"Must Learn" For Any Aspiring Rock Bassist

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by xsogol, May 18, 2005.

  1. Paul McCartney

  2. John Paul Jones

  3. John Entwistle

  4. Geddy Lee

  5. Chris Squire

  6. Jack Bruce

  7. James Jamerson

  8. Larry Graham

  9. Jaco Pastorius

  10. Geezer Butler

  11. Phil Lesh

  12. Bootsy Collins

  13. Tony Levin

  14. George Porter Jr

  15. Roger Waters

  16. Other

  17. Carrots

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I've heard from all kinds of people that there are certain songs from artists that are almost mandatory (not really, but they have been very influential) to learn if one aspires to be a rock bassist.

    Here's what I've heard from various people so far about different groups and I'd love to hear additions to this list/additional bands/artists (they don't have to be only rock) and their songs/albums that are "must own" for a bass player.

    Here goes:

    The Beatles:
    "All My Loving"
    "Paperback Writer"
    "Drive My Car"
    "I'm Only Sleeping"
    "Penny Lane"
    "Eight Days A Week"
    "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
    "Oh Darling!"
    "Hey Bulldog"
    "I Saw Her Standing There"

    "Silly Love Songs"
    "Goodnight Tonight"

    The Who:
    "Pinball Wizard"
    "The Real Me"
    "You Better You Bet"
    "The Punk And The Godfather"

    Led Zeppelin:
    "The Lemon Song"
    "Travellin' Riverside Blues"

    "Fly By Night"
    "Distant Early Warning"
    "Roll The Bones"
    "Tom Sawyer"

    "White Room"
    "Tales of Brave Ulysses"

    "Tempus Fugit"

    "Another One Bites The Dust"
    "Dragon Attack"

    Sting And The Police:
    "Canary In A Coalmine"
    "Man In A Suitcase"
    "Bombs Away"
    "Walking On The Moon"
    "Spirits In The Material World"
    "Saint Augustine in Hell"
    "Every Breath You Take"
    "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"

    Red Hot Chili Peppers:
    "All Around The World"
    "If You Have To Ask"
    "Higher Ground"

    "Lounge Act"

    Anything James Jamerson ever played on

    I've also been told that a bassist needs to own Zooma by John Paul Jones, Abbey Road and Revolver by The Beatles, and Regatta de Blanc by The Police....any other albums that are "must own"?

    Any other bands like David Lee Roth/Talas, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Green Day, or anyone? Any "must learn" Jaco, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Phil Upchurch, or Michael Manring songs? Please give me any and all input on songs and albums...who influenced you to play...what are your favorite bass riffs....let the info fly! Thanks!!!! :bassist:

    P.S. Please don't flame me for leaving out a song or a band...this is just what I've heard from other bassists and what I've found in my own learning process...if I left anything out, please, put it in :)
  2. RiddimKing


    Dec 29, 2004
    If I had to listen to ANY "Wings" song enough to learn the bass lines, I'd have to be institutionalized afterwards.

    Also, it seems to me that there's probably a whole lot of accomplished bassists who don't know all that many cover tunes. At least that's what I garner from various interviews in Bass Player, etc. As for me, probably because I'm old, inept and with a crappy memory, I tend to like to learn simple but elegant bass lines--things in Luna songs, or from The Smithereens.


  3. All_¥our_Bass


    Dec 26, 2004
    How dare you forget Roger Waters!!
  4. Hey All ¥our Bass (or anyone for that matter), what are some of your favorite bassy Pink Floyd or other songs Roger Waters plays on? :bag:
  5. All_¥our_Bass


    Dec 26, 2004
    Pink Floyd:
    "Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 2"
    "One Of These Days"
    "Hey You"
    "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun"
    "Pigs(Three Diferent Ones)"

    Led Zeppelin:
    "Dazed and Confused"
    "What Is And What Should Never Be"

    Black Sabbath:
    "War Pigs"

    "Crazy Train"
    "No More Tears"
  6. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    It was between Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, and Geezer for me.

    Geezer got my vote though because i'm in a metal band, and he influenced Cliff who influenced me... :bassist:
  7. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    +1 on Another Brick

    Run Like Hell - boring bass line but great song
  8. Hey Petary791, what are your favorite Geezer, Geddy, Squire, Burton bass riffs? What songs made you want to play? You too, seanm....what songs made you want to play? :bassist:
  9. I love the Wetton era of King Crimson...what are your favorite songs?
  10. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    All of them, King Crimson makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Actually the only Wetton era stuff I have is Red and USA (live). He's quite phenomenal live. To sing and do the stuff he does.... such great tone too.

    I need more money so I can get more Crimson, dammit. *consideres illegal means of money making*
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    How'd you get Phil Upchurch into the mix? Just wondering...he's probably more well-known as a guitarist; he does play a mean electric bass on "Full Compass"(from George Benson's Bad Benson album).

