Top 15 great bass players

Top 10 greatest bass players of all time

Ok Ok, this may be a bit controversial but here is our top fifteen bass players list”¦

Many of the top 15 come from the punk period. This is because for a few brief years the bass was shoved up in the mix to become the lead instrument. There have been many great players for years but these are the bassists who drove their band’s sound and these are the bass players who mainly played with that fantastic heavy sound.

1. JJ Burnel (Stranglers)
The Black and White album by the Stranglers still has the best bass sound on it of all time. It’s heavy, dark and belligerent- a bit like the young JJ. Not only did he invent a style of playing and got a generation to notice the bass, he also created the whole notion of lead bass playing in a rock band- the bass lines were also super catchy as well.

2. Bob Weston (Shellac)
The current world bass champ, Weston has the most fantastic bass sound. The Shellac albums are, of course, some of the best recorded albums you can hear with the bass one of the keys. Weston’s heavy bass playing has become a science, with his Rusty Box effects pedal and every part of his gear examined to get the maximum crank Weston has got that sound nailed perfectly.

3. Peter Hook (Joy Division)
Influenced by Burnell and Black Sabbath Hooky took the bass somewhere else- those early Warsaw and Joy Division bass lines are brilliant examples of the science of bass- powerful, brooding and uber melodic they sound tracked the post punk dark ages.

4. Jah Wobble (Public Image Limited)
Now that’s a signature bass sound. The aptly named Wobble had a bass sound that could cause earthquakes. He learned to play bass in about seven days and came up with the rumble on the debut Public Image single before soaking up dub/krautrock and dark funk to write all those key bass lines on the early Pil records. His solo career has been equally fascinating- whatever type of music he merges himself with you can still hear him in the middle of the action.

5. Steve Hanley (The Fall)
The Fall have had a million line ups but they have never had a bass player as good as Hanley in the line up since he left after a punch up in the USA. His intense playing and that tough, gnarly sound were the backbone to frontman Smith’s waspish poetry for years and stand the test of time.

6. Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
The Chili Peppers may have gone a bit too comfy slipper in recent years but when Flea dredges up the bass to the top of the mix he still has it. A great player.

7. Dee Dee Ramone (the Ramones)
We are not looking for complex here- McCartney and Geddy Lee were technically great and key bass players but there is something about Dee Dee’s root note barrage that sounds brilliant to this day. Most of the Ramones bass lines were written on the bass and the vicious down strokes aligned to Johnny Ramone’s equally tough guitar changed the way a generation thought about music. And he looked cool as fuck as well.

8. Lemmy (Motorhead)
If it’s is a truism that you have to look like what you sound like then the walking it like he talks it Lemmy fits the bill perfectly. Sometimes live his bass drowns out the whole band- which is sonic perfection. lemmy seems to hit all the strings at once to make that avalanche rumble. In the middle of that though he is a really fucking great player, whose use of bass chords is stunning.

9. Joe Lally (Fugazi)
Joe Lally’s slinky bass lines were a key part of the Fugazi sound, giving the band a swing and a rock hard spine for the guitars to splatter all over.

10. Colin Moulding (XTC)
The first two XTC albums were full of these tough and off kilter pop nuggets. One of the keys was Moulding’s bass that was driving and incredibly tight locked into the rhythm section but still poking up the mix leading many of the songs and off setting the catchy guitar.

11. Tracey Pew (Birthday Party)
the late Tracey pew was a larger than life character in a larger than life band, nicknamed the Paunchy Cowboy his brutally heavy bass negotiated its way through swing jazz and blues lines that were very much the signature of the early Birthday Party.

11. Bootsy Collins (James Brown etc)
He had the funk.

13. Chuck Dukowski (Black Flag)
Before he got drowned out by Greg Ginn, Dukowski’s bass was dominating Black Flag- especially on the unreleased demos that litter the Internet. If you want to hear a really brutal piece of bass playing then check ”˜Scream’. The album version sounds limp in comparison.

