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Who played the bass on Age of Aquarius

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Dave44, Jan 30, 2003.

  1. This songs bass lines at the end of the tune where the let the sunshine shine in part is, was the one and only deciding factor for the I've got to learn how to play bass. Still inspires me to this day. Who was he?
  2. That would be Joe Osborn.

    He also played bass on Johnny Rivers, "The Poor Side of Town" "Monday Monday" by the Mama's and Papa's and S&G's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters".
  3. Joe's the man. He's played on dozens and dozens of top 40 hits.

    Lots of people seem to respect him here, but I see very little evidence of anyone (beside me) who try to sound like him. I wonder why that is. I love his Fender with flatwounds and pick tone and use a similar tone lots of the time (not always, but in certain situations).
  4. The sound that Joe got out of his 59 Fender Jazz bass was awesome. The Wrecking Crew's discography is amazing. Always one of my favs.
  5. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    It depends on which version of "Age of Aquarius" you are talking about. My personal favorite is from the "Hair" Soundtrack, and that wasn't played by Joe Osborn.

    Joe is the man, though.
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Share the wealth...
    Osborn solo'd the neck pickup on his Jazz, right?
    Did he ever consider a P-bass?
    Or could it be the Jazz proved more "guitar-friendly" as advertised?

    Osborn is on the Fifth Dimension's version of "Aquarius"/"Let The Sunshine In"...nice job on "Up, Up, & Away", too.
    I also like what he brings to The Carpenters' tunes.
  7. I've also read that he soloed the neck pickup but it doesn't always sound like that to me. I guess I could be wrong. A lot of the Carpenters stuff sure sounds like he was using both pickups. Now much of the stuff he did with Neil Diamond could be just the one pickup, but a few of those tunes sound like both pickups. Maybe he used both pickups some of the time, because he sure gets a lot of top end out of his tone at times.

    He did play a P bass originally though, until Fender send him a new Fender bass - their brand new Jazz Bass. He must have had one of the very first ones.

    One big difference with Joe was that he did much of his muting with crafty left hand technique instead of the old foam bridge mute. It is a very cool technique - finger the left hand note but lay the next finger very lightly just ahead of the note.

    One of my favourite Osborn tracks is Neil Diamond's version of the Joni Mitchell tune 'Both Sides Now'. It wasn't really a big hit for Neil, but the bass tone is incredible. It's also a great version of the song. Neil was great in those days - before he went tacky lounge.

    Here's a link to a Windows Media clip of the tune. The tone isn't great but you can get the idea.

  8. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999

    ...maybe that's 'the pick'?

    Thanks for the insight, Rob.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well I would respect him, for playing on so many albums etc - but I hate that kind of tone. Like Steve Swallow - I respect him as a great musician but hate the tone he gets. Same with Chris Squire -really great lines and everything but I would never want to use a tone like that!!

    I prefer tone like Jaco or any number of funk bassists I could name....
  10. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    That's interesting. Is it just the sudden attack that the pick gets? I've experimented with trying to get an "un-pick like" sound with a pick, and the solo pickup on my Jazz bass soloed, and find that I really enjoy playing that way. It definitely takes a different touch, and it opens a new creative stream--not to mention that I can be lazy and rest my hand on the neck pickup cover, and mute with my palm. :)

    With a couple of exceptions, I have always found Steve Swallow's tone to be very full, and woody, which always amazed me considering he was always using a pick.

    I'm not as familiar with Joe Osborn's work as I should be, I'm afraid to say. I'm sure I own quite a few albums he's on, but I'm not sure which ones they are. Time to go to www.allmusic.com, figure it out, and start studying....
  11. I'm sure just about everyone has a few albums with Joe on them!

    Check out Joe's website - it had a pretty thorough listing of many of the hits he's played on. I can't even imagine the size of the list of tunes that weren't top 40.

  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well I've heard him on a few albums although I try to avoid him now - but it really stands out on John Scofield's "Quiet" album.

    So his bass sounds very metallic to me - like a clanging sound and more like a synth bass than a bass guitar. There is a point on one of his solos where it sound like it is ring-modulated - horrible!!

    It stands out even more as the album is all acoustic apart from Swallow and in the slow ballads it realy sticks out like a sore thumb for me - I like all Scofield's stuff - but this really spoils the album for me!! :(

    The annoying thing is that I play Jazz with Bass Guitar and when I meet new Jazz players they invariably say - oh you must like Steve Swallow (as he is the only Jazz BG'er they know) - it always gets awkward when I say no, as they were just trying to be nice!! :oops:
  13. Hey I just took a look at Joe's site (I haven't been there for a while) and MP3 clips have been added to most songs on his Top 40 hit list. That's a great way to sample some of Joe's playing very quickly.
  14. jaco1pas


    Feb 1, 2003
    sact. ca.
    the poor side of town is a great tune! i've heard of joe osborn but i'm not sure where?
  15. jaco1pas


    Feb 1, 2003
    sact. ca.
    the cat is "t-bone"
  16. jaco1pas


    Feb 1, 2003
    sact. ca.
    now your getting down to the heart of the matter
  17. jaco1pas


    Feb 1, 2003
    sact. ca.
    bro, every blues player with a telecaster bass memics that tone.
  18. Carol Kaye played bass on "Aquarius."

  19. igor kostadinovic

    igor kostadinovic

    May 8, 2014
    learning bass guitar
    Hi Steve:)
    Do you maybe have the the tab or sheet music of original, not joe osborn tab?
    Thank you.

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