Coming from Chicago, IL, I am a lifelong jazz enthusiast who has been collecting and writing about jazz records for several years.
10 Legends Who Put the "Bump in the Rump"
Bass players—they are the back line. They put the “low” in the low-end. They lock in with the drummer to pave a solid foundation for the guitarist and singer to wail all over the top of.
But somewhere along the line, those “not seen and not often heard” bass players decided enough is and enough. "We want some of the attention too" was the battle cry. Taking matters, along with those four big ‘ole strings, into their own hands, bass players boogied out of the shadows and into the spotlights. Just like that, another lead instrument was born: the bass guitar.
This is a list of 10 of those pioneers, 10 of the most important bass players of all-time. Players who carved enough space out of the music they played on to finally get some of that much-deserved attention. These players are all masters of the four-string (or five-, six- or seven-string) and all helped define they way that bass players are viewed as integral parts of the band unit these days.
For this list, I narrowed my scope to focus on bass players mostly associated with the R&B, Funk, Jazz and Soul worlds. Virtuosos like John Entwistle (The Who), Chris Squire (Yes), Geddy Lee (Rush), Les Claypool (Primus) and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), icons from the rock-n-roll genre, would certainly have to occupy space on this list had it been broader in scope.
But for now, let’s look at the top 10 bass players who put the bump in the rump. Those that made us get out on the floor and shake what we got. Those that played on some of the most legendary hits to ever grace a radio dial. Incidentally, this list is arranged in alphabetical order, not by numerical ranking.
10 Best Bass Players of All Time
- Aston “Family Man” Barrett
- Stanley Clarke
- Donald "Duck" Dunn
- Bootsy Collins
- Larry Graham
- James Jamerson
- Jaco Pastorius
- Jerry “Fingers” Jemmott
- Marcus Miller
- George Porter, Jr.
Aston “Family Man” Barrett
The Rastafarian Jamaican sensation.
Along with brother Carlton “Carlie” Barrett on drums, Family Man was the rock-steady and ever-ready rhythm section for Bob Marley and The Wailers, along with Lee “Scratch” Perry’s original Upsetters. Family Man helped forge the template for reggae with his booming, thunderous bass patterns and ever-so-tight turns.
But more than just a bass player, Family Man also played a large part in arranging Marley’s songs and co-produced a number of the late icon’s albums. Family Man’s weaving bass patterns are very much a part of the new wave of dancehall reggae that had found its way onto the charts as of late.
Check out: “So Much Things to Say” from Bob Marley’s Exodus album, released in 1977.
A ground-breaking member of the jazz fusion club.
The Philadelphia-born Clarke was at the epicenter of a new movement in the early 1970s, when the worlds of jazz and rock began to collide. Along with Chick Corea (keyboards), Al DiMeola (guitar) and Lenny White (drums), Clarke helped popularize a new form of music—jazz played in a rock style, or rock played in a jazz style—called fusion, in the group Return to Forever.
Also a noted composer, Clarke cast a spell on bass players worldwide with the way he played his Alembic electric basses in an almost upright kind of style. Not limited to just the fusion world, Clarke has also added his touch to recordings by old-school jazz masters like Dexter Gordon, Horace Silver and Art Blakey.
Check out: “School Days” the title track on Clarke’s 1976 solo release.
Donald “Duck” Dunn
The backbone of Memphis soul.
In the late 1960s some of the most soulful music on the face of this earth was being produced in a little studio in Memphis, Tenn. Right at the center of all those soon to be classic tunes appearing on the Stax record label was Donald “Duck” Dunn.
Dunn’s solid bass playing—jumping when needed, laid back when required and always with just the right feel—can be heard on everything from Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign,” to Otis Redding’s “Respect” to Sam & Dave’s “Hold on, I’m Coming.”
Born right in Memphis, Dunn’s rise to bass-playing prominence began in ernest in 1965 when he joined what was soon to become Stax records’ primary backing band—Booker T. & The M.G.’s.
That group had a ton of funky instrumentals themselves and wove soul, blues and jazz numbers into a groovy, almost psychedelic-looking tapestry.
Check out: “Last Night” from The Mar-Key’s 1961 album, The Last Night!
The outrageous, larger-than-life cartoon character.
Look past all the science fiction trappings, ignore all the garish costumes and forget about the humorous lyrics that dominate a large chunk of his solo work. Because deep inside the being of William “Bootsy” Collins lies the heart of possibly the funkiest man on Planet Earth. And a Rock-N-Roll Hall of Famer, to boot.
After finding James Brown too demanding of a taskmaster to suit his own tastes, the Cincinnati-born Bootsy left JB’s band in the early 1970s and climbed on board another funky vessel—one piloted by the genius of George Clinton. As a member of Parliament-Funkadelic, Bootsy helped breathe life into some of the most driving, pumping, get-out-and-party songs of all time. Songs that have long since become a wellspring for today’s generation of rappers to slice, dice and sample from.
Check out: “Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples” on Parliament’s Mothership Connection album, released in 1976.
The father of the slap-and-pop.
Larry Graham may be responsible for teaching more suburban Americans how to dance than anyone else.
Playing in his mother’s group during his formative years, Graham found himself one man short of a rhythm section—the group had no drummer.
But instead of letting that sink the ship, Graham simply invented a new technique. He discovered that slapping the strings of his bass with his thumb made a kind of “bass drum” sound while popping the strings with his middle fingers made kind of a “snare drum” sound. And thus the slap-and-pop—and a whole new kind of dance groove - was born.
Graham found a suitable home for this revolutionary sound in the middle of psychedelic San Francisco’s leading soul band of the times, Sly & The Family Stone.
Check out: “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” from Sly & The Family Stone’s Greatest Hits, issued in 1970.
The original Funk Brother.
For a long time, James Jamerson was criminally deprived of the credit he deserved.
As a member of the ace session staff at Motown Records, Jamerson played bass on 30 tunes that went straight to number one on the pop charts. That’s stuff that not even The Beatles can lay claim to. But until the early 1970s, studio musicians at Hitsville USA went un-credited, leaving Jamerson and his fellow Funk Brothers, “standing in the shadows.”
But thankfully all that has changed and the late Jamerson is now a member of the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame and is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of electric bass guitar.
Using a syncopated style that was anything but bass-by-the-numbers, the South Carolina native played on hundreds of releases from now-legendary performers like The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Temptations and a score more.
Check out: “I Can’t Get Next to You” from The Temptations’ 1969 release, Puzzle People.
The world’s greatest bass player.
That’s the way that Jaco Pastorius introduced himself to future Weather Report band member Joe Zainwul.
That’s also the plain, unvarnished truth.
Jaco was the baddest of the bad. And he influenced all that came after him.
His story is the stuff of legends and is both uplifting and gut-wrenching at the same time.
Suffering from a lethal combination of mental illness and substance abuse, Jaco left this earth way too soon, beaten to death by a bouncer in front of a Florida nightclub at age 35.
As a member of the stellar fusion group Weather Report, Jaco took electric bass playing to a level it had never been. His use of harmonics and vibrato created a whole new style of bass playing. His solos could move from intricate, whisper-soft to louder-that-thunder, all within a couple of flicks of the wrist.
Check out: “Donna Lee” from Jaco’s self-titled debut, released in 1976.
Jerry “Fingers” Jemmott
A session player’s session player, Fingers was maybe THE first-call studio bassist during the late 1960s and on into the 1970s.
Able to change styles like a chameleon on demand, Fingers worked with some of Atlantic Records’ biggest stars during the day, including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Wilson Pickett.
In the jazz realm, he nimbly backed up Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, and George Benson.
The blues were richer thanks to Fingers’ appearances on cuts by the likes of Duane Allman, Otis Rush, and Freddie King. One of the most famous and beloved songs in the history of the blues is B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone, ” and that’s Fingers on bass, steering and driving the King to Nirvana.
