r/Music 6d ago Helpful 1

What’s your favorite bass line in a rock song? discussion

Any song by RHCP would be my answer, but Californication is probably my favorite.

5.4k Upvotes

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u/DPPThrow45 6d ago

John Paul Jones on Ramble On comes to mind, among many others.

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u/OddScentedDoorknob 5d ago Gold Helpful Take My Energy

That and What Is and What Should Never Be.

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u/HotConcrete 5d ago edited 5d ago

John Paul Jones in the breakdown of Nobody Loves me and Neither Do I is just dirty!

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u/angryraptor24 5d ago

TCV might be the greatest one-off supergroup album ever made.

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u/DirectlyDisturbed 5d ago

Literally the song that made me buy my first bass, it's fucking flawless

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u/Rymundo88 5d ago

You could literally pick any JPJ bass line to be fair.

For me though it's Lemon Song

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u/Clewin 5d ago

Funny thing is, it's just a blues riff with monster fills. It took me learning it note for note to realize that. When I covered it live I used my own fills and the band got pissed because it wasn't a note for note copy, lol.

I also think it's hilarious that "one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time" was written by JPJ on the back of a bus ticket and the bass also plays that riff (Black Dog).

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u/kevnmartin 5d ago

Dazed and Confused and The Song Remains The Same from him as well.

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u/whollottalatte 5d ago

JPJ has too many to list

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u/brokenwolf 5d ago

My favourite song of his that he’s worked on is Elephants by Them Crooked Vultures.

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u/Peelfest2016 5d ago

John Paul Jones…. Fuckin masterful.

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u/CoreFracture 6d ago edited 21h ago Gold

Roundabout - Yes

edit: Oh snap, my first award! Thanks! :-D

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u/Bobdehn 5d ago

Amazing Bass - Chris Squire

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u/mjc7373 5d ago

Agreed, also the groove section of Heart of the Sunrise

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u/edgor123 5d ago

Fragile has to be one of the best bass albums in rock.

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u/Tranquility-Android 6d ago All-Seeing Upvote

Maxwell Murder by Rancid

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u/Captainzabu 5d ago

At one point I could play a nice list comprised of awesome Rancid songs (Radio, Fall Back Down, Sidekick, Ruby Soho, and a few more) which included Maxwell. Now, I can only play Time Bomb from memory.

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u/VictorChaos 5d ago

Was hoping this was here. Best bass solo in music history

Bass solo starts at :59

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u/wiarumas 5d ago

"Journey To The End Of The East Bay" is also amazing.

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u/FarthestCough 5d ago

N.I.B.- Black Sabbath

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u/Ocular__Patdown44 5d ago

Geezer is a really unique bass player. On some songs his bass lines are more intricate than the guitar, but it fits together very well. Both War Pigs and God Is Dead come to mind.

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u/Wallazabal 5d ago

Thank god somebody said it. A face-melting bass line.

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u/KathCTARules 5d ago

Don't forget about Hand of Doom! The bass line is helped a long a bit too with the awesome drumming.

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u/UPSET_GEORGE 5d ago

Peace Sells - Megadeth

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u/Cru_Jones86 5d ago

Ah Yes! The ol' MTV News intro with Kurt Loder.

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u/seek_and_yeet 5d ago

Came to find this exactly, it's such an iconic bass line and it's so fun to play too!

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u/trex1013 5d ago

Fugazi - Waiting Room

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u/i-skillz-69 5d ago

Also Turnover by Fugazi

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u/biglargerat 5d ago

Fugazi gotta be one of the tightest hardcore bands ever. Personally I'd pick the intro riff for bed for the scraping.

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u/mrsquishybutt 5d ago

Fascination street

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u/LegendOfVinnyT 5d ago

This meeting of the Simon Gallup Appreciation Society will now come to order.

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u/hiro111 5d ago

Great choice. The Cure have so many great baselines, I'd also mention "The Lovecats".

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u/SpicyDaddyKyle 5d ago

This and Lovesong were my two picks. Really, almost anything by the Cure fits, their bass lines were always on point

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u/kelryngrey 5d ago

The Cure is underrated for both guitar and bass lines.

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u/brenoajs brenoajs 5d ago Silver Wholesome

Would by Alice in Chains

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u/Slapppyface 5d ago

Also, Rotten Apple

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u/undercooledmusic 5d ago

Intro to that song still gives me chills. Love the way they layer on to that bass line

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u/Eversim 5d ago

There has been at least one Alice in chains comment on like every music subreddit, and I love it

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u/TheSufferer64 5d ago

Motörhead - Ace Of Spades

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u/ntlaml2004 5d ago

Who's a better bass player, Lemmy or god? Trick question, Lemmy is God.

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u/SyntaxxWasTaken 5d ago Helpful

Fleetwood Mac = The Chain. You know, the part a bit further into the song

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u/Lettuce-b-lovely 5d ago

Boww… bu bu boww bu bu bu bu bung bowww…

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u/herbielady 5d ago

The Chain is the one everyone thinks of first ....but let's not forget the bouncy bass line in Go Your Own Way

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u/StolenStutz 5d ago

I saw an act cover the Chain once. When that part came up, the bassist lit up like he'd been waiting for that moment all night.

The look on his face was priceless. Sheer joy. That was years ago, and I still remember it.

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u/wokedrinks 5d ago

Honestly tho Tusk is overlooked too often

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u/Uh_I_Say 5d ago

Holiday in Cambodia. It just sets the tone so well.

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u/beerasap 6d ago Helpful Wholesome Bless Up

My Name is Mud - Primus

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u/Trump_in_a_noose 5d ago

Not fair. Anytime Claypool touches his bass, it's gold.

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u/Jdogy2002 5d ago

Didn’t a bass player magazine make him ineligible for bassist of the year? Like the category was best bassist (not Les Claypool)

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u/BlackberryOpen974 5d ago

Im paraphrasing here and i could be wrong about the publication

One time rolling stone interviewed Les and asked him what its like to be the greatest bassist alive and he said Im not sure you should call Paul Simon and ask him

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u/Skrectoid2_ 5d ago

Claypool is untouchable.

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u/TheGiantKorean 5d ago

Playing Master of Puppets on the bass 😳

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u/OtherKrab 5d ago

Tommy the Cat for me - you cannot deny the groove. Suggesting anything by Primus is almost cheating at this question.

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u/ttubehtnitahwtahw1 5d ago

Southbound Pacyderm

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u/georem 5d ago

I love that this a staple of their live shows. Always a highlight for me

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u/Rimm9246 5d ago edited 5d ago

Lacquer head 🤌

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u/0ldPainless 5d ago

I see your "My Name Is Mud" and I'll raise you "American Life"

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u/VerminTrappers 6d ago

Hysteria immediately came to mind

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u/The_Lapsed_Pacifist 5d ago

In any 3 piece the bass has a lot of heavy lifting but I always liked Muse bringing it right to the fore though. I met Chris when they were starting out, they’re from my neck of the woods, absolutely lovely chap.

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u/ThrowThrow117 5d ago

That bass line is fucking genius. When you get into the groove and you're hitting it note for note, you get a little high off it

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u/Unsimulated 5d ago

YYZ by Rush

Hysteria by Muse

Rio by Duran Duran

Won't be Fooled Again, by the Who

Give it Away, by RHCP

For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Metallica

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u/blarges 5d ago

John Taylor doesn’t get enough credit for the absolutely excellent bass lines in Duran Duran. Great choice!

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u/applyheat 5d ago

That is weird how sick Rio is musically. Totally over looked.

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u/ConsistentlyPeter 5d ago

There are so many great musicians get written off by snobbish fans because they were "pop" players, as if that were a bad thing. Great shout on John Taylor - all those lads could play.

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u/TocinoPanchetaSpeck 5d ago

Agree. DD so underrated musically.

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u/physicscat 5d ago

Girls On Film has a great bass line, too.

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u/blarges 5d ago

That bass line inspired me to pick up the instrument, it’s just that good!

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u/physicscat 5d ago

9th grade, 1985.

My bedroom walls were covered with posters of John Taylor.

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u/Safe_Mycologist76 5d ago

People sleep on he and his bro laying it down in Power Station, that’s a bad ass band

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u/thehogdog 5d ago

100% His bass lines MAKE the songs. The synths and the arpeggiator provide the backing for the songs, but John takes the 'Lead' on so many songs.

Too bad they were painted with the 'Teen Bop' brush, because they are the Real Deal!

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u/Perry7609 5d ago

So glad to see them get inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this month! They won the fan vote and got to display some well earned industry respect in the process.

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u/Cru_Jones86 5d ago

Nobody has swagger like John Taylor. He's got so much swagger, in fact, Dante from Devil May Cry was modeled after John Taylor.

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u/BillHillyTN420 5d ago

Love Taylor's playing. Very underated.

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u/strawberry_wang 5d ago

Hysteria was my first thought too. This blew my mind when I first heard it - I was 14/15 and had never really been into music in a big way before. This changed everything.

