Elton John's Bassists

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by D.J, Apr 21, 2002.

  1. D.J


    Jan 31, 2000
    Who played bass for Sir Elton John and what bass line of him do you prefer?
  2. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
    Well, I'm not an Elton John fan, but I must acknowledge that the bassline in "Funeral for a friend / Love lies bleeding" (from the "Goodbye yellow brick road" album) was great. Played by Dee Murray, as far as I remember.

    All the best,
  3. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    I was gonna mention the very same song. It's one of my favorite tunes of all time, and I love that bass line. Dee Murray did play on that album (he and Nigel got the boot after "Captain Fantastic"). He died in 1992 of a stroke while fighting skin cancer. Very underrated player, IMO. I've see Elton in concert a couple of times, and one of my best concert moments was at the Hollywood Bowl when he did Funeral. It was incredible.

    Here's a cool link I found, that lists all of his band members:

  4. I actually went and bought the 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' cd, which 'Funeral for a Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding' opens. Although I was never a big Elton John fan, that was one album I remember really liking in my younger days.

    I was surprised at how good Dee Murray's bass playing is on that CD. I don't remember really being impressed with him when I was younger. As mentioned before, his playing on 'Funeral/ Bleeding' is outstanding. Also 'Grey Seal' is another great song, with great bass playing, from that album.
    Guiseppe likes this.
  5. I was just thinking of the song "Love Lies Bleeding" and remembered one thing-- how Dee Murray comes in with those pounding whole notes just before the guitar solo. I think any bass player should really take a good listen to that to hear just how powerful one or two notes can be.
    Guiseppe likes this.
  6. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
    As far as I remember, it was played fingered on a Precision Bass.

    The Rickenbacker fan I am is a bit jealous of that "biting" sound :D

    All the best,
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Wow, I'm gonna have to check out "Love Lies Bleeding"...someone at work gave me all their old vinyl, I know a copy of Yellow Brick Road is in there(FWIW, I have never bought an Elton John record/disc).

    In any event, I have always liked Murray...he grooves with the sensitivity of a guy who knows R&B/Motown.
    ...I do like "Philadelphia Freedom" & what I have heard from Honky Chateau.
  8. 5not4


    Sep 7, 2000
    Flint, MI
    It is a major shame that Dee Murray died. :( He lays down some incredible lines on GBYBR as well as the recordings before and after that one. Can you imagine, they were putting out two albums a year at that time. It has to be the best point of the Elton John Band's career. That version of his band was the best.

    I watched a DVD from a friend about the making of GBYBR and it was very interesting. Talked about how each song was wrote and recorded and such. The producer, Gus Dungdeon (sp?) commented that Dee was the best bass player he has ever worked with. The DVD is a must for anyone with an interest in Dee Murray/Elton John Band. I'll try to get some information about it and post it later.
  9. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999

    ...as was every band from that era.
    (Sigh)The 'good ol' daze, eh? ;)
  10. Winston TK

    Winston TK Hairpiece Adventurer

    Oct 8, 2001
    Burnaby, BC Canada
    Dee Murray was incredible.

    "Love Lies Bleeding" is one of the classic bass performances of all time. Just the right amount of aggression throughout makes this a killer track.

    I really must agree with Bassin': The way the bass stabs in at that one point is remarkable. I always loved that part. So much so, in fact, that I "paid homage" to it (read: ripped off) in a recent session I did with my band. The producer thought it was pretty cool. I asked him, "Do you know where I got that from?" When he admitted he didn't, I told him it was from older Elton John material. Immediately, he blurted, "Really? Then do more of that!"

    Gotta love it.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's right - in the 70s, rock bands were permanently touring and could actually play their instruments - so were rehearsing, touring or making albums! I think this must have helped them lay down albums more quickly as they would just walk in and play what they had worked on for the last 6 months - in the can, in one take I expect! ;)

    Seriously though, from when I started going to gigs in 1973, there were many years where I could see great rock bands locally every week - the sort who went on to fill stadiums!

    Even by the early to mid 80s I managed to see U2 at a small local venue and Radiohead for free at a small bar at Sussex University.

    But nowadays there's nothing like this at all - decent live bands are few and far between and the only gigs are at huge venues in the capital ..... :(

    And I think it's no concidence that bands can take several years to make an album!
  12. kcdbass


    Feb 27, 2002
    New Jersey
    Former Sales/Web, Sadowsky Guitars
    JAYLANB - good call.

    i am not an elton john fan, but must acknowledge yellow brick road as a masterful collection of songs.

    funeral for a friend is brilliant, and dee murray's bass line on that track and love lies bleeding is brilliant. sounds like a rick played with a pick -- which might explain why you like it jaylanb ... ;)

    the feel of that tune still amazes me, because it's sorta "out of the pocket" in a jamming sort of way ... like, it's not a total lock with the drums ... it's like 80% locked in with the drum track ... but that 20% "jam factor" is what makes the bass track, imho.

    brilliant ... now, if somebody could just explain "don't go breaking my heart." oh no wait ... $$$ ... yup that's it.

    the only other elton song that makes me stop and go, "whoa" ... is "TICKING" from the caribou record, i think???
  13. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Aurillac, France
    You're right : sounds like. But I don't remember any picture of Dee Murray playing a Rickenbacker. As far as I remember, I always (or almost always) saw him playing Fender. And playing with fingers, not with a pick.

    Thats' specifically what makes me jealous :eek:

    All the best,
  14. Max

    Max Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bakersfield, CA
    I saw Elton John in 1987 and Dee played for him then. Captain Fantastic was Elton's last good album, IMO and it was all downhill from there. Rocket Man is another song that comes to mind that has a couple of cool little riffs.
  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    WOW I'm jealous!!! I still spin records allt he time and would love such a boon!

    Hey, if you like the bass line for "Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding" I highly recommend that you pick up your bass and use that well trained ear to learn it. It is extremely fun to play. I use a pick on this one.
    It's a bass GUITAR on that track, not a BASS guitar. The jammin' signature of ths song is a guitarry vibe that just works perfectly with the material.
  16. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Yeah at one time in history you had to be a good to great musician to become famous! Also another great bass player that was over looked was the bass player for billy joel back in the good old days! Try the stranger cd!