14 Dub bassists
All Jamaican music is built on the bass, god knows who plays many of those bass lines but their mixture of floor shattering bottom end and great melodies are the hook that pulls you into another musical world.

15. Tessa Pollitt (The Slits)
Tessa merged funk and dub and punk and became the key player in the punky reggae party.

Also Mani from the Stone Roses- great player who had a million kids dancing to his bass”¦

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  1. great to see dee dee get the kudos….tracey pew shoulda made the top 10….perhaps an honuary mention for douglas hart

    • Stuart Morrow (ex – New Model Army)

    • Jamerson, McCartney, Deal ?

      • I think the Louderthanwar list is great. I’m bored shitless of the orthodoxy that says you HAVE To include certain people in lists. Like when people do their top 20 albums and put MArvin Gaye in there- he’s actually really boring!
        personally I hate the Beatles- and there are few memorable bass lines that i can even remember hearing in their stuff. Motown was the Stock Aitkin and Waterman or the X factor of its day blown out of all proportion now. All it did was hoover up and shut down all the far superior smaller black labels in Detroit and turn them into a production line. I don’t like the sound of their records and don’t like that style of bass playing- reminds me of weddings and Kim Deal was a great singer and songwriter in the Pixies but they were a noise band for students and Guardian readers- you don’t have to investigate that much further for the far better bass players in the American underground at that time- like Bob Weston who is mentioned on the bass player’s list.

        Obviously you haven’t strayed very far from your parent’s record collection but when you do and have learned a few more bass player’s names then reply.

  2. No Andy Rourke?

  3. Andy Export (unlucky fried kitten)

    JJ Burnell….too right…awesome…but no mention for Norman Watt-Roy??? I’m surprised :)

  4. What about Jez Kerr from A Certain Ratio?

  5. Great list- agree with them all.

  6. bruce foxton, a genuine stylist and copied by townie kids with a plectrum all over the UK (down in the tube station is a classic bass riff) what happened ?

  7. No Glen Matlock? Great contributions to the Pistols and some beautiful Rich Kids lines

  8. john entwistle

  9. Johns Entwistle and Paul-Jones? Tina Weymouth? Jaco Pastorius? Bruce Foxton? Colin Greenwood? Paul Chambers?

    Can’t believe you’d leave them all out and still pick a just-about above average chancer like Flea!

    • They are all bass players in really good bands, I think the the list is great- bass players who were mainly like lead bassists. When i think of Led Zep i think of Jimmy page not JPJ, with your comment you would have to include just about every bass player ever!

  10. Robbie Shakespeare would be a good shout too

  11. Yeah Norman Watt Roy is a monster bass player

  12. No David Sims ? im shocked. scratch acid and jesus lizard bass man, big influence to the grunge movement.

  13. Can’t believe you missed Matt Freeman of Rancid. I’d add Stanley Clarke and Paul Simenon too! Good list though.

  14. Nice list, agree with most of that. Nice that Moulding and Dub bassists were given a nod.

  15. Dave Allen

  16. Without question the sound Weston gets is spot on. As a bass player? Saw the Fall last year and was so disappointed with the current bass sound. The guy had this big warm sound, very little scuzz. Just awful. The sound should punch you in the face.
    Not including David Wm Sims on this list renders it laughable.

    • Sims is a great bass player but nowhere as good as Bob Weston and Tracey Pew invented Sims whole schtick- to not know that is laughable! I think the list got it right there-

      • Point taken in regards to Pew and Sims tho it in no way diminishes Sims’ ability or sound. As for Weston, I wouldn’t want anything more from Bob. His style and sound is just as vital to Shellac as those of Albini and Trainor. It’s brutal and efficient. I could give a shit who’s better than who. I could listen to the 3 of them all day and could care less to listen to the others on this list.

  17. eeeee…. So many great bassists right… Hows about Geddy Lee and or Les Claypool.. Also new bassist on the block Tal Wilkenfeld.. Agree about JJ Burnel mind..

