Aug 31, 2009

Tommy the Cat

Ok, since we have already posted a Tom Waits featuring Les Claypool, here's a Les Claypool (well, Primus) featuring Tom Waits.

Funny thing: I love Les Claypool bass playing - this particular bassline is extraordinary, out of this world really -, but I was never a big Primus fan. However, there's no way of denying the power of Les Claypool as a bass player. Really groovy, really percussive. And quite complex, too. These are not simple basslines, and require a lot - a LOT - of practice. Yes, Les Claypool is an unbelievable player.

Oh, Tom Waits is the voice of Tommy the Cat, by the way.

Song:Tommy The Cat
Artist / Band: Primus
Album:Sailing the Seas of Cheese
Bass: Les Claypool
Year: 1989

Bass tab (external link)

Aug 28, 2009

Big in Japan

Here's the Tom Waits + Les Claypool entry that I've promised earlier. The opening track for the album Mule Variations has a bass line that, if not as acrobatic as most Les Claypool stuff (especially with his band Primus), it's just as good. Overall, it sounds like Les Claypool and it sounds like Tom Waits. Must be good, then!

Song:Big In Japan
Artist / Band: Tom Waits
Album:Mule Variations
Bass: Les Claypool
Year: 1999

Aug 27, 2009

Boys and Girls

There are some interesting basslines in britpop too, and this song by Blur - one of their biggest hits before Song 2 - has a very good one, very very pop indeed. Alex James was really inspired on this one: only 8 bars repeated over the whole song, but it is fun!

Song:Girls And Boys
Artist / Band: Blur
Bass: Alex James
Year: 1994

Bass tab (external link)

Aug 26, 2009

Maracatu Atômico

It was about time to post something from my own country. This one is called Maracatu Atômico, a song played by Chico Science & Nação Zumbi. The Brazilian band from the state of Pernambuco is one of the most important names of the mangue beat - a music genre combining traditional, folkloric rhythms and international rock and hip-hop styles. This song, originally composed by Jorge Mautner, is a great example of that genre.

Alexandre Dengue's bass line is groovy, funky, and somehow very brazilian!

Song: Maracatu Atômico
Artist / Band: Chico Science & Nação Zumbi
Album: Afrociberdelia
Bass: Alexandre Dengue
Year: 1996

Aug 25, 2009

Save Me

Aimee Mann is not just a great singer/songwriter, bust also an excellent bass player. I first heard her work on the Magnolia soundtrack, and I was impressed by this very smooth and melodic bassline - I was even more impressed when I read on the CD credits that she was the one playing it. The sonority of the bass is another thing to keep an eye (ear?) on. Plus, this is not just a bass line - the song itself is great.

Song: Save Me
Artist / Band: Aimee Mann
Album: Magnolia: Music from the Motion Picture
Bass: Aimee Mann
Year: 1999

Aug 24, 2009

Walking on the Moon

Some would claim it's unfair to post this bassline Sting before paying tribute to some great Reggae bassists that have, undoubtedly, influenced his band. However, I was a bit of a fan of The Police back in the days, and this particular song has one of the first lines I've learned how to play.

I know: This song is from 1979, but I have labelled it 1980s. Can I do that? It was released just a couple of months before the first days of that decade, anyway.

Oh, and I've read somewhere that Sting used a fretless bass on this one (and many others).

Song: Walking On The Moon
Artist / Band: The Police
Album: Reggatta de Blanc
Bass: Sting
Year: 1979

Bass tab (external link)

Aug 21, 2009

Lady Fantasy

I was never a Progressive Rock fan, but I must admit that there are a few songs (and even bands) that I like. A friend introduced me to Camel, and I really enjoyed the bass from this track from their album, Mirage. The best part, for me at least, is the riff that starts around 9:10. 9:10!!!

Song: Lady Fantasy
Artist / Band: Camel
Bass: Doug Ferguson
Year: 1974

Aug 20, 2009


Tom Sawyer would have been the obvious choice, but I've chosen the less-known Animate to showcase one of the most highly regarded and influential bassists around: Geddy Lee. Although I am not much of a Rush fan (I do enjoy some of their albuns, though), I cannot deny that his basslines and style are very powerful.

Song: Animate (Remastered LP Version)
Artist / Band: Rush
Bass: Geddy Lee
Year: 1993

Bass tab (external link)

Aug 19, 2009

Old Brown Shoe

The second Beatles post here (and that's just the beginning), Old Brown Shoe is a song from The Beatles by George Harrison, and it was released as the B-Side of the single The Ballad of John and Yoko (and later made available in Past Masters Vol. II).

Paul McCartney's talent for obtaining interesting and distinct sounds on bass guitar is, I think, unparalleled in rock music. Just think of Baby You're a Rich Man, for instance. For Old Brown Shoe, according to Beatles Bible, that was achieved by overdubbing it with a guitar. Maybe it helps to reinforce the bass agility (just listen to those triplets!).

Song: Old Brown Shoe
Artist / Band: The Beatles
Album: Past Masters, Vol. 2
Bass: Paul McCartney
Year: 1969

Bass tab (external link)

Aug 18, 2009

Billie Jean

The contagious bassline of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean was played by Louis Johnson - one of the precursors of slap and an incredible bass player all around. I was a fan of the Thriller album when I was a kid, and this is the kind of song that I hear, years later, and think "ooohhh, so it was the bass that did the trick"!

Song: Billie Jean
Artist / Band: Michael Jackson
Album: Michael Jackson 25th Anniversary of Thriller (CD+DVD)
Bass: Louis Johnson
Year: 1983

Bass tab (external link)

Aug 17, 2009

Diamonds on my windshield

This is from The Heart of Saturday Night, the second Tom Waits album I ever bought (the first one was Raindogs and the third, Bone Machine. That's quite a range!). I really, really love his work - and he is my favourite artist, so it's just logical that some of his songs should feature here.

I could post one of his songs featuring Les Claypool - and I probably will one of these days - but I think this one, from his second album, ha a great example of a jazzy walking bass that really drives the song throughout its 3:12 minutes. Played by Jim Jughart.

This was played on a double-bass, and it should be hard to play it on a bass guitar and achieve the same sonority (well, a fretless bass could have a better chance). I wish I had taken double-bass classes (I actually had a couple of lessons, but left the music school for an internship - what a shame).

Song: Diamonds On My Windshield
Artist / Band: Tom Waits
Album:The Heart of Saturday Night
Bass: Jim Jughart
Year: 1974

Bass Tab (external link). Warning: looks like this is the transcription from another version.

Aug 14, 2009

Far From Me

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds is one of my favourite bands. I love their records, I listen to their songs again and again, and I really can't understand how can Martyn P. Casey be so underappreciated. Over the NC&TBS albums, he has created some great basslines. His bass playing is part of the characteristic sound of a band who reinvent themselves over and over, never losing their identity. Likewise, it's easy to recognise Martyn's bass, be it on a murder ballad or in a love song as this one.

A big influence for me, his work might be posted around here very often.

Song: Far From Me
Artist / Band: U2
Album:The Boatman's Call
Bass: Martyn P. Casey
Year: 1997

Aug 13, 2009

New Years Day

This is one of the defining bass sounds of the 1980s, by Adam Clayton. Straight. Simple. Right on the head. And don't you love when people recognise a song by its bass?

Trivia: Adam Clayton came up with this line out of an attempt to play Visage's "Fade to Gray" (source: Wikipedia).

Song: New Year's Day
Artist / Band: U2
Bass: Adam Clayton
Year: 1983

Bass Tab (external link).

Aug 12, 2009

People Let's Stop the War

If you can't find any other reason to care for Grand Funk Railroad, try listening Mel Schacher's lead bass.

Song: People, Let's Stop The War (24-Bit Digitally Remastered 02)
Artist / Band: Grand Funk Railroad
Album:E Pluribus Funk
Bass: Mel Schacher
Year: 1971

Aug 11, 2009


This is probably my favourite Radiohead bassline. It's Colin's one, at least. I love how he leaves lots of room for silence, not trying to fill every beat of the song with a note. I don't know if he had a hard time convincing his band mates to let him play this way - I guess not, and that's lucky for him. You try skipping a few notes, or not follow every bass drum kick while playing with your band to see how they react...

Song: Airbag
Artist / Band: Radiohead
Album:OK Computer
Bass: Colin Greenwood
Year: 1997

Bass tab (external link)

Aug 10, 2009


I don't know why, but it's not very common, for me at least, to listen to Cream on the radio or TV nowadays. I can't actually remember when was the last time I heard a song by them being broadcasted. And they were huge! They were supposedly the first supergroup ever (according to Wikipedia), and have influenced lots of bands and musicians. Yet, you don't get to hear them or watch anything featuring them. Do they sound too dated? I don't know the reason, they are just not played so often as they should.

Anyway, I am glad we can find their songs on the internet, so we can listen to Jack Bruce - one of the greatest - play his classic bassline for Badge.

Song: Badge
Artist / Band: Cream
Album: Gold
Bass: Jack Bruce
Year: 1969

Bass tab (external link)

Aug 7, 2009


Many years ago, a friend introduced me to Muse, a band that he was really into, back then. Although I could never share all of his enthusiasm, I must admit that this bassline from Hysteria really impressed me. Not just because of its speed, but for creating an interesting melody and using distortion with a purpose.

Song: Hysteria
Artist / Band: Muse
Album: Absolution
Bass: Christopher Wolstenholme
Year: 2003

Bass tab (external link)

Aug 6, 2009

Around the World

Flea is one of the most celebrated bassists around, and I think he deserves that. He will probably get many posts with his name on this blog, and this first one is about his bass on Around the World. Overdrived intro, funky verses and chorus, grooving ending... this song bassline has every elements to be considered a classic Flea.

Song: Around The World
Artist / Band: Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Album: Californication
Bass: Flea
Year: 1999

Bass tab (external link)

Aug 5, 2009

Let's Spend the Night Together

This cover of a Rolling Stones tune by David Bowie features a bassline that gives it a fast-paced rock´n´roll feeling, not so much as the original version.

Song: Let's Spend The Night Together (1999 Digital Remaster)
Artist / Band: David Bowie (Rolling Stones cover)
Album: Aladdin Sane
Bass: Trevor Bolder
Year: 1973

Aug 4, 2009

The Distance

Cake is one of my favourite american bands from the 1990s. There are many songs with great, contagious basslines, and "The Distance" is a good example. It's amazing how the bass stands out.

Song: The Distance
Artist / Band: Cake
Album: Fashion Nugget
Bass: Victor Damiani
Year: 1996

Bass tab (external link)

Aug 3, 2009

Bigmouth Strikes Again

Although the voice of Morrissey and the guitar of Johnny Marr are considered the defining elements of The Smiths' sound, I don't think we should overlook Andy Rourke's bass - specially on this song.

Song: Bigmouth Strikes Again
Artist / Band: The Smiths
Album: The Queen Is Dead
Bass: Andy Rourke
Year: 1986

Bass tab (external link)