    I got my 1st bass in '72. Truth be told...it was John Paul Jones & the Led Zeppelin Complete songbook(I thru Houses Of The Holy) for me.
    So, "Good Times, Bad Times" is a must; maybe even "Ramble On". "The Crunge" would be interesting for an odd time Rock groove(like your Sting's "St. Augustine In Hell" mention).
    Guys like Squire, Entwistle, & Bruce were way above me. JPJ seemed attainable. ;)

    Another big album for me was Alice Cooper's 1972's School's Out. Dennis Dunaway is all over that record.

    Also, the early Allman Brothers' albums(especially their 1st 2...now packaged on ONE cd, Beginnings). "Whipping Post", "Rambling Man", "Jessica", etc.
    ...and Santana's 1st three albums with David Brown on bass.
    .....and Chicago's, I dunno, 1st 8 albums? (their debut is a must-have).
    One more, The Doobies' albums Toulouse Street thru Taking It To The Streets.

    About '75, I began getting into R&B/Soul-
    Three big, big, albums for me were the Average White Band's White Album, Cut The Cake, & Soul Searching. Again, their stuff seemed 'attainable'.
    Same time frame-
    Steely Dan's The Royal Scam & Aja. Hello, Chuck Rainey.

    Sly & The Family Stone's Stand! is a must-have, too.
    Marvin Gaye's What's Goin' On is a must-must-have.
  12. matrok


    Jan 10, 2005
    Ferndale, Michigan
    Chris Squire is definately my favorite, and my favorite tunes are Roundabout(Fragile), Machine Messiah(Drama, the middle section is really great), Tempus Fugit(Drama) and Lucky 7 from his solo album. Dennis Dunaway is another favorite. Billion Dollar Babies and Be My Lover are right up there. Funny how many bar band bassists miss all the nuances of Be My Lover and just follow the guitar riffs. John Wetton era Crimson is amazing. If I could sing like him I would die a happy man. Check out his playing on Steve Hackett's Tokyo Tapes. Geddy's best for me comes from A Farewell to Kings and Hemispheres. Circumstances is a classic riff. Many more bassists and must learn riffs, but I'd be typing all night.
  13. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    How about Johnny Cash "Folsom Prison Blues"? I know, I know, it is country. But dangnabit, Johnny Cash was cool. But seriously, it is a great introduction to country bass playing and it goes over very well in bars.

    Other good country oriented rock is CCR. "Proud Mary" is a must.

    The Doors "Roundhouse Blues" is also a must for jams.

    Plus, you must be able to play 12 bar blues.
  14. I know it's probably blasphemy, but I'm not really into the style of bass played by most of those guys. I think all of my influences are really from Dee Dee Ramone and on, to be honest. And I don't just play punk either, but I'm not really into the whole classic rock style of bass, I guess.
  15. +1
    I'm glad someone else said what I was thinking!
  16. I chose other. Cliff and jason newstead have influences me the most. Lemmy was also a very big part of my playing style, as was chris squire and Jerry Only.


    Ace of Spades
    Die You B*stard
    Stone dead forever
    Killing time

    Call of Ktulu
    Four Horsemen
    King Nothing
    The wait

    Misfits: (not FANTASTIC bass, but I like em!)
    Astro Zombies
    Hybrid moments
    Scarecrow man
    Feind Club

    Alice in Chains:

    Acid Bath:
    Scream of the butterfly

    Siberian Khatru
    The fish
    Long Distance runaround
    Starship trooper
    HEART OF THE SUNRISE<-----Definately a must I feel :D

    Diamond Head:
    Am I evil?



    Golden Touch
  17. Thanks for all the input everyone! Keep it coming!! It is definitely not blasphemy to throw in country like Johnny Cash or say you don't like bass playing from the 60s/70s....everyone's opinion is cool....let me know what you do like, what songs influenced/influence you, and what albums you feel someone "must have". If you have an opinion and/or a list of songs or albums, let us all know! Thanks!!!! :bassist:

    P.S. By the way, JimK, the reason I listed Phil Upchurch is that I heard that his blues/soul stylings (both guitar and bass) influenced the great John Paul Jones...I was secretly curious if someone in the know could list all of their favorite Upchurch songs when he's on bass....I've thought of even e-mailing Phil Upchurch himslef to ask (he's pretty accessible), but I think I'd feel stupid asking someone..."which of your songs did you play bass on and which one's would you suggest I learn?"...I guess that's not a dumb question, but I still would feel dumb.
  18. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I checked "other". Although, I dug Graham, Verdine White, Nate Phillips (Pleasure), Mark Adams (Slave) , & Geddy Lee were some of the '70's bassist that I gravitated towards.
  19. Hey Woodchuck...what are your favorite songs that feature those bassists? Who and what songs made you want to play?