A recent online poll placed a modern player ahead of some classic artists in this top ten. But who was it, and do they deserve it?
Posted on Nov 04, 2011 11:48 am
Frontmen get all the girls, drummers beat out their showmanship, but every real musician knows it's the bassist that acts as the backbone for a solid rock song.
Some argue that it's the "easy" instrument to lean, and it's monophonic tendencies certainly make it more approachable to beginners.
But it takes years of hard work and a special sense of groove to become a master and go down in history as a four-string legend.
Gigwise readers recently voted for their favorite bassists ever, and the list might surprise you.
Check out each video of their solos in action, and see if you agree with this list of the best bassists of all time.
10. Robert Trujillo (Metallica)
Trujillo has performed for Suicidal Tendencies, Infectious Grooves, Black Label Society, Jerry Cantrell and Ozzy Osbourne but we think he found a good home in Metallica when he first started playing with them in 2003. Excuse the wonky video, but trust that it sounds great.
9. Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy)
The Irish frontman was a founding member and lead songwriter of Thin Lizzy, and later went on to publish books of poetry with his lyrics before passing away in 1986.
8. Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)
Steve is the only founding member of Maiden to stay with the band throughout its lifetime, having shunned his dream of being a professional footballer for the stadium tour lifestyle. He very nearly chose to play drums as a youngster, but instead taught himself bass with a Fender Precision model for £40 in 1971.
7. John Entwistle (The Who)
Entwistle's aggressive playing style inspired hundreds of majors rock acts, and many recognise his playing for its notably high treble sound. He was found dead after a cocaine-fuelled night partying with a stripper one day before his band were to embark on a major US tour, aged 57.
6. Lemmy (Motorhead)
The iconic frontman is easily recognised with his handlebar moustache, mutton chops and facial moles. Lemmy was inspired to play music after seeing The Beatles play at the Cavern Club when he was 16, and was more recently seen slowing down his "Ace Of Spades" song for a British beer advert.
5. Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
The prolific collaborator started as a jazz trumpet prodigy, but turned to the four-string when started a band with future RHCP guitarist Hillel Slovak at high school. He's gone on to make his personality known through one of the biggest rock acts in history, as well as finding time to perform with the likes of The Mars Volta, Jane's Addiction, and Thom Yorke's Atoms For Peace. His most recent project is alongside Blur's Damon Albarn in Rocketjuice And The Moon.
4. John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)
The British rock legend is a versatile musician and record producer, having collaborated with dozens of major acts after the death of Zeppelin's drummer John Bonham, including R.E.M., Foo Fighters and Lenny Kravitz. Jones more recently hit the stage with his supergroup Them Crooked Vultures alongside Josh Homme and Dave Grohl.
3. Jack Bruce (Cream)
It's funny how often the bassist is a founding member of these Classic rock acts. Bruce started Cream in 1966 with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, and was equally recognised for his singing ability having developed one of rock's most distinctive voices. Few realise his ability as a trained classical cellist, but we bet he rocks it just as hard.
2. Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
One of the greatest living songwriters, and a face that adorned bedroom walls throught the world in the 1960s. McCartney is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as "the most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with over 100 million single sales in the UK alone. His song "Yesterday" has been played in the US more than 7 million times on American television and radio since its 1965 release, and he continues to write and perform today. Just don't remind him of that one-legged ex-wife who took a sizable chunk of his savings a few years back.
1. Chris Wolstenholme (Muse)
Chris' number 1 position could be the result of the keen online Muse community who are known for over-voting their favourite band in online polls. It was only this week that his bassline to "Hysteria" was voted the best of all time ahead of compositions by other bassists in this list (ahem). But his ability is sound, and if he can inspire millions of fans to support his band in this way, then more power to him.
What do you think? Did better bassists miss the cut, or is the list bang on?
Vote for your favorite bass slinger in the comments, and we'll round them up for a UG list in the future.