Article
Stylus Magazine’s Top 50 Basslines Of All Time

By: Stylus Staff
2005-09-12



Posted 09/12/2005 - 09:38:13 AM by hometapes:
 #44.!!! how awesome..that song was in my head this morning, and I was remembering what a genius song that it was.... nice.
 
Posted 09/12/2005 - 10:20:13 AM by bassman08:
 This is truly the best list ever. I love the props to "Six Pack".
 
Posted 09/12/2005 - 11:51:40 AM by NomDePlume:
 Holger Czukay had better show up on this list...
 
Posted 09/12/2005 - 12:53:31 PM by KyleMcConaghy:
 what an amazing idea for a list. can't wait to see the rest of it. great job, guys.
 
Posted 09/12/2005 - 02:41:49 PM by J_R_K_:
 right with the comment that bass players are totally the "schlubbiest member of the band". my only question, will nikki sixx get an honorable mention for only playing one bass string his entire career?
 
Posted 09/12/2005 - 04:02:31 PM by HydeCarby:
 please, please, please list them all at once!! my mind is REELING thinking about the rest of the list (in fact, i think i'm going to barf). this list will be even better than the most relentless list and the best non-guitar solo list!
 
Posted 09/12/2005 - 05:03:14 PM by pbjnecrome:
 I'm personally rootin' for Psycho Killer! C'mon Tina Weymouth! Can't wait to see the Top 40.
 
Posted 09/12/2005 - 05:23:31 PM by Tsuchiya:
 This list is worthless if it doesn't have at least one bassline from Mick Karn, Percy Jones, or Pino Palladino. Please prove that you're not fretless haters!
 
Posted 09/12/2005 - 09:33:28 PM by snowface:
 My Sharona PLEEEAAAASE!!!
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 12:06:05 AM by Zarklephaser:
 Three words: FASCINATION FUCKING STREET.
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 12:27:18 AM by gloden:
 If Chic's "Good Times" doesn't make the top 5, I'm giving up on the Internet
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 01:43:20 AM by kid_koala:
 "Express Yourself" needs to be up there somewhere
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 05:05:43 AM by vsvsvs:
 I expect a lot more Squarepusher coming up... and, of course, "Shake Hands With Beef"!
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 06:30:51 AM by Marcopolo:
 "She's lost control" must be in the top 5,no less.
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 07:58:26 AM by wantondisco:
 Peter Hook has to dominate it all!
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 08:37:04 AM by citycalmdown:
 Man, some nice entries so far… just so long as there’s plenty more Marley tracks to come (Family Man is a God, seriously). ALSO: Dismemberment Plan?
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 08:42:36 AM by Tsuchiya:
 I second the Chic suggestion. There's no way it won't be on there...
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 09:24:20 AM by helmet52:
 Pink Floyd "Money"
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 10:40:12 AM by hutlock:
 A note from (one of) the compilers: Because we got SO many nominations that were worthy, and the list could only be 50 songs long, we tried not to repeat any artists. Some players might be repeated, but no artists, if that makes sense. Hope that helps on the prediction front -- it won't be someone you've already seen. Also, I love me some Mick Karn fretless bass work, but I couldn't figure which one I'd pick. Maybe "Talking Drum"? Anyone else got a favorite?
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 10:42:09 AM by bassman08:
 So then you mean that "Psycho Killer" will be on this list at some point, even though you've already got that one Tom Tom Club song?
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 11:29:46 AM by Fantastic:
 disappointed to see Liquid Liquid this high on the list- think it's top 10 material. surprised to see cougar and michelle's 'wild night' here, or called anything other than drivel. but then again, I still can't listen to 'i can't go to sleep' by the wu, so maybe I'm the asshole here.
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 01:16:27 PM by hunky_dory:
 Christ, I'm dismayed to see Mellencamp on this list. I hate him. Hate him, hate him, hate him. I live in Indiana (no, we're not all rubes), and Hoosiers think Mellencamp and Jimmy 'Biggest Hack on Planet Earth' Buffett are just about the best things around. When Mellencamp put out an album in 2001, my upstairs neighbor played it at obnoxious volumes for two solid weeks, and I had to sleep in my car. Enough ranting. Here's hoping that 'She's Lost Control' lands somewhere around, I don't know, #1.
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 02:13:47 PM by diemythtruth:
 good vibrations
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 03:28:01 PM by hutlock:
 Yes, "Psycho Killer" is CAN still be on the list (I'm not saying if it is or isn't!) because it is technically a different artist, even though the same person played the bass part. And I share the dismay over Liquid Liquid being so low (or high depending on what end you look into the horse...) John Camp Cougermellon does suck.
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 03:32:46 PM by whiteboysushi:
 CONFIDENTIAL TO ANDREW UNTERBERGER: the phrase "yet to ___" is generally taken to mean that ___ has not yet taken place, i.e. "What did you think of that new album, Andrew Unterberger and the Mysterious Production of Well-Thought-Out But Gramatically Sketchy Music Criticism?" "I dunno, I've yet to find a torrent for it." Ordinarily I wouldn't be a dick about stupid stuff like this, but seeing it twice in two days sorta got to me.
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 03:51:54 PM by TheBrad:
 Hey fantastic, I'm over it. Anyway, the Mellencamp cover is so faithful to Van's original, it's hard for be to imagine disliking one without the other, unless it's for principle's sake or something.
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 04:46:22 PM by Tsuchiya:
 Hutlock, good to hear. The thing is, every bassline Karn did with Japan was a winner. Though I tend to go back to "Swing" again and again.
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 04:59:38 PM by hutlock:
 Ah, yes, that is a fine choice as well! And "Visions Of China"! (Three guesses what albums I'll be digging out as soon as I get home tonight...)
 
Posted 09/13/2005 - 09:10:31 PM by djcruse:
 I don't see any McCartney or Jamerson yet. I'm hoping we'll see those in the rest of the list. Oh, and we're discussing this on my bass player news-related weblog at: http://www.24stgeorge.com/archives/various/ Drop by, say your peace, and listen along as I link as many of these as possible to the iTunes Music Store.
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 06:25:01 AM by JMonks:
 If they move, kill'em
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 07:14:09 AM by ghillz:
 *hopes for a Kim Deal bassline in the top ten*
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 07:18:15 AM by smnsmn:
 Not entirely sure a bass player was involved in this one - not that it should matter - but the bassline in Paperclip People's 'Throw' is gigantic and utterly relentless. Gets my vote anyway. And kudos to whoever mentioned Peter Hook. 'Disorder', 'Age Of Consent', 'Thieves Like Us'... I mean the man deserves a top 50 list of his own. How low can you go indeed...
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 07:44:03 AM by hutlock:
 "Throw" = DAMN! Good call! Carl Craig doesn't get NEARLY enough love these days...
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 08:20:17 AM by vinegar:
 Hmm, we're still waiting for a Jah Wobble... I take it "Public Image" will be up there, or anything off Metal Box?
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 08:25:17 AM by TheBrad:
 "Blue Room" is Wobble, yes?
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 08:54:34 AM by NastyNasir:
 That list was garbage, these people dont know real music like me. Where is all the Hawaian people who contributed to Basslines in the 60's and 70's. People like Kanglin Sotu, Jack Buwa and Efosa Koya. These guys will never recieve their due. This Stylus is a Pop site for pop music. PopMatters is better.
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 08:58:44 AM by TheBrad:
 It's always nice to see Ma$e's biggest fan on these forums, but alas, made-up bassists cannot be included on this list. Thanks for playing.
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 09:01:56 AM by AlfredSoto:
 There is as much sexual frustration and loneliness in a John Mellencamp song as there is in a Joy Division song.
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 09:15:02 AM by J_R_K_:
 bass players really don't involve themselves in much. there had better not be any "slap" or "funk" bass players. i'm ok with jacquo and les, but beyond that- no. as for kim deal, it should be "gigantic". maybe "debaser" if we get lucky. and i'd go with "kill all hippies" (the two bass parts are unreal) over "if they move, kill em". maybe "i wanna be adored" will make it. so ridiculously simple it can't be bad
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 09:20:07 AM by J_R_K_:
 real music, like Hawaian? maybe they'll include every tropicalia bass player and every freak beat bass player and every obscure sub genre known to man. i'm sure the hugeness of your vinyl collection will validate the hugeness of your head in the long run. pop music yes, but it's not like they'll put "good vibrations" by marky mark up there over beach boys. and "god only knows" is the bassline to choose.
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 10:33:13 AM by bassman08:
 Deal's: should be "Tame". Or 'Hey". What a damn good song. And what about "Cannonball"? I don't think that's her (her sister?), but I love that bass intro. As for Jah Wobble I think it should be "Memories" or "Poptones". BTW, has anyone ever seen the video of them on "Americasn Bandstand"? If not, Google it, because there are places that have the entire thing. It's fucking hilarious and awesome at the same time.
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 11:46:15 AM by AKMoose:
 Ahh, "Neat, Neat, Neat". An excellent choice and one I'd forgotten about.
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 11:47:10 AM by hunky_dory:
 Yes, AlfredSoto, but 'sexual frustration' doesn't necessarily mean 'good songs.' To these ears, all Johnny Cougar songs are the same in content and structure, with only the occasional diversion into some disaster-driven charity-compilation piece of shit. Anyway, I'm putting another vote in: REM, 'Radio Free Europe.' Echoing J_R_K_'s comment, a bassline so simple it can't be bad.
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 12:15:44 PM by hutlock:
 Brad: yes, "Blue Room" is Wobble. Nasty: if the worst thing you can say about Stylus is that we are a pop site about pop music, well, I'm pretty happy with that myself. Feel free to hit www.allhawaiianmusic.com or www.theonlygoodmusiciswhatIlistento.com. Especially the latter. I think you'll like it there.
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 12:16:41 PM by AlfredSoto:
 "Yes, AlfredSoto, but 'sexual frustration' doesn't necessarily mean 'good songs.' To these ears, all Johnny Cougar songs are the same in content and structure, with only the occasional diversion into some disaster-driven charity-compilation piece of shit." That nicely describes Joy Division (and I love them too).
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 02:17:11 PM by ghillz:
 Cannonball (Breeders) was Josephine Wiggs of A Perfect Disaster, I think, and I'd love that to be in there. Of the Pixies songs suggested, Gigantic and Debaser are probably the most deserving as they make the best intros. Here Comes Your Man, Gouge Away, and the aforementioned Hey and Tame are equally good but less likely to be singled out in a list like this.
 