    • I was searching the person that would nominate Les Claypool. Well done. The list pretty solid and is inclusive of bass players who added not accompanied or dominated. Les is in a different category in that he is the music.

  18. Matt Robinson

    How about Matt Freeman of Rancid? He can solo like a motherfucker!

  19. I’d have SWANS bass player Algis Kizys as an honourable mention for inflicting GBH on my ears one night at Kentish Town T&C one night in 86/7.
    Ouch.

  20. No Les Claypool?!? Gotta be up there man, awesome bassist

  21. Matt Freeman? Horace Panter? Not a bad list though.

  22. Judith Roberts

    Great list. How about Barry Adamson from Magazine.

  23. McCartney HAS to be in there, no matter what you think of his other activities. The Beatles remasters of 09 only reinforced the key innovations he made in the use of bass guitar and his general inventiveness on the instrument.

  24. James Gardner

    Completely agree with comments about Matt Freeman, Paul Simonon and Norman Watt-Roy, especially the latter. I’d also like to suggest Garry Tallent from the E Street Band – as much a part of the sound as Steven Van Zandt or even The Boss himself!

  25. A good list but I’m missing Seggsy

  26. The amazing Tracey Pew was a childhood hero for me, but Wobble or J.J. are both pretty much unassailable…

    No Barry Adamson though?

  27. dannydeathdisco

    no Bernard Edwards from Chic ?? and no Robbie Shakespeare ????

  28. dave allen…gang of four

  29. No John Entwistle makes this list redundant.

    • John Entwhistle is a bit old man’s trousers isn’t he. The Who were great for a brief period and swiftly became boring and overblown and the Daily Mail’s idea of great rock band.

      • Old man’s trousers as far as he INVENTED rock bass playing, fusing straight-up rock and roll bass playing with melody, jazz and bloody amazing riffs? This list seems really narrow and predictably punk-oriented. I love a punk rocker, but I also love Charlie Mingus, Tom Araya, Chris Baio and Christopher Wolstenhome. Broaden out, old men!

  30. What about the boy (Simon) Gallup? The Cure’s distinctive sound is often driven by its melodic basslines, and any resemblance to Hooky’s hooks is purely conincidental… Also the coolest 51-year-old in rock.

  31. Barry Adamson is where exactly ?
    Also Tracey Pew – fantastic bass player but the guy who taught him never gets a mention. Chris Walsh from The Moodists, take a bow. Check him out if you don’t know him – monsterous bass sound.

  32. Steve Harris Iron Maiden

  33. Craig Adams , Sisters of Mercy / Mission / Alarm

  34. All good, to get a definative list would reach into the hundreds and would have to include Keef Curtis!!

  35. Geddy Lee – Rush

  36. Heres 10 of my favourite Bass Players.

    Janik Top -Magma, -check out KMX-B XII Opus 7,and De Futura -All the Magma bass players are upfront and bold .(http://www.seventhrecords.com/)

    Francois Rabbath-solo artist- French double bass player takes classical chops and goes exploring just how much you can get out of the instrument- album ” Multi Bass”.

    Michael Henderson-Miles Davis stole him from Stevie Wonders band ,keeps it pinned down with big fat memorable riffs.Juggernaut.

    Jaco Pastorious-Weather Report /solo artist- Its too early to forget Jaco, unmistakable voice on the bass , Check him on Joni Mitchell\’s “Hejira” album , His “Word of Mouth”
    album and the over looked Mr Gone album by Weather Report .Bright Size Life with Pat Metheny is a gem

    Alfonso Johnson-Weather Report- often overshadowed by his successor Jaco,Alfonso
    burnt a new path for the bass guitar ,much of it coming to light as live tapes are more available. s\’all good.

    Colin Seddon-Biting Tongues- Bold and weird, aggressive and humorous.unique.

