next list is singers…that is the hardest one because there are so many of them…that will come Thursday.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s really good…I just listened to Space 1999: Main Theme from Geoff Love…really good bass and bass sound

        I like a select few of the disco songs BUT…I gotta respect those bass players.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, it is.

        Just letting you know, in case you are a fan of Space 1999, that most of the people involved in the TV series have left us:

        Here is the note of the following video:

        To honor the late Actors and Production staff of the TV series Space:1999, this video was created for the closing ceremonies of the Alpha:2012 convention held September 2012 in Burbank, California.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Somehow, I prefer the theme of the second season of Space 1999, for it is less repetitive, has better chord progressions and far more dramatic. These are the best versions that I can find. There may be better recordings and arrangements out there. Please let me know if you were to find them.

        Short version:

        Long version:

        Liked by 1 person

      5. it’s really good… Now I have to see the series…I can’t avoid it now…
        I really like your original music. It flows really well. I’m going to finish it up this week. I like the arrangement you did.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Space 1999 was reputedly the most expensive TV series of its time.

        I look forward to your feedback on the said post containing my original music at, and would like to propose the following two activities for you:

        (1) A detailed critique (in any style, technical and/or casual) of the post by leaving an extended comment at the comment section of the said post.

        (2) A new post to be published by you on your blog dealing with the music as you audition in the said post.

        In both (1) and (2), you are also free to discuss what you perceive as the musical influences, both stylistically and compositionally, that you can detect in those compositions.

        Please note that one of the twelve pieces there is a musical quiz. No one has been able to fully answer the quiz yet. Perhaps you can!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks… Any body that I missed? The singers…you will disagree with one lol… it’s going to be harder. I will also have one on there that you and I…will agree I think…but many people won’t…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sorry to bother you….
        I tried to leave a comment on your blog but it wants me to log in but I already am…
        I wanted to tell you that I loved the Bullying story…if only more people could follow that father’s lead.
        Also loved the Gary Moore and Phil Lynott writeup.


    1. I like Phil Lynott…he is at the bottom of the page with the honorable mentioned… It was hard sizing it to only 10…I should have done 20…no agrument here….I like Thin Lizzy.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: