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essential songs to learn?

Discussion in 'Tablature and Notation [BG]' started by PhantomLord, Jan 4, 2003.

  1. PhantomLord


    Dec 31, 2002
    i know tons of songs, but i need to know more. i can never think of the ones that would be great to learn, can you list some essential bass lines to know? thanks
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    You've got to be more specific than that - there are millions of songs and only 24 hours in a day.... ;)

    If you want to see what songs people consider 'standards' you could check out threads where people are discussing song lists, such as this one. Of course, the list of 'standards' depends very much on the style of music you are playing.

    If you want a challenge from a bassists perspective, hang around a bit to pick up an idea of who is regarded as a ''great' bassist (names like Jaco Pastorius or Victor Wooten) and learn some of their stuff.

    If you just want to know lots of songs, the best bet is to learn every bassline from every cd you own.

    Nb. As I understand it, the tab forum is specifcally for questions about tab - if you're specifically looking for tabs to learn from, how about visiting the tab archive and learning all the songs by the Beatles - a lot of those are pretty well known songs. You can always come back to this forum with questions about a particular tab.

  3. PhantomLord


    Dec 31, 2002
    Well, i'm really into hard rock, some funk, classic rock stuff, 60's rock. Lots of things. But i don't feel like i learn the "right" songs. I just wanted maybe a song list of what other people thought were great basslines. Thank you for your reply though wulf. It was very very helpful.
  4. Point_Blank


    Jan 5, 2003
    All the best Bass-lines are in 80's rock.

    Anything by AC/DC or some of the earlier Iron Maiden stuff is great. The best and probably easiest AC/DC songs to learn are TNT and Back in Black. You can find them both on

  5. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    PhantomLord, the "right" songs are the ones you need to be able to know how to play at the moment.

    For example, at present, my list of songs to know includes "Just Kissed My Baby" by The Meters and "Young, Willing & Able" by Minnie Riperton (both funky soul tunes); six months ago it was stuff by The Who and Led Zeppelin.

    To get a definitive answer, join a band and their setlist becomes your 'need to know' list. Of course, it probably helps to have a passing acquaintance with Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird"...... ;)

  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA

    James Brown – It’s a Man’s World
    Stevie Wonder – I Wish
    Stevie Wonder – Superstition
    Stevie Wonder – I Believe When I Fall In Love
    Stevie Wonder – I Was Made To Love Her
    Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke
    Stevie Wonder – Higher Ground
    Ohio Players – Love Rollercoaster
    The Gap Band – Burn Rubber
    Commodores – Brickhouse
    Village People – Macho Man
    KC & the Sunshine Band – Get Down Tonight
    KC & the Sunshine Band – That’s the Way I Like It
    Sly Stone – Thank U
    Kool & the Gang – Get Down on It
    Kool & the Gang – Jungle Boogie
    Peaches & Herb – Shake Your Groove Thang
    Dee-Light – Groove is in the Heart
    Lipps, Inc. – Funkytown
    Rolls Royce – Car Wash
    Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
    EWF – September
    EWF – Shining Star
    War – Low Rider
    Kool & the Gang – Ladie’s Night
    Archie Bell & the Drells – Tighten’ It Up
    Rick James – Superfreak
    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain
    Lee Dorsey – Everything I Do Gohn be Fonky
    Quincy Jones – Midnight Soul Patrol
    Ike and Tina Turner – Sexy Ida
    The Meters – Cissy Strut
    Average White Band – Pick Up The Pieces
    KC & the Sunshine Band – Shake Your Booty
    The Trammps – Disco Inferno
    Bee Gees – Staying Alive


    Miles Davis – All Blues
    Miles Davis – So What
    Joe Zawinul – Mercy Mercy Mercy
    Weather Report – Birdland


    Barry White – Never, Never Gonna Give You Up
    Doobie Brothers – Long Train Running
    Brothers Johnson – Strawberry Letter 23
    Bill Withers – Use Me
    Dobie Gray – Drift Away
    Marvin Gaye – Mercy Mercy Me
    Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through the Grapevine
    Four Tops – Bernadette
    JR Walker & the All-Stars – Shotgun
    Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On?
    Isley Brothers – It’s Your Thing
    Temptations – Ain’t Too Proud To Beg
    Johnnie Taylor – Who’s Making Love
    Wilson Pickett – Funky Broadway
    Wilson Pickett – Mustang Salley
    Wilson Pickett – Land of a Thousand Dances
    Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine
    John Cougar Mellencamp – Wild Nights
    Aretha Franklin – Baby I Love You
    Aretha Franklin – Respect
    Parliaments – I Wanna Testify
    Otis Redding – That’s How Strong My Love Is
    Pee Wee Ellis/Jaco Pastorious – The Chicken

    80s Pop

    Gary Numan – Cars
    Genesis – In the Air Tonight
    George Michael – Faith
    Joan Jett – I Love Rock N Roll
    John Cougar Mellencamp – Hurts So Good
    Kinks – You Really Got Me Now
    Modern English – I Melt With You
    Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl
    Rod Stewart – Hot Legs
    Rod Stewart – If You Think I’m Sexy
    Stray Cats – Rock This Town
    Stray Cats – Stray Cat Strut
    Billy Idol – Dancing With Myself
    Billy Idol – White Wedding
    Black Crowes – Hard to Handle
    Brian Adams – Summer of 69
    The Cure – Love Song
    The Cure – Close to Me
    Rod Stewart – Stay with Me
    Black Crowes – Hard to Handle
    Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
    U2 – With or Without You
    Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order
    Billy Joel – Still Rock and Roll to Me
    Beastie Boys – Fight For Your Right
    Beastie Boys – No Sleep Til Brooklyn
    Soft Cell – Tainted Love
    Devo – Whip It
    Adam Ant – Goodie Two Shoes
    Dexy’s Midnight Runner – Come On Eileen
    Young MC – Principal’s Office
    The Police – Don’t Stand So Close to Me
    The Police – Every Breath You Take
    Dead or Alive - You Spin Me (Round)
    Genesis – I Can’t Dance
    The Pretenders – Back on the Chain Gang
    Love in an Elevator – Aerosmith
    Maneater – Hall n Oates
    Guns N Roses – Sweet Child of Mine
    Tom Petty – Mary Jane’s Last Dance
    Billy Joel – You May Be Right
    The Knack – Sharona
    UB40 – Red Red Wine
    Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun
    John Cougar Mellencamp – Authority Song
    Georgia Satellites – Keep Your Hands to Yourself
    Romantics – What I Like About You
    The Klash – Should I Stay or Should I Go
    The Cars – Just What I Needed
    Cheap Trick – I Want You To Want Me
    Tommi Tutone – Jenni/867-5309
    Michael Jackson – Billie King

    90s Pop

    Hootie and the Blowfish – Let Her Cry
    Lenny Kravitz – Always on the Run
    Ben Harper – Burn to Shine
    Counting Crows – Mr. Jones
    Fastball – The Way
    Matchbox 20 – Push
    Sublime – What I Got
    Down – 311
    Longview – Green Day
    Smooth – Santana
    Ben Harper – Stealing Kisses
    Sublime – Santeria
    Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl
    Dave Matthews Band – Too Much
    Dave Matthews Band – So Much To Say
    Dave Matthews Band – Stay

    Current Pop

    Flake – Jack Johnson
    Don’t Know Why – Norah Jones


    TV Theme – The Jeffersons
    TV Theme – Barney Miller
    TV Theme – Dukes of Hazzard
    TV Theme – Welcome Back Kotter


    Blues Brothers – Soul Man
    BB King – The Thrill is Gone
    Bobbi Gentry – Ode to Billie Joe
    Etta James – Sweet Little Angel
    ? – Sweet Home Chicago
    John Lee Hooker - One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer
    George Thorogood – Bad to the Bone
    Tracy Chapman – Give Me One Reason
    Junior Wells – Messin’ w/ the Kid
    Dinah Washington – Bad Case of the Blues
    Some guy – Johnnie B. Goode


    Lou Ann Barton – You Can Have My Husband
    Soggy Bottom Boys – Man of Constant Sorrow


    Eagles – Hotel California
    Santana – Put Your Lights On
    Santana – Europa
    Santana – Oye Como Va
    Santana – Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
    Santana – Evil Ways
    Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower
    Jimi Hendrix – Red House
    Jimi Hendrix – Pride & Joy
    CCR – Fortunate Son
    Beatles – One After 909
    Beatles – Come Together
    Mammas and the Papas – California Dreamin’
    Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Squirrel
    Norman Greenbaum – Spirit in the Sky
    Ritchie Valens – La Bamba
    CCR – Proud Mary
    Lenny Kravitz – American Woman
    Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock
    Bob Marley – No Woman No Cry
    Lynard Skynard – Sweet Home Alabama
    Johnny Rivers – Secret Agent Man
    Jimmy Buffet – Margaritaville
    Charlie Daniels Band – Devil Went Down to Georgia
  7. PhantomLord


    Dec 31, 2002
    Thank you jazzbo. I printed that list and I'll try to learn some of those, but as wulf said, there are only 24 hours a day. :)
  8. JacoLesFlea


    Jun 16, 2006
    That is one serious list.
  9. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    cake - i will survive
    rush - yyz
    michael jackson - bille jean
    rhcp - soul to squeeze
    rancid - maxwell murder
  10. Wasim


    Dec 10, 2004
    it depends what style(s) of music you're into.

    when i had a bass teacher, he told me the importance of learning a little bit of everything, at least when you're beginning bass, to get a good sense of the instrument's versatility.

    i'd agree with learning the bass parts to your favourite records. then try a little reggae, classic rock, motown, new wave... just don't limit yourself.
  11. oldrocker


    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    "Brown Eyed Squirrel" - Pretty Funny :)
  12. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I've attached two Microsoft Excel files; combined, they contain 2,100 songs: the top-100 songs from 1060 through 1980.

    You may want to check the archives at Bassplyaer Magazine as well; I seem to recall that they published a list of recordings that are "essential" to bassists a few years ago.
  13. nubs


    Mar 1, 2005
    heres two more great bass lines;

    i want you back, jackson 5
    silly love songs; PM and Wings
  14. WiddleDwummaBoy


    Jul 12, 2006
    Here are some lines that I really dig (even tho I'm primarily a drummer, I love bass).

    The Bad Plus-(Theme from) Chariots of Fire
    The Cinematic Orchestra-Evolution
    David Holmes-Pickpockets
    Eric B. & Rakim-Don't Sweat the Technique
    Herbie Hancock-Watermelon Man (from album "headhunters)
    Limp Bizkit-Re-Arranged
    Lords of the Underground-Chief Rocka
    Medeski Martin & Wood-Uninvisible
    Medeski Martin & Wood- Pappy Check
    Naught By Nature-Hip Hop Hooray
    Sublime-Greatest Hits
    Megan Slankard-Second Best
    Soul Coughing-Circles
    Laura Love-Come As You Are

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