The Bronx-born Fingers is also the author of four books and numerous instructional DVDs on the art of laying down the ultimate groove.
Check out: “Why I Sing the Blues” off B.B. King’s Live & Well from 1969.
The Grammy-winning, multi-instrumentalist. Brooklyn’s Marcus Miller is almost as renowned for his touch as a producer as he is for his touch on the five-string Fender bass.
As a producer, Miller has been responsible for helping to bring the work of superstars like Bob James, Chaka Khan, Wayne Shorter, David Sanborn and Miles Davis to life, earning him several Grammys for his efforts.
Miller is also a composer and when he was a member of miles Davis group in the late 1980s, penned the incredible “Tutu” for the famed trumpeter.
Clearly skilled at anything he picks up, Miller is classically trained as a clarinetist and also plays guitar, saxophone, and keyboards.
But it’s on the bass guitar that Miller causes fellow musicians to sit up and take notice. Building on Larry Graham’s pop-and-slap method, Miller has added an aggressive, powerful attack that gives his sound a plastic kind of resiliency, jumping around like a metallic rubber band. Tuneful but tough.
Check out: “Power” from Miller’s 2001 release, M2.
George Porter, Jr.
Spreading Crescent City funk all across the globe.
George Porter, Jr. is much more than just one of the founding fathers of funk.
He is also one of the truly great ambassadors of the city of New Orleans, the city he was born in.
As a member of The Meters, a group that came together in the mid-1960s, Porter helped take a base of soul, jazz, blues and Caribbean rhythms and melt them into a juicy gumbo known as funk. It was music that just made you move. And the key ingredient in that spicy dish was Porter’s long, looping, greasy bass guitar.
More than just keep the beat going, Porter helped make it OK for the bass to take over the reins and head down new trails. This helped sprout the seeds for a future generation of jam bands.
And it also made you want to get on the dance floor as soon as possible.
Check out: “Look-Ka Py Py” from The Meters’ 1970 release of the same name.
Chuckie Cobbs on October 21, 2019:
Tha badest bassist ever pick up a bass is Epaz Spalding that girl is the bomb hands down.
Arthur Davis on October 19, 2019:
James Jameson best bass player ever...Louis Johnson was a much better bass player than some on list...and could slap and pop with the best of them...why didn't music man dedicate a sting ray bass to honor Louis Johnson....
Chris Moyers on June 29, 2019:
Where is Chris Squire?You idiot!!!
Rico on June 19, 2019:
Geddy lee, gezzer butler, flea?????
Iron Maiden 666 on June 06, 2019:
Where does Steve Harris and Dave Ellefson fall in your greatest? And there’s Geddy, Lemmy?!?!
Brian Morrissey on June 04, 2019:
So many bassist that are faster slap faster but its how you do at that moment in the studio Victor Wooten doesnt show me anything but a guy like Verdene White or Bernard Edwards those two should have made the list even a guy named Scott Spray..
Stinky pinky on February 20, 2019:
Bass All Day on January 30, 2019:
Anthony Jackson Verden White Robert Wilson Victor Wooten Andrew Goche That List not Righrt
MichaelBowman25 on May 27, 2015:
Did a child put this list together? Where is Louis Johnson, Mark Adams, Bernard Edwards? JEEZ!!!!
stu on March 06, 2015:
Being crazy technical is impressive, but its nothing without groove. Therefore, Bernard Edwards has to be I be in there? Hands down one of the greatest.
Brian Flood on February 06, 2015:
There were a few different bassists on Paul Simon's Graceland, but I find that album to be truly one of the best and most overlooked bass-centric records I've ever heard. (Most will agree it's just a timeless pop record to begin with.)
The bass playing on that album is so rich, melodic, textured and imaginative. And to the producers' credit, there's such a different approach to the bass tone and the role is plays in the compositions and the mixes.
Some of those basslines are timeless gifts to the world of bass playing.
Michael Harris on August 30, 2014:
Badass Jazz Fusion Bassist
Played on I remember Jaco.
With Steps Ahead
Remays on March 11, 2014:
Because he is amazingly talented in so many areas, people overlook who is actually the best bass player to ever live. Paul McCartney is the best bass player ever. Melodic, smooth, original, perfection.
Steve on February 21, 2014:
The killing of Jaco that night robbed all of us from ever hearing the greatest bass player again create a sound that players today only wish they could produce. Jaco was fighting his own demons,not a bouncer,the night he died. For those of you who never saw Jaco play live, I can say to you, his
ability to give the world a sound, style and technique has never been matched. Jaco and I are from the same town and our paths crossed many times. What a loss for our musical world. Check out his work. It speaks for it self.
rhs on January 09, 2014:
Great list but Ray Brown and Victor Wooten should also be included.
Clint on June 23, 2013:
Victor Wooten is the best
gerrysmomma on March 12, 2013:
MassielFrusciante You, your name and your taste is a joke.
seamless on September 19, 2012:
Tyler Stafford on July 20, 2012:
This list has absolutely no credibility without the god of 'lead Bass Playing' cliff burton
Tyler on July 01, 2012:
This list lost all credibility due the to the fact it lacks Steve Harris and Cliff Burton.
fenderman on May 27, 2012:
i seen metallica open for ozzy in 85 and cliff burton was the one that got me into playing bass. but on album he should not be on a top ten list, probably not a top 100 list. he is an awesome bassist, but not one of the greatest. not when you listen to bassist like jaco, victor wooten, billy sheehan, marcus miller, i could go on and on. cliff burton will always be my favorite, but not one of the greatest.
Etienne on May 18, 2012:
I have learned over the years not to compare the talents but to appreciate the talents that each person has been blessed with. This list could go on on and on...e.g. Mark Adams (Slave); Leon Silvers (Solar Records);Bernard Edwards (Chic); Buddy Hankerson (Aurra); Louis Johnson (Brothers Johnson) etc...
slappy on May 12, 2012:
OK....we are talking "of all time".......There are several peeps I think were omitted here. I am talkng about talent not record sales or any other "outside" influence rate scale. I realize everyone has their favorites. But lets not forget Bob Glaub. Now go look it up. Something to think about.
MassielFrusciante on May 03, 2012:
Gerrysmomma i don't Give a Sh*t if you are a ''PRO'' Flea is an AMAZING bass player i don't know in What WORLD you live in but Flea is amazing... tough ILOVE Jaco (and By the way im not just sying this about Flea Cuz im a Peppers FAN) but he should totally be on the list And Cliff :) Thankyou
Ardent Muse on April 29, 2012:
MARK KING of LEVEL 42 HANDS DOWN!
Rhada on March 28, 2012:
Well, if you include Paul McCartney, then you definitely can't forget Tim Foreman!
D on March 26, 2012:
Very surprised not one mention of Chuck Rainey
link logan on March 20, 2012:
so many great Bassist and various styles that it's very difficult to pin point just one.so many wonderful teachers,mental and physical,my humble opinion lets keep practicing and study them all.
fenderman on March 01, 2012:
All mentioned are and were great players, but also don't forget Geddy Lee
woodymd1963 on February 18, 2012:
steve harris of iron maiden not only a great bass player but a dam good son writer to boot
Faye on February 12, 2012:
What about bass player Daryl Johnson ...played with the Neville brothers for years ...black dub
Mike J on February 07, 2012:
Really.... No Victor Wooten OR Les Claypool.... For shame...
chandanjyoti hazarika, assam on January 24, 2012:
where is victor wooten..!!??