    Cachao-cuban band leader and bassist- Center of the Earth bass playing everything revolves ,pulsating force.

    Chris Squire-Yes – Mercurial Rickenbacker mayhem, the iron girders in the structure,
    Twang Dancer. melodic.

    Paddy Steer-Homelife-, ,knows how to use colour ,when to step up front and when to groove, bubbly pocket playing ,feel good bassplaying. ,

    Jamaladeen Tacuma- from Ornette Coleman\’s Prime time/solo artist.
    an energy flash of a bass player , fast and stylish, mad lines.

    Eberhard Weber-ECM band leader and bassist-Dutch ,Upright solid body electric bassist did many albums for the ECM label as a band leader ,all kinds of textures(using bow a lot) and memorable riffs. albums Yellow Fields , Colours of Chloe.

  37. Not one mention of Ali McMordie, unbelievable!

  38. Yessss…definitely agree with Unlucky Fried Kitten about Norman Watt Roy….though they would be biased cos UFK often get called Ian Dury-ists.
    JJ Burnell…yep. It’s so hard to pick though. Andy Fraser of FREE :)

  39. Graham Simpson for his work with Roxy Music (check the Bogus Man or Beauty Queen)
    Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett – if you want to know why, just go here and scroll down to the list under ‘Bass’: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aston_Barrett
    Eddy Shaw (The Monks)
    Herbie Flowers (for David Essex’s Rock On, alone!)
    Rothko – all three bass players of the original group
    Joseph ‘Lucky’ Scott (Curtis Mayfield)
    Larry Graham (Sly & The Family Stone) who’s smallest achievement was the invention of ‘slap’ bass.
    And, of course, Cap’n Sensible, for Neat Neat Neat and New Rose

  40. Unbelievibubble
    Not a single mention for Brian Ritchie of Violent Femmes!!!

    Listen to ‘Never Tell’ from Hallowed Ground. Apart from being a fantastic song, the bass is stunning

    Agree with JJ though. And the person who mentioned Stuart Morrow from New Model Army

  41. John Robb is a fucking idiot ! Even Steve Hanley wouldn’t put himself in the top 15 bass players of all time. This list is top 15 bass players in your white boy punk rock world. Listen to some music John and get out of your own arse for fuck’s sake. (Ooooo Bootsy’s on there. Is that your token black man?) James Jamerson, Carol Kaye, Mingus, Willie Dixon, Bernard Edwards, Paul Chambers, Duck Dunn, Ronnie Lane, Jerry Scheff. Even in your limited post punk world Paul Simonon shines above your chosen 15. Hooky and the bloke from the Strangerlers !! Words fail me. I apologise if this sounds like a rant, but just saw the list on Graham Massey’s facebook and my blood did boil. Broaden your horizons fella.

    • Mog,

      It’s not a list of the hippest or of the ones I’m meant to have in a list. it’s not a list that’ s carefully constructed to appease the taste makers, it’s not a list where I have to think ‘mmmm I better put that one in just to be on the safe side’, It’s a list of the ones that sound the best. To me.

      One minute your saying I’ve got a token ‘black man’ and the nest your saying it’s too white. My preferred style of bass is the heavy lead bass of that punk era. JJ Burnel is the master of this and at least he played on all the Stranglers records and invented a style of playing which was the most influential from that period. Paul Simonon looked great and was a key part of the Clash but was not a key bass player. Of your list Mingus is the only one I wish I had remembered, love his stuff. I never liked Chic, I liked overall sound of Motown. I listen to loads of music, to be honest you looked as trapped in your own little world as you perceive me to be trapped in mine.

      I don’t care if Steve Hanley would put himself in the list or not. I love his style of playing and prefer it to any of the names you mentioned.

      • I realise my initial response to this was slightly gung ho and a tad offensive, but I saw the list on Graham Massey’s facebook and , as a former bass player and a lover of all things bass I was riled. I think the fundamental problem we have is that you’re picking bass players who on the whole dominated. To me the bass is much simpler and much more important to great music. There’s an axiom that it’s not what you play, it’s what you don’t play on the bass that’s most important. You don’t have to be fancy dan, you just need to have great feel. By my reckoning, I should take back my comment about Steve Hanley who not only musically but also diplomatically held The Fall together for many years. And no Rex, it’s not a list of cool players pinched from a list in The Face, it was just a handful of bass players that I’ve loved throughout my life off of the top of my head. You are right that Simonon was a bit rubbish with The Clash, but his recent work with Damon (love him or hate him) Albarn has been perfect. My main beef was that it is a list of white punk rockers, and if that’s the way you roll fair enough, but there’s a whole world of great bass players ignored. The bass doesn’t need to be shoved up in the mix to be great, it just needs to groove. And even if you held a gun to my head and put electrodes on my balls, you’d never get me to call Hooky a great bassist. He’s a frustrated lead guitarist who, to this day, has been unable to come to terms with the beauty of the bass.

        • PS In your words “Most of the Ramones bass lines were written on the bass” And i assume, played on the bass.

      • In that genre you prefer – you never mentioned Graeme Maby ..(Joe Jackson Band .. such a solid up front style like you like ’em…)

    • Don’t Be a tool Mog. No way is Paul Simonon anywhere near JJ Burnel- he doesn’t even play on the Clash records! Mick Jones is the ebst bass player in the Clash! and the Clash were the boy band of punk!
      Your suggestions are as sheeplike as you would expect, bernard Edwards? Chic were the curse of going out in the early eighties- awful records, really boring and that hideous bass sound, Jerry Scheff was a very good session bass player who played with famous people, so what?
      Although I would add some others to John Robb’s list, for me ‘that bloke from the Stranglers’ is pretty damn good and was really influential to me and loads of other bass players.
      You sound like you really haven’t got a clue and are just pinching your ideas from an old copy of the Face you fucking idiot.

      • Rex, Whether you agree with me or not Bernard Edwards bass lines were amazing and formed the background to one of the most groundbreaking gobsmacking records of all time , ‘The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel’. Re Paul Simonon see my reply to John Robb, although sometimes looking cool is more important than being a flash harry on your instrument. Jerry Scheff was a session musician as were the majority on my list. Those guys in Memphis and Detroit had the feel. I’ve not bought the Face since that copy with Jerry Dammers on the cover and I’m sure their favourite Bass players would have been mates of Paul Weller and Spandex Ballet. I can be a tool and loved that you called me a fucking idiot at the end of your message. Circular

  42. Ignore em John! It’s your list… Mine would have had Mike Dirnt in it like, but good addition with Flea :)

  43. it will be cool to see a list of great female bass-players, I’ve seen just one, not very relevant ;)

    • send one to us please…

    • I mentioned Carol Kaye in my earlier post, she was a housewive, from the days when housewive was a word in common usage, who played on some of the greatest pop records ever. Even if you’ve not heard of her, you’ve heard her. She did loads of sessions at Gold Star studios in LA. Beach Boys, Monkees and Phil Spector hits have her combining with the brilliant Hal Blaine on drums. She also played on later Motown hits when they, shamefully, moved out of Detroit and started making records on the West Coast. She also worked with Zappa, Elvis and played on Love’s Forever Changes.

      Tina Weymouth had the funk, in Tom Tom Club as well as Talking Heads.

      Locally Gemma Evans with The Answering Machine could hold her own with the best of them.

  44. Did Sid actually play bass on anything?

  45. It’d have been great to see Darren Moran on there, he’s done some really brilliant work with Gabrielles Wish, the fuzzy upfront sound from the ‘manchester records’ period, through to the stuff he played on ‘Portal’ and ‘Reformer’. Sadly, with Gabrielles Wish being still somewhat of a small cult band, many people who would probably love the material simply havent heard it.