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u/Bazookagobli0n 5d ago

So glad to see Hysteria in here

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u/MedalsNScars 5d ago

The guitar part in Plug In Baby is fun af to play, too

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u/MedalsNScars 5d ago edited 5d ago

Torture Me has to top my RHCP bass charts - Frusciante absolutely shreds on his solo too.

Flea is obviously absurdly good though and you could probably get a dozen or more of their tracks on this thread.

The bass solo at the opening of Around The World is bonkers

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u/ThatChelseaGirl 5d ago

Straight to Hell -- The Clash

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u/Sea_Cryptographer_32 5d ago

Or police and thieves cover by The Clash

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u/CeBlanc 5d ago

Or Guns of Brixton

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u/cardcheat 5d ago

Or Magnificent Seven

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u/Cunt_Booger_Picker 5d ago

In The Fade by Queens of the Stone Age. A deep cut, but the one bass line I can recall where, when it falls into place, you just go "ahh..."

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u/RedditRickS92 5d ago

Qotsa had some excellent bass-lines on Rated R and Songs for the Deaf. Eagles of Death Metal also have some underrated bass-lines, too.

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u/lardarsch 5d ago

My favorite song right here. I was also gonna say Mexicola by QOTSA

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u/triggermanx97 TriggerManX97 5d ago

The bassline from Mexicola makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up every time I hear it. It's perfection.

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u/OtherKrab 5d ago

QOTSA are such a good band. I remember hearing Rated R for the first time and being blown away. Rated R and Songs for the Deaf are two absolutely perfect albums imo.

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u/biglargerat 5d ago

This is probably my favorite qotsa song it's genuinely beautiful.

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u/zachtheperson 5d ago Take My Energy

46 & 2 by Tool

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u/Safar1Man 5d ago

The pot also has an awesome bass

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u/proton_mindset 5d ago

Tool has awesome bass

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u/shadi0w 5d ago

Schism by Tool is great as well.

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u/misterpickles69 5d ago

gestures widely at the Tool catalog

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u/the11th-acct 5d ago

m/ Tool all day. Rosetta stoned has a bunch, 10 000 days, schism, the pot, almost any other lol

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u/throwaway978542 5d ago

Rosetta Stoned is such a trip the first few listens. Then you start listening to each instrument/maynard specifically and realize how crazy the entire song is

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u/the11th-acct 5d ago

It's easily one of my favorite songs of all time

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u/paragon6969 5d ago

Jambi

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u/PetieE209 5d ago

This is the one. The bassline around "Shine on forever..." is so good.

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u/HankJimbo 5d ago

Vicarious!

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u/burtono6 5d ago

The way Adam and Justin intertwine in Vicarious is also a thing to behold.

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u/Spartan-Swill 5d ago

Psycho Killer

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u/bshaddo 5d ago

There have been people who’ve talked about Weymouth not being a proficient bass player, but she wrote great parts. Besides being able to count to four, tell me something about bass that’s more important than that.

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u/deepaksn 5d ago edited 5d ago

She’s like Meg White is to drums.

Meg White is the definition of a simple drummer… what could be easier than hitting a bass drum on fours and then crash symbols and open high hat for a classic garage rock sound?

But here we are almost 20 years later and she gets entire arenas rocking with that recorded drum beat.

Tina is the same way. The bass lines are simple. Like compare her riff in the River to the very similar sounding Ohio My City Was Gone by the Pretenders.

But it’s the passion and drive. I absolutely love that video of Psycho Killer where to see her absolutely in the zone hitting that on fours staccato A and then walking up from the E to the G back to A. Just awesome.

No.. she’s not John Paul Jones, or John Entwistle, or Geddy Lee, or Paul McCartney, or Lemmy, or Roger Waters, or Flea, or Derek Smalls… but she’s definitely a Krist Novoselic or Adam Clayton… she fits into the song and drives it.

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u/draped 5d ago

Here I go watching Stop Making Sense again

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u/LouZiffer 5d ago

Best. Concert video. Ever.

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u/BlooooContra 5d ago

Tina is a wildly underrated bass player.

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u/saddumbbitchenergy 5d ago

The Breeders - Cannonball

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u/Im_a_furniture 5d ago

I was thinking Pixies’ Gigantic, but pretty much anything Kim leads in with is dope.

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u/The_Lapsed_Pacifist 5d ago

Bone Machine is a good one. All those Pixies basslines are pretty simple but fucking perfect. She’s said that it pissed her off sometimes because she kept wanting to show off more.

