The 50 Greatest Bass Players

The 50 Greatest Bass Players

Well, here we are again with another ‘greatest’ list. This time we’ve gone for those (often) unsung heroes, the boys at the back — and, interestingly, in this poll of polls, they are almost all men — who underpin the band. Along with their trusty band mate, the drummer, they are the rhythm section. Sometimes they step out into the spotlight, like Paul McCartney, Sting, Lemmy or Roger Waters. But as often as not, they are the guys in the shadows laying it down. Ask most any bass player what it is they do and it will be something along the lines of “I just play for the song.” That, of course, is why we sometimes don’t immediately notice what they do. As we heard one bass player say, “The best bass players make you notice the rest of the band’s virtuosity.” As usual, we trawled the internet and checked dozens of surveys of the greatest bass players and what you have here is not our opinion but the collective voice of people and polls from around the world. What is really nice is to see bass players from different musical genres represented here. There are many from rock, the majority in fact; but jazz bassists get a good look in with Ray Brown, Jaco Pastorius and of course the great Charles Mingus. Funk and soul have Louis Johnson, Verdine White, Larry Graham and Bootsy Collins. It’s also nice to see the brilliant James Jamerson, the master bassman from Motown’s Funk Brothers, making a good showing. Here's the list, counting down to No. 1, and our Spotify playlist running 1-50, featuring each bassist in one of their most notable recordings (either in their own name, with their band, or in one of their most famous sessions). So, who do you think should be No.1? Who do you think has been grossly overlooked? 50. Kim Gordon 49. Leland Sklar 48. Mike Rutherford 47. Donald 'Duck' Dunn 46. JJ Burnel 45. Bill Wyman 44. Nathan East 43. Louis Johnson 42. Roger Glover 41. Berry Oakley 40. Ray Brown 39. Verdine White 38. Sting 37. Willie Dixon 36. Tina Weymouth 35. Carol Kaye 34. Bernard Edwards 33. John Deacon 32. Marcus Miller 31. Phil Lesh 30. Simon Gallup 29. Duff McKagan 28. Carl Radle 27. Pino Palladino 26. Larry Graham Jr 25. Mark King 24. Aston 'Family Man' Barrett 23. Tony Levin 22. Billy Sheehan 21. Chris Wolstenholme 20. Lemmy 19. James Jamerson 18. Bootsy Collins 17. Stanley Clarke 16. Chris Squire 15. Charles Mingus 14. Phil Lynott 13. Roger Waters 12. Jaco Pastorius 11. Geezer Butler

10. Victor Wooten Victor Wooten 9. Cliff Burton Cliff Burton 8. Jack Bruce Jack Bruce sm 7. Steve Harris Steve-Harris-Machine-Gun-Bass 6. Les Claypool les-claypool 5. Paul McCartney Paul McCartney 4. Geddy Lee Rush-Geddy-Lee 3. Flea Flea 2. John Paul Jones John Paul Jones 1. John Entwistle John+Entwistle-1

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707 comments

        1. Patrick Filacchione

          Folks, Its spelled Casady. Jack Casady formerly of the Jefferson Airplane and now Hot Tuna should be in the top ten without question. BTW Jefferson Airplane had no rhythm section. See Jack Casady in action 7/18 at the Capital Theater Port Chester NY

          1. Rox

            There’s always got to be one. one what? a rude one! .Of course we know with exception(maybe) of the first post it’s casady, but, instead of the way you HAD to put it, couldnt you do what most people do put ‘yeah Im glad to see Casady, jack Casady of… on the list.” were you upset thinking someone might think it was David cassidy’s brother? or another Cassidy by mistake?

        1. Robert Richman

          Indeed follks; perennial winner of best bassist in Playboy Magazine’s highly regarded Jazz and Pop music poll, was like a brilliant lead bass player, climbing and winding his way around the gorgeous, soaring vocals of the Airplane’s gifted singers. Check out his solo around the 2:17 mark of this terrific live video: http://youtu.be/LwFR5fjs8m4

      1. Clive O'Neill

        Absolutely. The melodic, percussive and vibrant sound he had was great. Not only on Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna but also on tracks on Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland and other sessions with other artists. The guy is a genius. Mind you. I am glad to see Phil Lesh up there. He is a very unique voice on the bass. Both are Bay Area rocks. Or stalwarts if you prefer.

      2. Will Sullivan

        Jack Cassidy, from the Airplane and Hot Tuna, should be in the top 10, but he’s not even on the list! He was also the bass player on Jimi’s famous Voodoo Chile recording.

      3. Chris

        Jack should be number one if the Jazz players like Jaco weren’t on there. This list is a joke !!!
        If you are going to have Jazz Musicians on a list like this, you have to put them all at the top of the list. Come on. Paul M is better than Jaco ? Give me a break !!!!!