  46. I love the arguments over the best at this and the best at that. any musician (yes i include drummers in that statement!!!) are truly at their best when their serve the song. You can usually tell the greats cause you can’t imagine a song without their input. Paul Simonon might be in the top 10 but I can’t imagine some of the greatest clash songs without his input. The Ramones were a lesser band without Dee Dee. Mowtown songs with Jameson missing are screamingly obvious. Sometimes it’s just a sound thing. Guns N Roses are basically seen as the Axl/Slash show but Duff’s slightly chorused basslines cut through and hold everything together, locking in with Adler whilst providing melodies and counter melodies to vocals and guitar. My fave guitarists are not the ‘best’ guitarists but they are the ones that speak to me. Bassists are the same!! My advice would be to listen without prejudice. take what’s on this list and really listen to the song!!!!

    • Great comment.
      I think it’s weird when people tell you that you have to have certain names in the list even if you prefer other people’s work. Some people must pretend to like things o that they seem to be ‘cool’ . Sad really.

      • Thanks. I think the good thing about this is that we can have a debate about nothing but pure unadulterated talent and it’s something everyone who has commented feels passionate about. Awesome, Thanks John!!

  47. Keith G. Byrne

    Graham Maby {Joe Jackson Band}

    Danny Thompson {John Martyn,Talk Talk etc.}

    The Bass Thing {The Wonderstuff}

    Ali McMordie {SLF}

    Andy Rourke

  48. Keith G. Byrne

    Jerry Scheff {The Doors,Elvis,Elvis Costello}

  49. Teaspoonriverneck

    No Gene Simmons!?! Shocking.

  50. Teaspoonriverneck

    Seriously though, no Mike Watt?

  51. Derek Forbes……………………bass legend !x

  52. great list but John Entwistle was the best ever , kept the beat for the band as well so moon could play how he did …..

  53. Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper)
    Overend Watts (Mott The Hoople)

    Both great players whose influence on punk is not hard to spot in the styles of Glen Matlock, Paul Simonon, Steve Severin, Tessa Pollitt and several others. I loved Overend’s bass harmonies, evident from “Half Moon Bay” right through to All the Young Dudes,” Honaloochie Boogie and “Crash Street Kidds.” Hear “The Journey” from “Brain Capers” to hear him at his best. Fantastic, symphonic depth and grandeur to his lines. You noticed them, as much as his onstage glamour and menace.

    Dennis Dunaway had similar chops…”You Drive Me Nervous,” “Elected” “Gutter Cat” “Dead Babies”…

    Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) was another…

    What about Arthur Kane? That amazing bassline on “Jet Boy” after the guitar break…he didn’t just wear Overend’s old platforms…

  54. clarissespader

    no Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins)? His sound was so unique.

  55. Djunfitforwork

    James Jameson -the bassist on most of the Motown hits -is in a different league to most of these guys John. And JJ Burnel had an utterly nauseating tone. Paul Simenon tried his best but was strictly “Vauxhall Conference”-so why he gets shout outs is beyond me.

    • The tone in JJ Burnel’s bass is the most perfect bass sound! still sounds amazing to this day.
      I’m sure james Jameson is a great player but so is Geddy Lee

  56. Without John Entwistle at the top of this list is like having a “Greatest Basketball Players of All Time” list without Michael Jordan at #1.

  57. The omission of a single Motown bass player is, frankly, ridiculous. Most of these guys aren\’t fit to string James Jamerson’s bass.

  58. You ought to check out J.E. Singleton of new punk rock band Jolly Rotten. Saw these guys this last weekend and he laid down some awesome bass lines with blistering precision.

