In music there is a tendency to focus on what’s front and center. A ripping guitar solo, a soaring vocalist, a drummer going wild on the kit. Much rarer do we focus on ye olde bass guitar. Often holding down the groove and providing a strong backbone, the bass player works with the drummer to create a foundation for the rest of the band to work from. There’s an old Futurama quote that says “when you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all”. Most of the time this is true. There are, however, times where bassists step into the spotlight and let everyone know what’s slappin’. Here are five of classic rock’s best bass lines.
Roundabout – Yes
Coming in after a slow, dreamy sounding introduction, Chris Squire immediately lays down the groove. This driving, funky bass line carries the first half of the song. In the second half, he is shredding right along with the guitarist. Squire passed away in 2015, but his work remains timeless. There are countless bass covers of the song and it’s still an incredibly popular tune to learn.
Pink Floyd – Money
Pink Floyd’s Money could be argued to be one of the most iconic bass lines in the history of music. It’s instantly recognizable and creates an amazingly dirty, greasy, wall street-esque atmosphere.
The Beatles – Come Together
It’s not complicated, fast, or fancy. Instead, Come Together uses a clear, purposeful bass line that drives the entire song forward. The Beatles didn’t get famous just because they were a bunch of good looking guys from Liverpool – they were extremely talented songwriters. You can read more about The Beatles and what made them so successful at this through the this link.
The Clash – The Guns of Brixton
This reggae inspired bass line gives The Guns of Brixton an incredible groove to work off of. The end result is a unique, catchy song that is distinctly The Clash. Paul Simonon’s creative bass lines helped the band develop their sound and achieve widespread popularity and recognition. You can read about another of The Clash’s hits, London Calling, at the link down below.
Led Zeppelin – Dazed and Confused
This bass line has been listened to in basements and garages for decades. Strong, lethargic, and drone like, this line starts off strong and continues to evolve as the song progresses. It is constantly developing and takes the listener on an auditory roller coaster, complete with loop-de-loops.
What are your favorite bass lines? Tell us in the comments below!