Cliff Burton, Geddy Lee and Flea Named in Top Bass Poll

Duran Duran's John Taylor takes top spot.

Cliff Burton, Geddy Lee and Flea Named in Top Bass Poll
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Geddy Lee, Les Claypool, Cliff Burton and Flea have been named in a poll of the best bassists ever.

Duran Duran's John Taylor was named in top spot, taking an overwhelming 30% of the vote in MusicRadar's poll of the 60 best bass players of all time.

Rush hero Lee came in second, with Flea reaching sixth and Primus virtuoso Claypool in 12th place. On Lee, MusicRadar says (via Metal Hammer): "The Rush man has inspired thousands to pick up the bass guitar, and many of the other bassists in this rundown cite him as an influence. A leading frontman, songwriter and a remarkable bass talent, it's no surprise he remains perennially popular with you guys."

Late Metallica star Burton was 13th, while Iron Maiden's Steve Harris was 16th and Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler 21st. On Burton, the website adds: "His influence can be felt all over Metallica's first three genre-defining LPs."

Other rock heroes to make the list include Thin Lizzy's late frontman Phil Lynott at number 25, Motorhead's Lemmy at 27 and Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan at number 32.

Bootsy Collins came in at 31 and the Pixies' Kim Deal lands at 40 – ahead of KISS hero Gene Simmons in 45th place and late Slipknot member Paul Gray at number 50. Roger Glover of Deep Purple, PIL's Jah Wobble and Genesis star Mike Rutherford also make the top 60, while prolific session bassist Carol Kaye is at number 41.

The Top 20 Greatest Bassists of All Time Are:

01. John Taylor (Duran Duran)
02. Geddy Lee (Rush)
03. Simon Gallup (The Cure)
04. Mark King (Level 42)
05. Jaco Pastorius (Weather Report)
06. Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
07. John Entwistle (The Who)
08. Victor Wooten
09. John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)
10. Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
11. James Jamerson (The Funk Brothers)
12. Les Claypool (Primus)
13. Cliff Burton (Metallica)
14. Bernard Edwards (Chic)
15. John Myung (Dream Theater)
16. Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)
17. Tony Levin
18. Mick Karn (Japan)
19. Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big)
20. Chris Squire (Yes)

148 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    slush
    Wait. Whaaat?!
    WholeLottaIzzy
    Late Slipknot player Paul Gay?
    tric565
    HAHA! Classic UG f**kup. Whenever I think of great bass players I dont think in a million years I would ever consider John Taylor of Duran Duran. I will have to check him out sometime.
    acglee
    Superb bassist. Glad to see Mark King on there too. '80s pop did have some talented musicians compared to more recent mainstream music. Compare Duran Duran writing and performing their own stuff to boy bands who are just singers using backing tapes of music made by others. Prince, the Bros drummer, even a-Ha - even if you don't like the music at least it was musicians in the bands not just singers.
    msmartt
    I wouldn't have expected John Taylor on this list (UG is ALWAYS way to heavy on the hard rock/metal side) however seeing Mark King rated so highly is awesome. Level 42 never really made it in the US but I always thought he was incredible on bass.
    Lord_Doku
    I don't like Duran Duran all that well, but the basslines keep floating around in my head. He's pretty good, imo.
    UncleBluck
    Obviously too many Europeans voting in this pole...take #s 17 & 19 and put them at the top.....
    iommi600
    The fact that Charles Mingus, Bootsy Collins and Larry Graham Jr. aren't even among the top 20 personally offends me. I hate the internet.
    dave.coleman.54
    Is the poll voted on by the public? Because that'll always come down to a popularity contest and those guys possibly don't carry enough weight in that regard
    peachesenregali
    Agreed. And I love The Cure but Simon Gallup is hardly one of the greatest bass players of all time.
    Slackerbitch
    Simon Gallup is absolutely one of my favorite bass players, when it comes to style, sound and riffs. I would rate him very high on my personal list of favorite bass players, but on a list of "Best bassist ever", I would absolutely not put him this high, and that goes for many of the names on this list.
    iommi600
    Exactly. I love The Cure as well, but that was just ludicrous. Nevermind Mingus, I'm a better bassist than Simon Gallup.
    bobmarley_fan
    Jaco Pastorius, Aston "Family Man" Barrett and Victor Wooten should be in the top three. John Taylor...that is a f'ing joke!