Posted 09/14/2005 - 09:29:13 PM by oddman:
 An absolute crime that Bernadette isn't in the top ten, but at least some of you are recognizing that music has been around for more than 20 years. I fully expect to see Sly's "Family Affair" on the last day of this list.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 05:59:31 AM by NastyNasir:
 I bet some white boys will own the top 10. Get some black writers on these geek sites pronto, I want to see black music interpretated by black people, like at PopMatters. Marc Anthony Neal knows the shhiznit, here its just white hermits who had too much time on their hands as a kid. Some of them cannot even go outside their house in case they meet a black person and have a nervous break down. Is James Jamerson on there? If not, this just confirms that Van Halen or some Beatles nonsense is going to be number one when I do not even care. Let us get some Ohio Players on here as well. Make sure you represent the hood on here.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 06:38:06 AM by TheBrad:
 Hmm. So Jamerson (see #21) is the "hood" to you? Are Blacks just collectively "the hood," cos it's easier than making distinctions based on personal history, cultural differences, geography, and artistic associations? What a beautiful reductionist thought. Glad you're keeping things so real. God knows how you pulled the afraid-of-Blacks thing out of thin air (maybe our great respect for lines by Mingus, Withers, Pablo, Charles Wright, Stevie, the Wailers, Jamerson, the Bar-Kays, and Curtis Mayfield shorted you out).

Let me guess... country kid? Maybe a suburban outlying area? Are you Asian? Obviously you care quite a lot to be posting, and evidently so do I to respond, which is a shame for both of us. These are basslines, not battlelines in some cultural race war. Jump around a little. Smile, for God's sake.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 07:58:22 AM by Marcopolo:
 The Cramps,White stripes...
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 08:26:41 AM by NastyNasir:
 The Brad, do not take it all personally, but Stylus-like webby's are a dime a dozen, I've had enough of lazy white people living off mommy and daddy, self indulging themselves and telling me why this artist sucks or that particular musician rocks. Who are you to take a crap on some of the most talented artists of our time, most of who have overcome huge obstacles, unlike your patronizing selves. Also, why is Stylus always trashing great albums? Why did you trash Kanye's new album? Sounds like a publicity stunt to me. I think anyone who gets love from Time Magazine and mainstream press will probably get trashed here. That's probably how you prove you're edgy. Can anyone on your staff make a great record? And can anyone make a great record that subsequently becomes popular? I mean come on, TinyMixtapes, PopMatters, PitchFork, all these places are the same with people looking for career development. Good luck. I read Kanye's review at Metacritic, without your bullshit review that album might be a 90 rating or higher, but you guys are making a name for yourself playa hating a brother trying to uplift. Which "expert" on here hated on that piece of genius from Kanye? There are numerous great hip hop acts out there, but few that sell like 50 Cent, at least Kanye's offers something of an alternative, but that seem not to be good enough for all the geniuses that work here.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 09:27:54 AM by Marcopolo:
 The war is declared !Nastynasir vs Stylus Staff.Let it bleed !
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 09:34:20 AM by citycalmdown:
 In response to the “we don’t want to repeat artists” comment – I really hope you’re not serious, because if “Small Axe” is up there and “I Shot The Sheriff” isn’t, or “Is This Love”, or “Sun Is Shining” isn’t, then, well… Bad.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 10:28:17 AM by HydeCarby:
 who knew lazy white kids could perform the wildly redundant act of "self indulging themselves?" and if the highest praise of Kanye's new album is that it is an alternative to 50cent ...
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 10:54:42 AM by cameron1979:
 Hello Nasty, I'm half Filipino, my racially prejudiced friend. Let's not equate musicial talent with skin color.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 11:07:16 AM by bassman08:
 Hey Nastynasir...shut the hell up. Not everyone is automatically going to give Kayane the benefit of the doubt just because he's black and because his last album was really good. Shit happens, sophomore albums can (and sometimes do) blow ass. A C+ from Stylus is hardly something to whine about. It's not like they gave it an D or an F. Sometimes individual writers just don't like shit that much. Get over it.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 11:10:12 AM by jeff_siegel:
 NastyNasir: I've only been writing here a few months, so maybe I'm missing something, but I haven't got the foggiest idea of the racial make-up of this staff, and neither do you.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 11:11:55 AM by TheBrad:
 Oh... is it the Metacritic thing again? Is that what all this is about? That's the problem? This is a fun lil' list of 50 basslines. If you'll excuse me, I worked ten hours in the warehouse last night, and mommy and daddy are nowhere to be found to tuck me in or pay for groceries, so I gotta pack it in.

marcopolo, which White Stripes?
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 11:12:48 AM by bassman08:
 And as far as your "I think anyone who gets love from Time Magazine and mainstream press will probably get trashed here." thing goes, you're just fuckin' wrong. Examples: Spoon's new album. Beck's new album. Bright Eyes. Bloc Party. The FIRST Kayne album. So maybe you should actually do some research. All of these bands have gotten national acclaim. So that's just not how it goes, as you say they'll get trashed here "to keep their cred" or whatever the fuck you said. Someone didn't like Kayne, just deal with it.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 11:21:53 AM by Marcopolo:
 to theBrad, white stripes has no bass.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 11:27:48 AM by bassman08:
 OK, I actually do have something to say about the actual list...I k=just listened to "It's All Over Now" and I don't think it's all that great. Just sayin...I like the bassline to "Jumpin Jack Flash" or "Under My Thumb" better.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 11:29:12 AM by ddrake:
 Hey everybody chill! Haha sterling was right, race-baiting IS one of the four elements!
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 11:31:53 AM by TheBrad:
 well, marcopolo, I thought you were casting a vote for "Seven Nation Army" and its basslike tone, but I'll raise you a Beat Happening.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 12:24:48 PM by jhitting:
 We all know what's going to be, and has to be, in the top ten: Another One Bites the Dust. Period.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 12:33:48 PM by Zarklephaser:
 I'm still holding out for "Psycho Killer" and "Fascination Street" in the top ten.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 12:33:53 PM by jhitting:
 And who ever said that black people own the right to create the best basslines? That's some racist shit if I ever heard it. Yes, rock and roll came from black influences, but it's mostly been played by whites since Elvis. If you are upset that more blacks aren't on the list, tell them to start making music instead of either sampling or using machines to write basslines. Rappers are not artists in the strict sense that musicians are because most their stuff comes off of computers. Aside from the Roots or J5, very few rap outfits actually use instruments. Now if Victor Wooten isn't on this list at some point--or if I missed him--then Stylus is actually racist, but until that happens, understand why more black artists aren't and shouldn't be on this list.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 12:45:19 PM by jnasseff:
 Is "Girls and Boys" gonna get some love? How about G of 4?
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 12:48:19 PM by IanMathers:
 jhitting, is it still 1955 where you are? In any case, congratulations on having the absolutely most ignorant post on any Stylus article, ever. And on a completely different note, to bassman08 - "Sometimes individual writers just don't like shit that much." Yes! Thank you! You get it!
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 12:57:58 PM by Hexagon:
 I hope Dead Prez's "Hip Hop" will be somewhere in the top ten, because this list is largely rubbish. As usual.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 12:59:40 PM by Marcopolo:
 Yes,TheBrad,Calvin Johnson is one of the greatest.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 01:19:22 PM by wmdavidson:
 Great calls on the Clash and Stone Roses. I'm looking forward to the electrifying conclusion tomorrow.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 01:25:42 PM by unsaunsa:
 No Penny Lane, no credibility.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 01:30:30 PM by petebromaghim:
 I'm fairly certain that NastyNasir is actually MC Pee Pants...
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 01:37:11 PM by hutlock:
 Please try to keep in mind, dear readers, that all of this is totally subjective. I'm sure if each and every one of you came up with a list of your own favorite 50 basslines, it not only likely wouldn't look much like ours, but it also could never be "wrong" because they would simply be your choices. Disagree, discuss, post your own ideas, by all means. But keep in mind, this is just the choices of 20 or so people... don't hang us just because our opinions differ from yours. Thanks.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 01:40:42 PM by maxwellk:
 I'm not even going to enter any kind of race debate here, but shouldn't there be more hip hop on this list? Any hip-hop on this list? If Jack White is disqualified because it's not "actually" a bass, then shouldn't Stevie Wonder be disqualified because it's not "actually" a bass either? And whoever suggested Another One Bites the Dust is probably right, but I'm guessing that if we're only getting one Queen song then it's going to be Under Pressure.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 01:48:25 PM by hunky_dory:
 MC Pee Pants...good show, peterbromaghim, good show. MC Pee Pants don't want candy, he needs it, and when you need something, you got a responsibility. NastyNasir, if you don't like the site, don't read it. This list means next to nothing (no offense, Stylus), and shouldn't cause any cognitive dissonance in a rational mind. Lighten up. And jhitting, last time I checked, J5 don't use instruments, unless you count turntables as instruments, or that little Playskool piano thing Nu-Mark played last time I saw them.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 01:50:06 PM by J_R_K_:
 btw, totally called "i wanna be adored". and yeah, all these racism posts are progressively more off base than the last. i'd say O'jays or Ohio Players or Spinners or Dells. P funk? something.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 01:52:23 PM by J_R_K_:
 oh, and i was thinking about that stevie wonder and hip hop bassline thing too. like, maybe sequenced or sampled bass played on an analog synth (moog, and their ilk) should be considered different than an actual bass guitar. but then again, that's one bridge between music critics and musicians is so never going to be crossed.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 02:03:18 PM by hutlock:
 We just asked staff to nominate what they liked. We didn't say that certain types of bassline (synth, sampled, etc.) wouldn't be counted.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 02:03:34 PM by leafblower:
 Are you people for serious? 72 effing comments and not one mention of Andy Rourke??? Hello? "Rusholme Ruffians"? "Barbarism Begins At Home"?
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 02:20:08 PM by diemythtruth:
 the i wanna be adored one's alright but the basslines (all one hundred and seventeen of them) in i am the resurrection are miles better. even fool's gold's repetitious chewing gum thing is
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 02:31:52 PM by ddrake:
 It is weird that there's only one rap song on here. My apologies folks.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 03:29:52 PM by J_R_K_:
 i think i wanna be adored is the bassline to choose. it's simple.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 03:50:45 PM by roadrunner:
 it probably won't be on here anywhere, but Radiohead's National Anthem has always been a favorite bass line of mine and is scorchin good if you ask me.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 03:59:13 PM by bassman08:
 I think that "Taxman" and "Start!" should be combined on this list as number 3.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 04:18:27 PM by cleric:
 great work. how long does it take you guys to compile such a long list?
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 04:36:00 PM by jnasseff:
 I totally second roadrunner's "The National Anthem" recommendation. that bassline is killer. the only baseline i ever bothered learning. but it wont be on the list for sure.
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 05:01:17 PM by hutlock:
 cleric: If I remember right, we had nominations open to staff for at least a couple of months, then we whittled that down to 50 (not in order -- the staff doesn't know that until it is posted here either!) and assigned the text, which took another couple of weeks. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...
 
Posted 09/15/2005 - 10:46:12 PM by Fantastic:
 in a sense, there are two rap songs here with the inclusion of Liquid Liquid. but there aren't too many other majorly sampled tracks here, which does suggest, yes drake, that this list is flawed. but I said that already.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 06:51:54 AM by NastyNasir:
 Gee, what a great list. I was in a perpetual state of suspense just waiting to find out who was top dog, according to the geniuses who auteur this website. Queen, how would I have guessed, a bunch of drag queen fairies taking James Brown's crown. What is it with these lists, whether its Rolling Stone, Blender, NME, Q Magazine, Pitchfork etc. Would it kill you to have an African American at no.1 There is always a but, like SPIN giving OK Computer superior status over PE's Nation, or Pitchfork rewarding Hip Hop with an initial list of zip Hip Hop albums on their best of 90's shiznit. Why don't you guys do for race relations what Stevie and Mcartney did in the 80's, you know my steez, Ebony and Ivory. Come on, Under Pressure no. 1? This is why the never ending current of lists always blow. How about some DJ Premier on A Jazz Thing? Come on get your act together.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 07:59:03 AM by whiteboysushi:
 "Would it kill you to have an African American at no.1" I think what you're trying to say is "Would it kill you to ignore the democratic process used to compile this list in the name of political correctness?", to which the answer is clearly "Shut up, you're a jackass."
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 09:07:23 AM by zaretskys:
 I was pleased and surprised to see 'Under Pressure' at number one. As a bass player, I've always loved John Deacon's work. Other performances to consider: 'Free Man in Paris': Jaco Pastorius on Joni Mitchell's 'Shadows and Light' album 'Siberian Khatru': Chris Squire on Yes' 'Close to the Edge' album 'China Grove': Doobie Brothers 'Christmas Rapping': The Waitresses
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 09:49:28 AM by Tsuchiya:
 Obviously the list can't have all my personal favorites (nice to see "Good Times" and "Pusherman") but a list without Bootsy Collins has serious issues.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 10:20:36 AM by aBearAware:
 NastyNasir, you're absolutely right. Black artists are automatically better than white ones, because members of minorities are always better than the majority. By this logic, it follows that female artists are better than male ones, and gay artists are better than straight ones. So let's just give all 50 slots to Me'Shell N'degeocello and be done with it. Never mind that no one here (including you) can think of a single memorable bassline of hers. It's all about exalting the underdog, right?
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 10:28:45 AM by NickSouthall:
 There's no Bootsy (and no Macca either) not because no one at Stylus rates them but just because we FORGOT to nominate them when we were calling basslines amongst ourselves. I think this is (certainly in my case) because I wasn't quite paying attention and just assumed that the REALLY obvious ones would be mentioned by someone else, leaving me to pick the ones I thought other people would ignore. "Baby You're A Rich Man" and "Groove Is In The Heart" ought to both be in, in my book, but there you go. x
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 10:37:53 AM by bassman08:
 I still think we should have had a Talking Heads bassline but whatever. I guess Tina Weymouth is just too black to merit any serious considerations.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 10:58:13 AM by Humbaba:
 Where in the world is Blur's "Girls & Boys"? No way it doesn't make at least the top 25.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 11:03:44 AM by HydeCarby:
 Tina Weymouth is apparently mixed race - cf. Tom Tom Club with Genius of Love
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 11:31:20 AM by jhitting:
 IanMatthers, too bad I'm right. I've been listening to rock and roll--of which all music on Stylus is a derivative--for decades, and it's just not made by blacks as much as it should be. If you want an indication of how much possible talent rap has stolen from the rock and roll game, take a look at the latest Rolling Stone. In the very back, next to the top 40 albums list, there's a list of the most popular albums at a store in Macon, GA, about the blackest town of all time. Each one is a rap CD, and I bet if you randomly polled the people that frequent that store, they wouldn't even know who Al Green or Miles Davis or hell, even James Brown, are. The state of music, especially in America, is maintained by the few people decent enough to continue pursuing rock and roll. Face it. Black "musicians" are almost solely devoted to rapping. It's a sad fact, but it's the truth. Where is the next Jimi Hendrix? Why is that child molester R. Kelly one of the most interesting black artist of the last 10 ten years? It might sound racist, but sometimes you need to swallow liberal BS and acknowledge truths for five seconds. And for your information, I'm not racist, just smart. People are so touchy feely about the race issue in this country that they'll play that card at any opportunity as a catch-all way of bullying people's opinions or defrauding intelligent arguments. Observe NastyNasir. If he wants to know why there aren't more black artists on the list, it's because they stopped making music and started busting rhymes over artificial bass lines.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 12:04:29 PM by JoshLove:
 James Brown was raised in Macon, GA so I'm pretty fucking sure they know who he is there. ***100th COMMENT SPECTACULAR***
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 12:25:30 PM by whiteboysushi:
 jhitting, your whole argument isn't about race (at least, I hope not), but rather about culture. Would rock music crafted by black kids sound different and somehow 'better' than the stuff that white kids are playing? Maybe it would, and maybe it wouldn't, but if it did, it (obviously) would not be because of race, but because of cultural background. And yet... cultural background is the whole reason they're rapping instead of rocking. It's a catch-22. But I don't see why it's a "sad fact" that different cultures breed different music; if you want to hear rock music (presumably because you enjoy and relate to rock music), you can listen to white guys rocking, and if you want to hear "black music" (presumably because you're black and relate to some larger aspect of black culture), you can listen to rap. The important thing to notice here is that rock ISN'T a part of any sort of mainstream black culture (at least, not anymore); ergo, black rock music is almost necessarily going to be coming from something of an outsider perspective, devoid of the same cultural touchstones as rap, which means (this is the important part) RACE DOESN'T MATTER. To flip the example around, I don't think we need more white rappers; I don't think we need fewer, either. For every Aesop Rock (he's white, right?), there's an MC Paul Barman. Why? (oh man, super-Subtle (equally-subtle topical reference) topical reference) Because white rappers don't represent the views of any sort of larger white cultural movement; they're outsiders, and are therefore about as likely to represent any given artistic viewpoint as indie black rappers.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 12:55:08 PM by hunky_dory:
 If you have to say "I'm not racist, but...", you're fucking racist. NastyNasir moved his argument from "why aren't there any black artists represented" to "why isn't a black artist #1." Come on, man, stick to your guns at least. Half of the top 10 are black artists. Not enough? How about putting aside biases and taking the stance that good music is good music whether it's created by Kelly Clarkson or Ian Curtis or Russell Batiste?
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 12:58:53 PM by japann:
 what the fuck no dead prez?
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 01:15:07 PM by ghillz:
 No Pixies. *is astounded* but hurrah for John Deacon. I've wanted to marry him from a young age.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 01:18:22 PM by bassman08:
 The two black rock-and-roll artists I can think of (in the present day, mind you), are Ben Harper and Kele Okereke from Bloc Party. It's sort of sad, really, that rock has become white dominated.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 01:25:13 PM by jnasseff:
 very disappointed at the exclusion of "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes"
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 01:32:31 PM by alrarow:
 i guess no one at stylus magazine has heard of a genre called "drum & bass".
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 01:38:28 PM by clonus13:
 After reading the whole list, I was kinda disappointed cuz I thought it was going to be basslines from actual bass guitars/double bass and not include synthesized-techno music. Am I the only one that was surprised Flea didn't get more spots? Also, I think Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused" should have been on there somewhere.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 01:54:44 PM by hutlock:
 clonus13: please note my earlier post that we didn't repeat artists -- hence Flea got one spot with RHCP, just like everyone else.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 02:29:13 PM by whiteboysushi:
 bassman, why is it "sad" that rock is white-dominated? I still don't really get what that's supposed to mean. Does Bloc Party sound different from other rock bands because Kele's black? They have a moderately distinctive sound, but no moreso than many other big-name indie bands (Modest Mouse, Interpol, et al). I just don't see how you can pine for whatever-it-is-that-you-think-is-missing-from-rock-music-due-to-the-absence-of-black-artists without being, at least on some level, prejudiced.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 02:37:05 PM by garlad1:
 Hmm. 1 John Mellencamp, no Boris the Spider, and no Bust a Move. I must be living in a parallel universe. Or parallel lines. Heart of Glass?
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 03:19:10 PM by bassman08:
 Whitboysushi, I'm just trying to say that it's a shame that there aren't more black people making rock music that make it sound distinctive. I think that the fact that Kele is black doesn't really make Bloc Party sound much different from other bands, but there have been some instances where the fact that they were black makes a huge difference in sound (see: Bad Brains).
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 03:34:45 PM by hometapes:
 Hendrix - Fire ? nowhere? no mention even in the comments? crazy.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 05:49:49 PM by NickSouthall:
 Stuff I completely forgot to vote for and feel really, really guilty about forgetting...


Deee-Lite - "Groove Is In The Heart"
The Beatles - "Baby You're A Rich Man"
The Stone Roses - "Fools Gold"
Marvin Gaye - "Oh Yeah"
Sly & The Family Stone - "I Want To Take You Higher"
Jackson Five - "I Want You Back
Primal Scream - "Kowalski", "Higher Than The Sun (A Dub Symphony In Two Parts)"
Miles Davis - "So What"
Talk Talk - "I Believe In You"
.o.rang - "Mind On Pleasure"
Radiohead - "Airbag"
Blur - "Girls & Boys"
Charles Mingus - "Better Get Hit In Yo' Soul"

Plus another ten dozen more if I'd started to go through the reggae and dub and further into the jazz.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 05:50:24 PM by NickSouthall:
 I mean "Right On" by Marvin Gaye.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 06:48:15 PM by mheumann:
 alrarow said, "i guess no one at stylus magazine has heard of a genre called 'drum & bass'." What about Smith & Mighty's "Bass is Maternal"? Sure, it's proto-drum and bass, but it's close enough to be recognizable as such.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 07:35:56 PM by TheBrad:
 alrarow: of course we've heard of drum 'n' bass. And there's none on the list. I don't understand the confusion.

Lot of good suggestions in the comments section. Anyone wanna compile a second list? For my part, I did nominate "Penny Lane," and I seconded "National Anthem," and I'd like to beg forgiveness from all offended parties that "For the Love of Money" wasn't number one. Or on the list. But interestingly, hardly anyone's disputed what's on the list, just what's off of it. For 50 years of modern popular music, I'd say that's not bad at all. Join us next year for "50 Greatest Lyricists of All Time," cos we judge our articles based on the number of comments received. Ta!
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 08:35:14 PM by whiteboysushi:
 bassman, it sounds like you just want to see more distinctive artists in rock music, period. Can't say I blame you, either... I just don't really care whether those distinctive artists are the crazy black guys from Bad Brains or the crazy white guys from the Dismemberment Plan.
 
Posted 09/16/2005 - 08:59:49 PM by Vykromond:
 NastyNasir: Both Pitchfork's original and revised "best-of-90s" lists contained hip-hop. Nice try, though.
 
Posted 09/17/2005 - 02:34:45 PM by unsaunsa:
 Oh well, no McCartney, it's hard to take this seriously then. No it's got nothing to do with 'my' basslines vs 'your' basslines subjectivity argument. This site is presenting apparently informed opinion on music by people that "forget" McCartney plays bass. Sad. Also, despite the fact that I'll get shouted down by indie blowhards for saying it, I think that "Turn Back Time" by Aqua has a great bassline. Makes the whole song work without one note too many. If it wasn't included though, it'd be no biggie. Not including McCartney though, well....
 
Posted 09/17/2005 - 08:08:51 PM by clonus13:
 Hutlock, sorry about that, I didn't know about that rule, kinda new to this site. But I'm still not sold on "Give It Away" as the best bassline from that band. Why not "Higher Ground" or "Around The World"?
 
Posted 09/17/2005 - 09:46:06 PM by bassman08:
 clonus: I think "Higher Ground" is good, if not cliche (although, that does beg the question of what makes a song cliche...). "Around The World" has a great intro but other than that it's just standard RHCP.
 
Posted 09/18/2005 - 02:02:25 AM by skuter666:
 What, no Bootsy? Not even of any kind, but especially the rubber dinosaur groove of "I'd Rather Be With You"?
 
Posted 09/18/2005 - 11:35:34 PM by AlexSegJr:
 Wow, no Macca? Come on now.
 
Posted 09/19/2005 - 03:52:18 AM by IanMathers:
 Yeah, some of us just plain don't like his playing very much. OH NOES!
 
Posted 09/19/2005 - 03:53:00 AM by IanMathers:
 And jhitting, I called you ignorant, not racist. Although that works too. And you're still wrong.
 
Posted 09/19/2005 - 12:28:51 PM by evaristo:
 “Billie Jean”, “Who is it?” (Michael Jackson), “Come Together” (Beatles), “So What?”, “Black Satin” (Miles Davis), “I Wish” (Stevie Wonder), “Chameleon” (Herbie Hancock), “Soul Makossa” (Manu Dibango), “Thank You for Talkin’ to Me Africa” (Sly & The Family Stone), “The Robots” (Kraftwerk), “Superbad” (James Brown), “Je taime… moi non plus” (Serge Gainsbourg).
 
Posted 09/20/2005 - 10:49:30 AM by jhitting:
 IanMathers--Ignorant people often try to throw around insults to make other people's arguments appear foolish. Watch...I can do the same thing since apparently I'm "ignorant, not racist" according to you. I won't back anything up, just insult you, which you'll find familiar. Ok, here goes: From your picture it looks like you aren't very healthy. Maybe you should leave your parents' basement and go to the gym. I'm afraid that, stylus critic or not, you might die of either a heart attack at a young age or some growth that lives under your belly flap (you know, the part that covers your penis). Oh wait, and aren't you Canadian? Hahahahahahahahahaha. Canadian, get it?
 
Posted 10/15/2005 - 06:28:04 PM by chrismonsen:
 What?! No Minutemen?! "The Glory of Man" needs a place along side "Damaged Goods"! Too little jazz on your list, but a well deserved place for Mingus. And good on you for adding the "top 10 rap-basslines".
 
Posted 10/20/2006 - 01:29:32 AM by ZakAce:
 "The two black rock-and-roll artists I can think of (in the present day, mind you), are Ben Harper and Kele Okereke from Bloc Party. It's sort of sad, really, that rock has become white dominated." I'm not sure whether Ben Harper is black or not. Anyway, what about TV On The Radio? They totally kick ass, and three of the four members are black! Bingo!
 
Posted 10/20/2006 - 07:24:20 AM by Murphs:
 Gene Symmons (KISS) - Sure know something Robbie Shakespear (Grace Jones) - Private life
 
Posted 07/11/2007 - 12:55:52 PM by colewills:
 I have to say that many of these songs are great, though the basslines are terrible. anyone could learn how to play these bass lines in a matter of hours. i play bass and theres hardly a slap in any of these songs. if you people want to hear a real bass line, look up "Les claypool". he is by far the sickest bass player and could fill every spot on this list. thanks.