Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Six Best Bass Solos In Rock

Posted By on Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 8:34 AM

PHOTO BY JASON STOFF
  • Photo by Jason Stoff

First, a joke: A man visits an Indian reservation. The tribe's chief leads him on a tour, and the man hears drums in the distance. "What are those drums?" he asks. The chief replies, "When the drums stop, bad things happen." They continue the tour, but the man keeps getting distracted. "Excuse me, what happens when the drums stop?" he asks. The chief again replies, "When the drums stop, bad things happen." Seconds later, the drums stop and the chief freezes. The man nervously asks, "What bad thing is going to happen?" The chief answers, "Bass solo."

See also: -The Six Best YEAHs in Rock & Roll -St. Louis' Best Bassist: Kenny Snarzyk -Paul Simon at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, 11/15/11: Review and Setlist

I knew one day I'd have to make this list, but I've been putting it off. Bass solos in a rock-song context tend to be lame. Traditionally, good rock bassists are tasteful, and tasteful bassists rarely solo. But as science teaches us, improbability does not render something impossible. Excellent bass solos exist, but their frequency is lower than the extra B on an Ibanez five-string. Here are the six best bass solos in rock. Let us know your favorites in our comments.

paul_simon_thumb_550x366.jpeg

6. Paul Simon - "You Can Call Me Al" (3:44)

led_zeppelin_photo_thumb_550x319.jpeg

5. Led Zeppelin - "Lemon Song" (2:58)

phil_upchurch_you_cant_sit_down_cover.jpg

4. Phil Upchurch - "You Can't Sit Down" (1:24)

7560709.jpeg

3. Metallica - "Anesthesia" (entire song)

imgRancid1.jpeg

2. Rancid - "Maxwell Murder" (0:59)

who_my_generation_1967_smothers_brothers084_thumb_550x366.jpeg

1. The Who - "My Generation" (0:55) My Generation by The Who on Grooveshark

There's a notable distinction between "electric bass" and "bass guitar." Bassists who tend to distance themselves from their higher-octave brethren prefer "electric bass." On The Who's "My Generation," John Entwistle is a bass guitarist. He might actually be The Who's second lead guitarist; he not only trades lines with Pete Townshend, he makes the six-string legend sound weak. And like the Phil Upchurch example on this list, he plays hard enough to push his amp to the point of distortion. There are a plethora of intellectual, collegiate adjectives in the music criticism canon, but none describe John Entwistle's work on "My Generation" better than "badass."

Tags: ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 16, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation