Friday, January 30, 2009

100 Greatest Rock Bass Players

Bass players don't always get the same recognition as a lead guitar player, lead singer or drummer. There have been many great bass players in rock history. I have scoured through several lists of great bassists; and find that the list below includes all the best of them. You can disagree with the order as do I; however many lists have Paul McCartney, Flea and Getty Lee as the top 3 bass players. My number 1 pick would be John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin (See photo below). Please comment on your top 3 Rock Bass Players.

1. James Jamerson (Funk Brothers, session man)
2. John Entwistle (The Who)
3. Larry Graham (Sly & The Family Stone)

4. Chris Squire (Yes)

5. Jack Bruce (Cream)
6. Tony Levin (King Crimson, session man)
7. Geddy Lee (Rush)
8. Paul McCartney (The Beatles)

9. Louis Johnson (Brothers Johnson, session man)
10. Anthony Jackson (session man)
11. Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

12. Marcus Miller (session man)

13. Les Claypool (Primus)

14. Chuck Rainey (session man)

15. Billy Sheehan (Niacin, Mr. Big, Steve Vai)

16. Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath)
17. Will Lee (session man)

18. Michael Manring (Attention Deficit, session man)

19. Nathan East (Eric Clapton, session man)

20. Rocco Prestia (Tower Of Power)

21. John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)

22. Abe Laboriel (session man)

23. Stuart Hamm (Joe Satriani)

24. Donald "Duck" Dunn (The MGs)
25. Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs)

26. Bob Babbitt (Funk Brothers, session man)

27. Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead)

28. Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)

29. Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna)

30. Cliff Lee Burton (Metallica)

31. John Myung (Dream Theater)

32. John Deacon (Queen)

33. Willie Weeks (session man)

34. Carol Kaye (session woman)

35. Aston "Family Man" Barrett (Bob Marley & The Wailers)

36. Verdine White (Earth, Wind & Fire)

37. David Hungate (Toto, session man)

38. Robert "Kool" Bell (Kool & The Gang)

39. Joe Osborne (session man)

40. Phil Chen (Rod Stewart, session man)

41. Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band)

42. Freddie Washington (session man)
43. Nathan Watts (session man)

44. Louis Satterfield (Earth Wind & Fire, session man)

45. Andy West (Dixie Dregs)

46. Bootsy Collins (Funkadelic)
47. John Wetton (King Crimson)

48. Greg Lake (ELP)

49. Tim Bogert (Vanilla Fudge)

50. Mark King (Level 42)

51. Mike Watt (Minutemen)

52. Bernard Odum (James Brown, session man)

53. George Porter Jr. (Meters, session man)

54. Mike Gordon (Phish)

55. Bernard Edwards (Chic)

56. Ryan Martinie (Mudvayne)

57. Willie Dixon (session man)

58. Andy Fraser (Free)
59. Trey Gunn (King Crimson)

60. Dave Schools (Widespread Panic)

61. Berry Oakley (Allman Brothers Band)

62. Jerry Jemmott (session man)

63. Roger Glover (Deep Purple)

64. Bill Black (Elvis Presley)

65. "Sweet" Charles Sherrell (James Brown, session man)

66. Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy)

67. Billy Cox (Band Of Gypsys)

68. Bruce Thomas (Elvis Costello & The Attractions)

69. Gary "Mani" Mounfield (Stone Roses)

70. Felix Pappalardi (Mountain)

71. Mike Rutherford (Genesis)

72. David Ellefson (Megadeth)

73. Matt Freeman (Rancid)

74. Ronnie Baker (MFSB)

75. John Alderete (Racer X, Mars Volta)

76. Robert Trujillo (Suicidal Tendencies)

77. Duff McKagen (Guns N Roses)

78. Marshall Lytle (Bill Haley & The Comets)
79. Bill Gould (Faith No More)

80. Ray Pohlman (session man)

81. Me'Shell NdegéOcello (session woman, solo)

82. Doug Pinnick (King's X)

83. Tommy Cogbill (session man)

84. Glen Cornick (Jethro Tull)

85. Pino Palladino (session man)

86. Randy Coven (Steve Vai)

87. Tim Commerford (Rage Against The Machine)

88. Doug Wimbish (Living Color)

89. Thomas Miller (Symphony X)
90. Mick Karn (session man)

91. Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam)

92. Ron Wood (Jeff Beck Group)

93. Michael Lepond (Symphony X)

94. Dave Hope (Kansas)

95. Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones)

96. Leo Lyons (Ten Years After)

97. Timothy B Schmit (Eagles)

98. Rex Brown (Pantera)

99. Bobby Sheehan (Blues Traveler)

100. Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith)


Anonymous said...

1. Jack Bruce for making the bass a lead instrument, 2. Chris Squire for incredible dexterity, a crisp and edgy sound, 3. John Entwhistle for awesome innovation

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous. No one who's writing this list who is serious would leave out the King's of Leon's Jared Followill. Give a listen to Because of the Times. If you don't bump someone off this list to make room for him, you simply don't know what you're talking about.

Kaptk said...

King's of Leon is a fairly new band that deserves recognition for their current success. I listened to them for the first time online today; and liked their music. As far as one of the best bassist in history; it may be too early to put Jared Followill on that list. I have not been able to locate him on other top bassist lists. I certainly would like to hear comments from others whether I should bump someone from the list for Jared Followill.

For those not as familiar with King's of Leon. Here is a brief bio from the BBC:

Kings of Leon are a Grammy-nominated American rock band from Nashville, Tennessee, USA. The band is made up of three brothers – Caleb Followill (b. 1982) (lead singer/rhythm guitar), Nathan Followill (b. 1979) (drums/backup vocals), Jared Followill (b. 1986) (bass guitar/backup vocals/synthesizer) – and their first cousin Matthew Followill (b. 1984) (lead guitar/backup vocals). The band's sound derives from southern rock, garage rock, hard rock and alternative. They have released four full-length albums. The group's name is derived from Nathan, Caleb and Jared's father and grandfather, both named Leon. In terms of chart positions the band has been far more popular in Europe (notably in the UK and Ireland) and Australia (where they had 2008's highest-selling album) than their homeland.

Brian Doherty said...

What about Colin Moulding of XTC? I had the pleasure of recording with the band back in 1991.

Anonymous said...

Why isnt Jason Newsted on this list?or am I missing him?

Anonymous said...

What about Les Claypool?

Kaptk said...

You certainly can make a case the Les Claypool should be on the list with the other great Rock Bass Players. I am a fan of Primus, and believe that Les Claypool has shown that he is one of the elite Bass Players.

Bassboyc.o.a said...

Jared Followill is one of the best bass players of the "new generation" of rock, he has created a completely different kind of sound coming from a bass. Jared Followill should deffinently be top 100.

Anonymous said...

Where's GW Williams and his hit song California Rock N Blues?
It has to be in the top 5?

Anonymous said...

I did some quick checking I found GW Williams song at
It's possible you made the list before his May 2011 CD release?

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