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Elton John's bassists

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by btrag, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. btrag


    Mar 7, 2005
    I'm hoping to get a nice list going. I've always been impressed with the bass work on Tumbleweed Connection. Wikipedia tells me that it was handled by both Dee Murray and Herbie Flowers. It seems like they were really allowed to let loose and open-up their playing, unlike anything I've heard from later E.J.

    Are there any other EJ albums/tunes that have these sort of basslines? Think along the lines of "Burn Down the Mission".
  2. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Dave Glover also played bass on Tumbleweed. All the early 70's work of Elton's has some very fine basswork. IMHO
  3. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Tumbleweed Connection
    Madman Across the Water
    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

    These three really stand out, (all three Dee Murray?) but pretty much everything he did in the seventies was pretty fantastic.
  4. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Madman had David Glover and Herbie Flowers too. Dee was only on one song. Elton didn't really get to use his road band on the earliest stuff except the live 11/17/70 album that just kills.
  5. Caustic Crunch

    Caustic Crunch

    Oct 26, 2013
    I think Dee Murray is one extremely underrated bass player.
  6. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    big +1!
  7. Kenny Passarelli played on a couple, Blue Moves and Rock of the Westies I think. He's a long-time favorite of mine, back to his work with Joe Walsh and Dan Fogelberg.
  8. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I've always dug Kenny's playing too, there was a reason these guys were in demand.
  9. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    I think it was Dee Murray that played that awesome bass line on "Rocketman".
  10. +1 on Dee being underrated... anyone know his exact setup? I know he used a Jazz, and I can't help but peg the tone as tapes and a pick.
  11. For the classic recordings, I'm fairly certain it was a Fender Jazz with a pick, probably through a tube amp for a bit of warmth, and it seems there was sometimes a bit of reverb on there (or maybe on the entire rhythm section). I haven't read anything definitive about strings, although many have suggested flats, which kind of makes sense.

    Maybe iamthebassman will weigh in on this thread, he's a big Dee fan and usually has some insight.
  12. Def listen to the 11-17-70 live album, Dee Murray does some bass schooling. It's easy to hear the bass lines too, just bass, drums and piano, especially on the newer remastered versions.
  13. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Tumbleweed Connection is a terrific album. I became aware of it only after watching Sidney Lumet’s “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975) for the first time. The only music in the entire movie is underneath the film’s opening sequence, and it’s Elton John’s “Amoreena.”

    While not in the same style as Tumbleweed Connection, the bassline from “Philadelphia Freedom” makes for some great study. It’s one of the first lines I was absolutely determined to learn — wearing out an old audio cassette in the process.
  14. Dee Murray is awesome. I had the good fortune of seeing Elton John with his original band sometime in the early 90s? The show was more or less one hit after another and Murray and Nigel were cooking night long.
  15. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    And Flatwound strings. You can't get that tone otherwise.
  16. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I remember seeing it at the theater when it came out, still one of my favorite opening sequences ever, you could just feel it was going to be a great movie.
    I loved Sidney Lumet's work!
  17. portpc


    May 31, 2011
    I got into my car after a crazy day of work yesterday, put on the radio & "Saturday Nights All Right for Fighting" started right up.

    That is one of the songs that got me hooked on the bass way back when..

    DM has such a great combination of tone, energy & stellar playing on it.. The whole band does!

    It's a perfect example of high energy rock with great vocal & instrumental phrasing...

    & I felt so much better after hearing it!
  18. Dee also used a G&L L1000 for many recordings and a Steinberger L2 during the early 80's. I love his playing!

  19. Bob Birch was such a tremendous player live. I think I've seen Elton 5 or 6 times live, all great shows.
  20. Mikhail1


    Apr 8, 2008
    Dee Murray was the man! I loved what he did and still love to listen to his work. I saw Elton live a few years ago and really dug Bob Birch as well. And if I remember correctly, Dee used both Jazz and Precisions early on, fingers and pick, Fender flatwounds and a collection of tube amps on the road and direct in the studio. I always thought Bob had one of the coolest Musicmans, a SR 5 with a blue burst finish and maple neck. He never switched out when I saw him and I thought he was a really tight player, always dead on. I didn't find out till later all the things that had happened to him over the years and was amazed he was still out there playing and touring. Again, both really great musicians and gone way to soon.