  59. Roger Waters didn't make the list?

  60. This list is horrible. As a bassist, it really doesn’t work for me. I suppose you should listen to more music styles and get in touch with Jazz Fusion and also Prog Metal, you’ll see how your list is below expectations. Some names: Jaco Pastorius; Stanley Clarke; Victor Wooten; Marcus Miller; Miroslav Vitous; Celso Pixinga
    Billy Sheehan; John Myung; Randy Coven; Les Claypool; Felipe Andreoli, Markus Grasshoff

    Just to notice, I am not sayng that these ones I indicated should be on a Top-15 list of best bass-players ever, I am just telling you that you should grow your horizon in order to do such list, most of the guys above are much better bass playersm, making much better music, and also with a more awesome bass tone and features!

  61. Oh come on! this list is so white boy! apart from bootsy collins where is the groove?

    What about bernard edwards?, robbie shakespeare? even white players that played with groove, guys like Paul Denman, and Ian Dury’s norman watt-roy. It also totally ignores any great players from ‘pop’ bands. and more avante garde player like mick karn who would wipe the floor with legs akimbo leather pant wearing types like Peter Hook. All personal I suppose but f*ck me, to omit the likes of Karn and derek forbes for the dum dum dum style of mani reminds me of when they do top 100 albums and robbie williams makes number 5 cos he is current!

  62. Norwood Fisher…Fishbone… Most under appreciated bassist going. He’s amazing. Off the chain goodness…bass sex.

  63. JJ Burnel and Jah Wobble are great players, Honourable mention for Colin Hodgkinson.

  64. Great to see Tracey Pew get mentioned, his bass playing with the Birthday Party was fantastic. I would also add Eric Avery- Janes Addiction to the list. Avery created an amazing atmosphere with his basslines which was the driving force of their classic songs.

    • I agree with the Unlucky Fried Kitten post because Norman Watt-Roy of Ian Dury and the Blocheads fame was so influential and played bass on the main FGTH singles…which were totally bass-driven.
      I am also surprised that Bill Wyman and John Entwistle are omitted. I know it’s difficult to make a thorough list….but there you have it.

      • Well Norman Watt Roy is a great choice and already said earlier by a few people and ‘unlucky fried kitten’ predictably said it because they even made a tribute song for ‘ian dury’ when he died which was mistaken for ID himself on London Radio by Robert Elms. I like the Bill Wyman suggestion too…love the bass on things like ‘have you seen your mother baby’ End of the day though it’s a personal choice of the writer so why are people picking holes in what is an obvious personal choice. The good thing anyway is that it has got a whole plethora of people talking about bass-playing in general and I have found this whole article extremely entertaining…and have checked out some of the bands because of it. Thanks to John for the thoughts too

  65. Sorry Robbo dont want to upset the boss but have to comment that being a Clash fanatic Paul Simenon HAS to be in any list but also Motorheads Lemmy has to be there surely dude the only guy who plays a bass like a fucking rythmn guitar has to be there too surely

    • ps now ive read the other comments obviously James Jamerson is a legend but Cocteau Twins bassist Simone Raymonde is a good shout too but then again of that era so too would Xmal Duetchlands Rita Simon be a decent addition but like all these lists its a matter of personal opinion and if you have one then compile your own im sure Robbo wouldnt mind

    • ummmm….Lemmy WAS mentioned in the Top 15

  66. No Norman Watt-Roy here either

  67. For me I’d add Bruce Thomas from Elvis Costello’s best band, Sir Norman Watt-Roy from the Blockheads, Tim Gane’s Basslines written for Stereolab, Carol Kaye and Danny Thompson

  68. J.J Burnell, Jah Wobble, Peter Hook, Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett & Bruce Foxton – were the bassists that made me want to play the instrument. So like many others would have to admit that J.J Burnell was the most influential of his generation in the UK. For me music is about Vibe, and there are many virtuoso musos who make vibeless music. Dee Dee Ramone could hardley be accused of technical brilliance but vibed as fuck!

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  76. I’d have put Mani in the top 15. I’d also include Paul McCartney and Simon Jones from The Verve.

  77. no cliff burton or alex webster hmmmm

  78. I personally would have loved to have seen Tina Weymouth, Paul Ryder, or Colin Greenwood in there but there’s no denying quality of those includes. Really nice to see different people in there not usually included in these type of lists. Stellar!

