I know I’m now supposed to start writing about awesome bass lines and great tunes right away. But this blog post just wanted to start with a “shit you not”, so here it is:
“Shit you not!”
Now I’m not talking about groovy little bass lines that sound good when you pay attention to them. You can find a lot of those and they are nice and stuff and I know you’re a fanboy but that shouldn’t make you lose focus on our current topic, n00bie. Anyway. What I’m talking about usually surface as simple or rather primitive bass lines that go all the way through or at least almost all the way through the song, with a fukken driving force that instead of boring you to sleep, make you stain your pants like eating too much habaneros does.
Tony and the Pretenders
So let’s begin with this classic by The Pretenders, but the groovy, driving bass line was played by a non-Pretenders musician, Tony Butler. He used to just play it as a practice or warm up riff, so he learned it pretty good. The song itself is not much more musically than that bass line alone. And it’s alright this way.
The Pretenders – “My City Was Gone”
Herbie’s dance with the chameleon
This next one is simply one of the craziest lines ever played on bass. Starts with Mr. Hancock himself playing the line on an ARP Odyssey synth, and going straight up until the bridge theme. From then on, it’s in the hands of Paul Jackson on bass guitar. No excessive highs, but who needs them, it is the 70s. P-bass powah. In the end the “mwah” synth bass riff returns though. They call this tune a jazz standard because of Herbie, but it’s just as much of a funk standard as well. Trust me on that one.
Herbie Hancock – “Chameleon”
Keep pushin’ that bass line!
Yeah but how cool is this line man, on this supa’ cool Curtis Mayfield song? It’s not as in your face as the above examples, no. While being simple and perfectly executed as well, this one’s more about smoothness as it sneaks up on your spine like a snake-shaped shiver. Played by Joseph “Lucky” Scott.
Curtis Mayfield – “Pusherman”
Bass from Africa, with diamonds
Ok this Paul Simon tune’s a bit more complex and has guitar riffs and lots of nice harmony vocals and melodies but yeah. What’s pulling this tune forward like a mighty small block V8 is Bakithi Kumalo‘s timeless fretless bassline. Eat it!
Paul Simon – “Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes”
And yes, if you know more of these kind of tunes with song carrying bass lines, please name them below in the comments!