Someone please explain all the love for Steve Harris

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Yonni, May 9, 2018.

  1. Yonni


    Oct 31, 2016
    I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when a “50 greatest bassists” link came up ( Basically glorified trolling but with marketing and data mining behind it. Now I know that these things are click bait and designed to annoy you into commenting and I know I shouldn’t have clicked but I did. So can someone please explain why Steve Harris always does so well - above innovators like Jaco and Larry Graham, above Kaye and Jamerson. I’ve listened to Maiden and tried but I just don’t get all the love for him. What am I missing?
  2. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
  3. smeet

    smeet Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Well, at least he’s not as bad as Cliff Burton. :D
    Aras, WI Short Scaler, ICM and 44 others like this.
  4. superheavyfunk


    Mar 11, 2013
    You're definitely not the only one who doesn't get it @Yonni
    JaseyT, MrLenny1, retslock and 2 others like this.
  5. Those lists are usually rubbish and not worth paying attention to. As a means of ranking players, useless. How does that even work? Skill? Influence? Innovation? Best moustache?

    Because they're typically focused on rock and pop music, you won't see a lot of the names that serious listeners and musicians would recognise.

    I don't much like Iron Maiden, as an aside.
    Rompin Roddy, Mr.Ace and Korladis like this.
  6. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    That's nothing. Back in the 80's Nikki Sixx used to clean up on those lists.

    I like Steve btw.
    tindrum, Crusher47, mbelue and 21 others like this.
  7. aldaa

    aldaa Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2017
    I'd argue that Steve was an innovator as well. I'd also argue that he's a bigger name among people who play different (rock oriented) instruments. I love Jamerson, Jaco, Graham, and a lot of the others on this list... I can't believe Pino is in the 30s, but again - his name isn't that big outside of the bass circle, and even then, he's still lesser known than Steve Harris.

    I don't think it has to do with you missing anything. If you're not a fan of his playing, or their music, that's all good. What have you heard by them - out of curiousity? I love the playing on this song

    Also, he's the main songwriter for the band... so that might have had helped their decision to place him so high.
  8. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Sounds like they're nothing more than high school popularity contests, then... never was an IM fan, nor Steve Harris... but, I did respect him, cause he was super fast... his fingers could run a 100m dash, in under 9 seconds.
    Wisebass, Artman, nbsipics and 9 others like this.
  9. Sometimes bass players like Harris, Sixx, and the rest who actually write a big chunk of the band's material get a lot of cred for that in these polls. It's not so much the technical skill level or whether or not you personally appreciate them as players, it has a lot to do with what is often considered an auxiliary instrument player having so much influence, creative control, and success as a writer.

    Beyond that, even for bass players who aren't big Maiden fans, Steve's "gallop" plucking technique is widely admired.
  10. The look on Steve’s face when he found out he placed above Carol Kaye, Jaco and Larry Graham:
  11. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Just like the RRHOF, a lot of these things popularity contest. Other than people who look into the history of the music, names like Kaye are unknown (the only women I've seen in band photos of the Beach Boys were wearing a bikini). If it wasn't for "Standing in the Shadows of Motown", the same would be true of Jamerson.
  12. Yonni


    Oct 31, 2016
    I've listened to the first 4 albums quite a lot, although not really for a while now. I was at the live recording of Run to the Hills at Hammersmith Odeon. I get that he is fast but to me fast doesn't equal good. I guess I just don't like his bass lines and think that there are other, more creative players out there who contribute more to a song (in a way that I like). Just an opinion.
    whbjr and LowRenzo like this.
  13. Let's see- he founded the band, he writes the majority of the songs and riffs for the band ON HIS BASS. He puts on an energetic show, his tone is unique, his playing style is unique (chords, gallop, three finger technique) and has been copied by every metal/hard rock bassist around, he is a very cool guy as well... Hmmm, I really wonder how he could be so popular?

    I guess as a follow up we should also explore how Geddy is so popular. WHy is Metallica so popular? Why is Lars the best drummer ever?
  14. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    If you don't like jazz, you won't get Jaco.
    If you don't like Motown, you won't get Jamerson.
    If you don't like metal, you won't like Harris.
    One of the first metal bands I listened too was Iron Maiden, Piece of Mind to be specific, and the bass jumped out at me, even though I didn't know what a bass was. His tone and playing is really what drove their music for the first 6 albums. Then I saw a VHS of Live After Death and I wanted to play whatever that guy was doing. Done.
    The man has incredible technique and presence in a genre not known for great bass players, unlike funk or jazz where every player is a monster. Plus he writes a large percentage of Iron Maiden's material. Coupled with his commanding stage presence, it is hard for metalheads not to love him. Like Geezer Butler, it is very hard to explain the love for him, his playing either speaks to you or it doesn't; but when it does it is loud.
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  15. Maiden Bass

    Maiden Bass Inactive

    Feb 11, 2007
  16. aldaa

    aldaa Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2017
    I hear ya. For me, it's not so much that he is fast. I could pull 100 other guys who are way faster out of a hat. I dunno, Steve just makes the band I guess, but if you don't like them/him that much, you just don't. : )
    SnappyFerret and Artman like this.
  17. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    You know nothing about 80s metal, Jon Snow.
  18. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive Suspended

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    You're missing that these click-bait articles are based on POPULARITY and have nothing to do with how good someone is.

    If you don't understand why he is considered a good bass player, no one can explain it to you.
    Phil60, thebreakman, Ikkir and 21 others like this.
  19. Obimark,
    Like you, I believed Steve Harris used a three finger technique (mostly because of him, I learned it) but I've seen either on this forum or elsewhere that he's only a two-finger guy(?!). He also uses flats(?!). What's this world coming to?

    Back on track for the thread, I'd say the love for Steve is due to leading Iron Maiden, song-writing, great technique (and stamina) and is not one to sit in the back of the stage a la Bill Wyman (who I also like).
    crapusername, wmmj, Artman and 3 others like this.
  20. NeonVomit


    Jan 29, 2013
    As mentioned earlier, if you don't enjoy metal you won't get Steve Harris. Just like if you don't enjoy jazz you won't get Jaco, or if you don't like funk you won't get Bootsy.

    The fact is that he inspired thousands, maybe even millions, of kids (me included) to pick up the bass and do more than just plunk along on the root and/or just copy everything the guitars do note for note like Gene Simmons or Michael Anthony. When I heard Moonchild for the first time it was a literally life-changing moment, and I say that with zero exaggeration. I decided that I wanted to play bass after hearing that song and 21 years later I'm still at it. Steve, along with Cliff Burton, redefined what the bass was meant to do in metal - they used their position as the bassists of the two biggest metal bands ever to do that. Geezer had the groove and creativity, then Steve and Cliff came along and added power and speed to that.

    Being the primary songwriter for Iron Maiden means the bass is the root and anchor of the songs. His playing is the pulsing heart. And even on the songs he didn't write (Powerslave and Wasted Years come to mind), his basslines are clever, melodic and well thought-out. He was revolutionary. Surely that boosts his status immensely.

    Is he technically one of the best bassists ever? No, I can think of 10 players not on that list who are better than him off the top of my head. Is he one of the greatest ever as described in the list? You betcha.
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