Jim Enriquez on January 09, 2012:
There is an up and coming young player you should have a listen to. His name is Henrik and he plays with a group in Sweden called Dirty Loops. Please enjoy his solo in this 100% improved version of Baby by Justin Bieber.
bubba on January 07, 2012:
how about Paul Chambers and Jimmy Garrison
mike on December 15, 2011:
sid vicious????------ :p
farhad on December 05, 2011:
CLIFF BURTON is greatest.
rhundrgod70 on November 27, 2011:
I love your list! Very concise and imformative. Especially concerning the session guys I may not have otherwise focused my attention to. It will hopefully learn some new insight for my playing. I can't believe all the attitudes of the rock/metal guys. I understand when I was a14 yr old, I shared the same passion for Cliff B, Steve H, Geddy L, Billy S, etc.. so I spent 8 or more hours a day learning to emulate their styles. In the 80's GEEEEZZ! My current influences focus on one of the most crucial elements for great bassline composition and song structure' ...timing. I really like the simple grooves from Rick Showalter of Liquid Soul. Jamiriquai has an excellent guy too. I
Roscoe on October 07, 2011:
You all mentioned some great bassists. I appreciate all genres of music. And all have contributed greatly with their own distinct style. That's what keeps us interested in this great thing called music. It's creative not competive. So enjoy it all.
peter parker on October 01, 2011:
'The world’s greatest bass player.
That’s the way that Jaco Pastorius introduced himself to future Weather Report band member Joe Zainwul.'
you mean 'ZAWINUL'
Rev. Bobby Jones on September 17, 2011:
Louis Johnson is the best Bass player entertainer of all time! Bill Dickens ,Armand Sabal-Lecco, Freddie Washington, James Williams of "Mcfadden and Whitehead"
Reg Gage on September 15, 2011:
The greatest Jazz Bass Player that I have had the opportunity to have experienced was the late great Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen. On double bass, he was as fast, articulate and in tune as any electric guitar bass player I have ever heard.
J on August 29, 2011:
Louis Johnson, Leland Sklar are omitted, as is Motown's Bob Babbitt.
Do the list again.
HankB44 on August 26, 2011:
I'm very disappointed that my main man, Louis "Thunder Thumbs" Johnson, of the famed duo, "Brothers Johnson", is not on the list.
Heck, his solo performance on the hit song, "Stomp", is all you need to hear to include him.
Also, check out the song, "Q", off of the CD with Strawberry Letter 23 on it.
gerrysmomma on August 24, 2011:
I am sorry, I am a pro musician and "flea" is noteven worthy of a mention unless you are 12 years old. One dimensional players are not impressive
david engram on August 21, 2011:
marcus miller and derrick dock murdock should be at the tippy top of any list
Ward Troetschel on August 17, 2011:
Tyler Nicholas of WHITE LIGHTS
robin on August 16, 2011:
timi on July 24, 2011:
richard bona is the best for me, and he is african.
jj on June 30, 2011:
CLIFF LEE BURTON should be number 1 !!!
McCoy on April 26, 2011:
I'm sorry but Flea is defiantly one of the greatest and undoubtedly the most influential bass player of all time besides sir. Paul McCartney and Geddy lee.
shiek salami on April 22, 2011:
Victor Wooten might also deserve a mention for sheer virtuosity. If I dare expand into classical, Rodion Astarkhin should definitely be on the list for being a powerful bass soloist when bass was still considered to be strictly an accompaniment. Personally, I would also list Mick Karn in my Top 10 for his sound and originality.
shiek salami on April 22, 2011:
Renaud Garcia-Fons. If you haven't heard him - look him up
62 Fender P on April 13, 2011:
James Jamerson should be Number 1
sargent hulka on March 30, 2011:
The best bass player of all time is Paul McCartney. Period. Even if you don't know shit about music, when you put McCartney 1st, it validates the rest of your list. He is the best ever.
zeeter on March 24, 2011:
I'm always amused when people make up lists that exclude the obvious best in the particular category in favor of a bunch of semi-obscure people who most people never heard of. It's quite simple. John Entwistle was the greatest bass player of all time. While some best of lists are subjective depending on the listener's tastes, Entwistle is at #1 even by the most objective measurements. For him to not even make the top ten pretty much makes this list irrelevant and a joke. The man shaped bass playing for 40 years and his legacy is still influencing players today. Sometimes the obvious choice is obvious because it's the right choice.
Peter Wallace on February 28, 2011:
I'm a scouser so officially I should say Macca, but I'm listening to Chilli Peppers right now, though my mate says Jack Bruce?? Bye the Way I think I'm right
doc on February 24, 2011:
Quit bitchin' about "Senor X" not being on the list!
I think illminatus gets it right.
Every single one of these guys are influential.
Sure, personal taste is involved. So what?
Write your own list.
Some people just can't go beyond metal.
Go listen to what these masters are all about.
Oh, and about "one of the first bass players using distortions and effects."
Jaco said "Been there, Done that".
jbyrd on February 17, 2011:
Very good list & great info. But I must say that Bernard Edwards & Flea should have been somewhere on the list. Thanks for the time you took to compile this list with info!
hamdyns on January 30, 2011:
PAUL McCartney is the best for me
jayjem on January 28, 2011:
I appreciate your appreciation of me as as one of the 10 greatest bass players of all time. In 1958 I just wanted to be one of the best but it was the stuff that they were turning out in the early sixties that fueled my fire. Great site great writing.
Josh on January 17, 2011:
WHERE IS CLIFF BRUTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rob on January 15, 2011:
Lol..I don't care what order you put other guys in..Larry Graham and Bootsy Collins and 1 and 2
josh on January 07, 2011:
How can you make a top 10 bass player list without Les Claypool? The Man is a beast.
Dave on January 04, 2011:
A few others for consideration, Victor Wooten, John Pattituci, Abe Laboriel and Brian Bromberg.
Harry on December 30, 2010:
There are a bunch of "top 5 players". All I read on here is....what about such and such..? Everybody has their favorite, depends on if you like jazz, rock, metal, fussion, etc. Actually, as for who is the most technical and clean, there are several. But it all depends on your favorite type of music... !!! Dumbass's :)
Norm on December 24, 2010:
In my top ten would be Norman Watt-Roy, Gerry McAvoy, Carl Radle, and (seriously) Paul McCartney.
wasim on December 21, 2010:
efffwegfwe on November 22, 2010:
where is Tom Jenkinson?
Bassmastwer on November 19, 2010:
Cliff Burton should be on the list,he was the most influencial bassist in metal and he was one of the first to use distortion.
Seriously,listen to anesthesia pulling teeth and tell me taht it is not a bass solo,he was the one and only lead bassist,i dont care what you say he was a great innavoator and composer.
SHEYI KEHNNY on November 06, 2010:
HOW COME ABRAHAM LABOREAL IS NOT AMONG THE TOP 10 OF ALL TIME. VERY RIDICULOUS.
Peter Fitzwell on October 19, 2010:
Why the hell is Matt Freeman from Rancid not mentioned on any "best bass player" top 100. That guy is friggin amazing!
armstron on October 07, 2010:
Miller on October 05, 2010:
Where is Steve Harris? Up The Irons....
tony ray james on September 14, 2010:
Overall I think you did a good job, every bodies list will be different. I would have had Joe Osborn & Carol Kaye on my list. 10 is not enough :-D maybe 50 / 5 groups of 10
1) R&B 2) JAZZ/FUSION 3)FUNK 4)ROCK/METAL 5)STUDIO GET STARTED LOL !!!!
Ravi Barnes on September 11, 2010:
Jaco on bass is what Chick Corea is to piano, Al Di is to guitar and Jean Luc Ponti is to electric violin. These players have transcended the unimaginable.
Ryan K on August 11, 2010:
I agree with that Anthoney guy Steve Harris IS THE BEST!!!
Jim on August 11, 2010:
I know that guy how posted in front of me thats not his name is Anthoney Mattson
Neil Salo on August 11, 2010:
Man wheres Steve Harris on that list he has to be the best bass player of all time look him up he is the bass player of the band Iron Maiden
tony0724 from san diego calif on August 09, 2010:
Stanley Clarke is fantastic ! I saw him a long time ago play with Chick Corea and Al Di Meola on guitar. What a jam ! And Bootsy is a classic too. I would like to add one no one gives much thought too. Listen to the bass playing of Bruce Thomas who was part of the Attractions , Elvis Costellos backing band back in his early days. The guy is phenomenal ! And Flea from the red hot chili peppers is pretty respectable too.
johnshade from Pandora on August 09, 2010:
WHERE IN GOD'S NAME IS CLIFF BURTON? Best is measured my influence and creativity. Cliff one of the first bass players to utilize effects and distorition and take lead in Metal.
He got a one hell of a legacy and fan bass
epigramman on August 09, 2010:
...well one thing we do know .... this is the greatest hub of all time on the greatest bass players of all time - and Dave Holland who played with Miles????
..and Danny Thompson .....
erick williams on August 07, 2010:
i know that verdein white from e.w.&f should be on the list
dave on July 09, 2010:
Victor Wooten...awesome bassist, should be on the list.
roy on July 02, 2010:
did u ever heard of victor wooten he is the world number one bassist awesome
the national on June 30, 2010:
Paul McCartney is the greatest bass player of all times!
Tony on June 13, 2010:
Since Paul McCartney actually composes melodic, well-structured bass lines which subtly complement his work (not to mention the fact he's white), he has no place on this so-called "list."
Me on May 07, 2010:
Paul McCartney and Geddy Lee should be on there
ericsomething on May 06, 2010:
Good choices, especially Jaco. Now if you want to add upright bass, let's not forget folks like Charles Mingus and Oscar Pettiford. Aww, gee, I think I opened another can o'worms. Great Hub, though.
Damann on April 09, 2010:
nathan East belongs on this list...
Jomark on April 07, 2010:
I think Sir Paul McCartney is the greatest bass player on planet. Because on his experience with the beatles Paul McCartney is totally genius on bass and composing of the song.
chillbnyc on April 06, 2010:
you must include bernard Edwards of chic he was one of the great bass players and his baseline was infulential for the start of hip hop going main stream the song good times which stared hip hop on main stream radio which the group the sugar hill gang started.
moondive from Modena,Italy on March 23, 2010:
DC on March 18, 2010:
CLIFF BURTON DUUUUUUHHHHHHHH
MsFikou on February 19, 2010:
No Victor Wooten? No Tony Levin? No John Myung? No Billy Sheham?...... man...... too bad -.-"
garyK on February 12, 2010:
some great bass players are not part of the band ensemble .. which is a highly important part of the skill. I'll add Andy Fraser of Free .. for "writing the book" on super funky and groove bass playing in a rock band (Free) .. also wrote a lot of the songs for good measure. And yes, Entwhistle deserves a gong in there.
BigBlackRod on December 04, 2009:
What about Paul S Denman, the bassist for Sade? Bernard Edwards of Chic should have been a given, or does groove count for nothing here? PEACE.
PunchLine on November 10, 2009:
Finally a list that does not include Flea, Les Claypool, Cliff Burton and numerous other very OVERRATED bass players. Good stuff!
elliot.dunn on October 25, 2009:
people have already mentioned victor wooten and les claypool - two of my all time favorites. mike gordon from phish definitely sits in my top ten as well.
Portamenteff from Western Colorado, USA on October 21, 2009:
When you see Steve Harris from Iron Maiden live, you'll have to give him a nod as well. He was playing 64th note lines harmonized with the guitars in perfect rhythm. He held down the bottom end, and yet played "leads" at the same time. Another great one is Robert Trujillo. He played aggressive punk with Suicidal Tendencies, slap-pop funk with infectious grooves an now speed metal with Metallica.
Great hub! People forget without bass, it's just some guys jammin. with bass, it's a band!