  79. John, what, no Nikki Sixx? Ha, just kidding (onlyhalf)…..only one other mention above for Andy Rourke. Girl Afraid’s bass line sticks in my head every time I hear it…..

  80. Brian Richie should share the #1 with JJ Burnel!

  81. Martin Robinson

    Can’t believe nobody has mentioned Mick Karn

    I’d def have Bernard Edwards on my list. I reckon Bruce Foxton was very influential.
    Burnel was the king though.

  82. Rob Wright of NOMEANSNO should’ve been high on that list along with Mike Watt of MINUTEMEN…2 of best punk bass players who wipe the floor of many of the above!

  83. Got to be Paul Gray for his work on Life on the Line with Eddie & the Hot Rods and The Black Album with the Damned.

  84. I agree Paul Simenon should have been in there somewhere, but it’s a decent list. My top 3 would be Morgan Nicholls (Senseless Things), Kim Deal and Bob Weston. I can’t count beyond 3, though. It makes my brain hurt.

  85. Cliff Burton, Geezer Butler, Les Claypool, Flea, Nikki Sixx (don’t hate because he uses a pic), Dee Dee Ramone, Lemmy Kilmister

  86. Trevor Bolder Bowies bassist on his top albums, Hunky dory, Ziggy stardust,+Alladdin sane, & later with Uriah heep, had an excellent,unique melodic style ,yet still rocked, a big influence on the later punk bands, , should be on any list , R.I.P. Trevor.

  87. I’m also amazed about how Mick Karn is so easily forgotten!

    Most are the above are great players though especially Pastorius, Claypool, Weber…

  88. Great list! i agree with many, i would put Rob Wright, Mike Watt, and Matt Freeman

    I want to thank Jhon Robb and everyone who comment on this post for letting me know so much bassists i didnt know. Hey im getting interest about Dub bassists, can you please tell me some Dub bassists you recommend? Considering i mainly listen to punk rock

  89. I think this list stacks up well. Have to agree that Stuart Morrow is worthy of inclusion and a bit leftfield but worthy of mention for pure inventiveness would be Patch of Can Can Rouge and Mick Karn of Japan.

  90. For loud and melodic bass: Derek Forbes, Graham Maby, Bruce Thomas, Tony Butler, Steven Severin.

  91. Mark Townsend

    MIKE FUCKING WATT!!
    And Batcow!

  92. Marc Tidswell

    That one out of Evil Blizzard!

  93. danyal deesouzzers

    Mike Watt? What?

  94. Really enjoyed that…can’t argue with JJ at the top. My two bob’s worth…. Barry Adamson…

  95. Debbie Googe, purely for the bassline from feed me with your kiss

  96. Jack Bruce (Jefferson
    Airplane, Hot Tuna…) Charlie Haden (Ornette…)

  97. Paul Gray? Ex Eddie and the Hot Rods, The Damned and UFO. The Damned’s Black Album wouldn’t have been what it was without Paul’s bass work.
    Check out paulgraybass on Youtube to see Paul laying down some of those old Damned bass lines from the comfort of his own living room :)

    • …not to be confused with the bassist of the same name that was with Slipknot!

      Also have to agree with the comments about Entwistle and would also recommend checking him out on youtube, there’s some monster solos from the man.

  98. Rob Wright from NoMeansNo.

  99. JJ Burnel number 1 top shout he was brilliant in the 70s and he’s 100 times better now

  100. Rob Wright from Nomeansno – ‘Wrong’ album.
    David Wm Sims from The Jesus Lizard – ‘Goat’ album. Few can come close to those guys. Aggressive yet controlled, inventive, LOUD, pants on.

  101. Jonny Picklechin

    Stuart Morrow, Pino Paladino, Richard Searle, Stuart Zander, Graham Gouldman

  102. tony maimone – pere ubu

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