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u/noradosmith 5d ago

Debaser is a pretty catchy one as well. So simple but so memorable

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u/metalheadface 5d ago

People of the Sun

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u/r0ughedges 5d ago

Yeah, you gotta turn the bass up on this one

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u/gdog3548 5d ago

I Want You Back - Jackson 5

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u/dalastguyinline 6d ago

Money, Pink Floyd

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u/Rolltideroll6969 Spotify 5d ago

Pigs (Three Different Ones) - Pink Floyd

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u/Solidus_Bock 5d ago

Yep. Also.

One of these days.

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u/BronsonTzu 5d ago

Waiting Room: Fugazi

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u/LadyNightlock 5d ago

Orion by Metallica. Cliff slayed that whole song.

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u/CreepingDeath2488 5d ago

As awesome as his performance was in Orion, I think he did even better in The Call of Ktulu. He absolutely shreds the whole time in that one, but unfortunately he’s pretty low in the mix so you can only really hear him when he hits harmonics (I think they’re harmonics?) mixed with the wah pedal.

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u/19JRC99 5d ago

The live version at the Lyceum in 1984 fixes that. 5 minutes in his bass literally sounds like a roaring beast

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u/echobox_rex 5d ago

You know that is amazing but most people don't even realize it's bass. Also, Anesthesia (pulling teeth) is amazing bass.

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u/BIGMCLARGEHUGE__ 5d ago

Spinal Tap - Big Bottom

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u/Typingpool 5d ago

The bass in Gimme Gimme Gimme by ABBA slaps hard.

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u/UrhoHeinasirkka 5d ago

Talking Heads. Psycho Killer. Very simple but sets the tone.

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u/dudesBangMyMom 5d ago

Filter - "Hey man, nice shot" fucking classic

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u/lawtalkingguy23 5d ago

the allman brothers band-whipping post (oteil)

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u/Cheeseypotatoes86 5d ago

Beastie Boys - Sabotage

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u/goatchumby 5d ago

Squeeze Me Macaroni - Mr. Bungle

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u/prof_hobart 5d ago

Just about any Joy Division song, but I'd probably go for Disorder

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u/artourfangay 5d ago

Geddy ripping his bass before the solo on Freewill

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u/BoxofLazers 5d ago

Limelight - Rush

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u/Frost312 5d ago

The mid section in Orion. That was peak Cliff Burton

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u/5illy_billy 5d ago

Radar Love - Golden Earring. Perfect highway song, too

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u/CommodoreKrusty 5d ago

Ramble On - Led Zeppelin

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u/BrckWallGoalie 5d ago

The Song Remains the Same slaps pretty hard too

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u/skwaak16 5d ago Starstruck

Tom Sawyer (or any number of others by Geddy)

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u/cjrogers227 5d ago

Working Man too!

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u/IncaThink 5d ago

Cygnus X-1 is what came to mind when the question came up.

God bless them, they took 2 full minutes of space noises to go into the song.

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u/thehogdog 5d ago

This is a song about a car, this is RED BARCHETTA!

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u/SonicBanger 5d ago

Fleetwood Mac - The Chain

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u/motionbutton 6d ago

Under Pressure! Queen and bowie

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u/EmilKnutsen_ 5d ago

Nirvana - lounge act

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u/RedditRickS92 5d ago

Krist Noveselic is a highly underrated Bass player. The bass-line for Lithium is great, too. I always tell people to go back and listen to the bass on Nirvana songs.

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u/hasagiii 5d ago

I expected this one to be higher up, first song that came to mind.

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u/efans11 6d ago

Longview by Green Day

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u/HeresYourHeart 5d ago

Yep. That's the song that got me playing bass.

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u/OddScentedDoorknob 5d ago

What Is and What Should Never Be.

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u/IAmTheGlazed 5d ago

Love Buzz by Nirvana

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u/Dasmusicjunkie 5d ago

Thrice - Stare At The Sun

Might not be my favorite but it’s the first that came to mind and one I’ve always loved.

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u/Linked-Theory 5d ago

N.I.B. ~ Black Sabbath. I fucking love Geezer Butler

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u/362Billy 5d ago

Talking Heads - Found A Job

God bless Tina Weymouth

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u/naturalscience 5d ago

Distant Early Warning- Rush. Pretty much anything Rush, actually

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u/JupiterAnneWinter 5d ago Wholesome

Soul to Squeeze for those guys. STP interstate love song. I’m burning for you BOC. Bad Fish Sublime. Cake I will survive. Schism Tool. Ego tripping at the gates of Hell Flaming lips.

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u/Birdhawk 5d ago

Soul to Squeeze is a great song and it’s crazy to me that the album it released on was the Coneheads soundtrack

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u/ayaruna 5d ago

Soul to squeeze is such a great melodic bassline

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u/Itayoo 5d ago

15 Step by Radiohead

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u/RageCageJables 5d ago

I was thinking National Anthem by Radiohead.

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u/bolyosis 5d ago

I love when the fuzzy bass kicks in on exit music (for a film)

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u/hammer_head 5d ago

Rage Against the Machine - just about every song

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u/ameanwizard 5d ago

Always thought Take the Power Back had a cool Bass line

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u/UpACreekWithNoBoat 5d ago

Calm like a bomb has disgustingly good bass

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u/free187s Pandora 5d ago

Peg by Steely Dan. Chuck Rainey laying it down.

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u/ttubehtnitahwtahw1 5d ago Take My Energy

Schism - tool

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u/ThirdRevolt 5d ago

There's a lot of Tool songs that could vie for the top spot here, tbh.

Forty Six & 2, The Pot, Schism, and more.

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u/AliasFaux 5d ago

In the meantime, by Spacehog.

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u/gossmeister 5d ago

Disorder - Joy Division

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u/ElDuderino111 5d ago

moe. - 32 Things and Rebubula are both great. Rob Derhak rocks.

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u/dog-pussy 5d ago

Red Barchetta by Rush. Also anything by Rush.

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u/RaisinSwords 5d ago

Was gonna say Force 10 myself. Not an exceeding technical bassline but it drives so hard it's impossible to hate it

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u/LegendOfVinnyT 5d ago

"Driven" is all bass riffs, some played by Alex.

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u/Snoo-8506 5d ago

Analog Kid has great bass in it too.

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u/dog-pussy 5d ago

So does Digital Man, it’s pure reggae madness.

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u/GraKthaK 5d ago

Totalimmortal - AFI

Hysteria - Muse

Cochise - Audioslave

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u/Captainzabu 5d ago

Aaaaw yeah, Totalimmortal.

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u/uuhhhhggg 6d ago

The new by interpol

There’s a a video of them doing it live for a radio channel and you can see the way they all play off of the bassist it’s crazy

https://youtu.be/NPkkiS6MR_A

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u/JetsLag 5d ago

Obstacle 1

Untitled

Specialist

Evil

So many good choices for Interpol

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u/Monado7 5d ago

Rotten Apple or Nutshell. Both are haunting.

Life Goes On from P5 is great too

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u/MovieBlood 6d ago

Something by The Beatles. Super melodic without taking away from George’s lyrics or guitar.

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u/foospork 5d ago

You can say that about most of McCartney’s bass lines with the Beatles, and, later, with Wings.

One thing I’ve learned to watch out for, though, is recordings where I thought it was Paul on bass, only to later discover that it was John or George. From ‘67 on, it’s almost a rule that if you hear Paul on keys, it’s John on bass. Here are some examples: Oh Darling, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Hey Jude, Let it Be. If I’m not mistaken, it’s John on bass on Glass Onion and Helter Skelter, too.

My point is that Paul was a master bass player, but you have to be careful when listening to the Beatles, because the bass may not have been Paul! (The walrus was, though.)

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u/theZenImpulse 5d ago

He finger dances through “In My Life” and makes the song for me.

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u/Albino_Rolypoly 5d ago

Rain is incredible

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u/Apupnamedswaggydoo 5d ago

No more tears form ozzy

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u/djbeefstew 5d ago

One of these nights - eagles

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u/big_airliner_whoa 5d ago

The less I know the better - Tame Impala.

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u/kapnkool 5d ago

The Real Me - John Entwisle, The Who

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u/mrbadxampl 6d ago

Another One Bites the Dust

Longview

Spacehog's In the Meantime

Psycho Killer

The Chain

Shake Hands with Beef

Money

man, I can't pick just one!

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u/karadawnelle 5d ago

Came here for Spacehog!

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u/CacophonicAcetate 5d ago

Jump Into The Fire - Harry Nilsson

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u/WMRipple 5d ago

5:15 - The Who

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u/Trump_in_a_noose 5d ago

I have to counter with The Real Me.

Entwistle's magnum opus.

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u/thunnus 5d ago

I had to scroll way too far down to find The Ox.

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u/tafor83 5d ago

Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know

And of course, it was Flea. I'm not even a huge Flea fan, though I would put him top5 for sure. But that bass line dominates the song and really gives it the energy. Without it, it's just standard rock tune. But the bass gave it a funk/rock cross feel that set it apart.

Plus, it's a dope bass track.

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u/mountainman84 5d ago

It’s more of a pop song but I’ve always loved the bass line in Rio by Duran Duran. Really the best part of the song in my opinion. Hungry Like the Wolf is great too. John Taylor is such a great bass player.

Best rock song would probably be Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine.