Carol Kaye's resume in a nutshell. WOW!

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by MEKer, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    Carol Kaye's resume in a nutshell from

    "A more detailed list of Carol Kaye's electric bass session work: The Beach Boys: "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "Help Me Rhonda," "Good Vibrations," "Caroline No," "Sloop John B," "Heroes and Villains," "California Girls," most of Pet Sounds LP. Electric guitar on an earlier hit, "Surfin' USA." Plus work for Joe Cocker ("Feelin' Alright") Barbra Streisand ("The Way We Were"), the Marketts ("Batman Theme"), Simon & Garfunkel ("Homeward Bound"), the Righteous Brothers ("Soul & Inspiration"), Ike and Tina Turner ("River Deep Mountain High"), Ray Charles ("America The Beautiful" & "Don't Change On Me" & "I Don't Need No Doctor" & "I Chose To Sing The Blues" & "Understanding" & "Feel So Bad") Brenda Holloway ("You Made Me So Very Happy"), Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass ("Whipped Cream"), Andy Williams ("Love Story"), Lou Rawls (""Natural Man," "Unforgettable" and "Tobacco Road"), Glen Campbell ("Wichita Lineman" and others), Motherlode ("When I Die"), Frank and Nancy Sinatra ("Something Stupid"), Nancy Sinatra ("These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," "Sugar Town") plus the Monkees, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, the Buckinghams, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Gary Usher, Gary Puckett and Union Gap, Bill Cosby ("Hikky Burr" with him and Quincy Jones, "Chump Change" with Quincy also).

    Did over 10,000 recording sessions in Los Angeles. Was first call on elecric bass from 1964 through about 1974, but played electric bass on all sessions from 1963 through last thing I did, the theme for "Soap" TV series (1981). Guitar hits: "La Bamba" Ritchie Valens, "Zippity Doo Dah" Bob B. Soxx & Blue Jeans, "Unchained Melody" & "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" Righteous Bros., "The Beat Goes On" (he used my bass line doubled with bassist Bob West) & "He's A Rebel", "I Got You Babe" & "Baby Don't Go" & "All I Really want To Do)" & "Bang Bang" Sonny & Cher (& "Alfie" Cher), "Danke Shoen" Wayne Newton, "Mexican Shuffle" Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, "Mothers Of Invention & Freak Out LPs w/Frank Zappa.

    TV Shows: "Mission Impossible", "M.A.S.H.", "Room 222", Kojac, "Hawaii 5-O" (played bass on Ventures' thing of this), "Ironside", "McCloud," "Addams Family," first Cosby TV (Quincy Jones), "The Streets Of San Francisco," "Brady Bunch," "Hogan's Heroes," "Alice," "Cannon," "Soap," "The Paper Chase," "Mannix," "It Takes A Thief," "Wonder Woman," "Peyton Place," "The Love Boat," "Get Smart," "FBI," etc. A few movies: "Airport," "The Thomas Crown Affair," "Walk, Don't Run," "Sweet Charity," "The New Centurions," "The Pawnbroker," "Slender Thread," "Plaza Suite," "Smokey and the Bandit," "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," "Beneath The Planet of the Apes."

    I really never realized the TV stuff. Even "The Love Boat"...really?? That's hilarious! Too cool. AND ZAPPA's signature album! And in case any newbies do not know: on electric bass she is a picker. And the most recorded bassist on the far.

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  2. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Thanks for this post
    10,000 sessions, the known hits, the obscure records (Frank Zappa!) and the TV themes; what an amazing career

    ROOTSnFIFTHS Low-end Lover since '78!

    Oct 25, 2012
    NJ to Sin City
    I guess I am a pretty big fan of Carol and did not know it.

    As a young bass player I would know all the bass lines from all these TV shows and loved them. That bass break in the "Brady Bunch" ...Oh yeah! Wow I used to wonder why the sound of the bass was so similar(Fender P with a pick).

    That list of music hits is beyond impressive.
  4. chilliwilli


    Aug 17, 2005
    The most recorded bassist is Abraham laboriel actually.
  5. bass71


    Nov 18, 2007
    check out those fast lines in the kojak theme..

    ROOTSnFIFTHS Low-end Lover since '78!

    Oct 25, 2012
    NJ to Sin City
    Wow and pretty tasty at times.
  7. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    He, although having many recordings, is not even close to Carol Kaye. She is recognized by the entire music industry as "Top o' the Heap" by a mile.
    "Abraham Laboriel, Sr. is a Mexican bassist who has played on over 4,000 recordings and soundtracks."
    Impressive, yes. But not even half of Ms Kaye's achievement.
  8. In my look for instructors her name came up. I had never heard of her. I'm glad that I found her and learned about her life story - she is fascinating and very accomplished.

    I posted this elsewhere but here is a video interview with her that is essential viewing, IMO:

  9. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Moved to Bassists.

    Carol Kaye is awesome.
  10. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005
    I know. This is all true. But according to a comment I read somewhere on a topic recently, no one can play with a pick and be a real bassist. So, I guess that means that Carol Kaye is disqualified as a bassist. I'm hoping she won't find out about this as I know she'd be crushed.
  11. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    So in this piece she's claiming that, because she never witnessed Brian Wilson taking drugs, therefore he didn't have a massive drug problem, despite countless eyewitnesses to the contrary (which she dismisses as "sleaze rags")...

    Honestly, I never know when to trust her claims when it comes to the historical record. Her memory ain't the greatest.

    Great bass player though.
  12. I thought I responded - must have been lost. What I posted was that even though she may have "overstated her achievements" here and there she is still a pioneer for women and has a truly fascinating story. She does play mean lines, too - you have to admit, pick or no pick.
  13. rupture

    rupture Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2012
    Out of curiosity I wonder how many lines she wrote and how many were already written.
  14. I've heard MANY of those songs. Pretty impressive to say the least.
    I especially dig the Kojak theme song she plays on. Just great playing all around.
  15. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    From what I've read, it depended on the producer and the song. The exact percentage is unknown. But many songs had written parts.

    E.g., here is an excerpt from her website FAQ mentioning that most of the parts for her Beach Boys recordings were written out:

  16. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    Yes, her track record is amazing. Unmatched. But she has some major idiosyncrasies as well. She has claimed to do so many Motown hits...but she did not do them. She did do some remakes of those hits as requested, but the original hits by Smokey or The 4 Tops or Stevie Wonder, etc. were all James Jamerson on bass and he was the bassist we heard on the radio and original albums, not her despite her claims.
    Here is an excellent investigative and legalized explanation of the Kaye-Jamerson dispute:

    Here she is, the undisputed champ recording bassist, and seemingly trying to get even more credit--which she does not even need for gawds sake! She seems a bit unbalanced about it to say the least.

    Those personal failings certainly do not negate her achievement, but just show that all heroes/heroines have faults, sometime large one, but are still heroes/heroines with their achievements nonetheless.
    But dammit, Carol, there is room for more than one on the top of the hill, even if you and your pick are at the peak.
  17. It was hearing her bass-lines on Beach Boys tracks back in the 60s that attracted me to playing bass and for that I eternally grateful. I only learned it was her when I read it on TB a few years ago.

    Ironically I have never played bass on a Beach Boys track on stage, guitar yes - bass no, unlike probably all of my other bass playing heroes (The Ox, Jack Bruce, JPJ, Andy Fraser, Macca, Duck Dunn, ...)
  18. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
  19. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I ordered some books and discs from her website a couple years ago, she included a bunch of old paper work including pay stubs from sessions (M*A*S*H was one) and a bunch of her recording credits. It was pretty neat.
  20. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Gotta quibble here, although happy to see you found Alan Slutsky's analysis of whether Carol Kaye or James Jamerson laid down those definitive Motown baselines…but Alan is a friend, and I've been hearing this one since the mid-'80s.

    First, I don't want to take ANYTHING away from Ms. Kaye's genuine and profound contributions. They are substantial and real, and she definitely is one of the great pioneers on electric bass.

    But much of this occurred at a time where the range of musical styles - and concomitant range of techniques required of a session bassist - was relatively narrow.

    If you take the time to explore Abraham Laboriel's work, you'll see that he is a MONSTER musician capable of a huge range of styles, and stylish improvisations in ALL of them. Playing flat wounds with a pick would only be a small subset of what he brings to the table - his jazz, funk and gospel techniques and feel are incredible. But his overall discography is far broader than that.

    I understand he started as a guitarist, and I often hear him functioning as a rhythm guitarist as much as a bassist in his playing. He has advanced the instrument in a profound fashion. And in a world where stylistic demands are intensively fractionalized, he has been busy across a wide range of styles.

    To be clear, I also dig Leland Sklar, Jimmy Johnson, and all the other great players! And Carol Kaye as well. But Abraham Laboriel is special.
    trothwell likes this.