      1. Edward

        Victor is great….. However, I don’t see him as being better than several who have either been relegated to a far lower status than they SHOULD be, such as Billy Sheehan, (at #22, while LEMMY is at #20…. WTF? LEMMY?), or John Myung and Stu Hamm, who have been overlooked ENTIRELY. Victor IS great, but he certainly is NOT better than Sheehan, Myung, or Hamm….

        1. Chris

          Respectfully, you’re insane. Victor destroys Sheehan. Sheehan has nowhere near the musical vocabulary that Victor does. Victor is the best living bass player on the planet (Stanley Clarke probably a close second). Sheehan is great, and a super nice guy, but he simply could not do what Victor does. I have met and hung out with them both, and have seen them play in may scenarios. Sheehan can’t swing, and he is too much of a stylist.

      1. robbie hernandez

        I agree!….and what about the talented (singer, songwriter) and showmanship of JoJo Garcia of Los Lonely Boys and for his ever so deep and dynamic, thudding or vibrant, you could almost count the viibrations of the strings of Mel Schachers bass….of GRAND FUNK RR!

        1. Kenny Roberts

          You missed Mel Schacher (Grand Funk), who ruled the bottom end… and Chris Squire at #15? Who made up this list, cheerleaders and reality tv nonstars?

          1. Michael Martinez

            you mean Mel Schaeffer with Don Brewer and Mark Farner. Mel changed the way bass players held the bottom and also added great phrasing. Too sad we didnt make it much less the top ten. N
            ot many are better than him.

    1. Dan Wolfe

      And John Wetton. And James Dewar. And Peter Cowling. And Dave Hope. And Paul Newton. And Leo Lyons. And Peter Albin. And Jojo Garza. Ad infinitum… So many left off the list because they’re not better known, not not better. Only room for 50??!!!

      1. Python

        The only reason McCartney is rated as high as he is (like some of the others) is because of profile. I’ve never seen McCartney do anything as technical as Jaco Pastorius or Tal Wilkenfeld etc because his music style/genre never calls for it. Lets face it, McCartney is a pop musician. I have no doubt he’s a damn good muso but from a complex technical point of view Billy Sheehan or Chris Squire for example would smash him out of the park.

        1. Tmcg

          McCartney is a very, very good bassist. He is not a technical wizard, but very solid. He would still be on this list, I think, without being in the Beatles, and probably be regarded better as a pure player. Very emotional bass lines as well, and an innovator.

          Chris Squire, etc, of course, was a “better” bass player. They have Roger Waters above Chris Squire, which is wrong in terms of playing the bass, although Waters was the prime mover of a more popular band. Again, however, Waters is solid on the bass and very loud. Notice much lower on the list you have some very professionally oriented bassists like Mike Rutherford, not to speak of Pino Palladino a little higher up, buried, and very distinct, enjoyable bassists like Tina Weymouth as well. It’s a bit of a popularity contest.

    2. Eric Chatham

      So Les Claypool… I understand 6th is up there in a list of 50 but, come on below Flea? As far as talent. He writes most if not all Lyrics, most tunes, Self taught, Creates the claymation videos, Lead Singer and makes the bass the primary instrumental. No other band puts Bass in the front. Oh and Primus Sucks!

      1. David Joyce

        That’s because Claypool’s songs suck. His playing is so far removed from anything resembling normal bass lines that many people just scratch their heads as he chirps and thumps every fret of an 8 string monstrosity.

      1. acc

        I agree with Bruce, McCartney, Jones and Entwistle, the other six could be replaced with at least ten of the remainging forty and some who did not make the list. No way Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, Chris Squire, and Roger Waters should not be in the top 10

    1. Al

      Glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks Larry Taylor should be on this list. He’s in my personal top 10. Great player.

      Also, what about Jimmy Blanton? He should be on the list as well.

    1. Chris Storrier

      
      I suppose it’s down to personal taste….i don’t think that you can say one is better than the other…..musical taste,style and whatever. No body is going to agree on this one….

    2. Erik

      Clayton had to learn on the fly. When U2 first started he didn’t know what he was doing, he was just good at acting like he did. He never received any training until the mid 90’s. In an interview, Bono claimed that he was accepted into the group because he was the only one with an amp.

    3. Matt

      Agree 100%. It’s astounding to me that Adam Clayton never makes any of these lists. He’s been the rock solid backbone of the best rock band of the last 30 years, yet he gets zero recognition. Same with Larry Mullin. Also, Jack Bruce at #8??? Just stop…. top 3 minimum.

  1. YirmeYah bar YHVH Barraza

    NO Paul Goddard (Top 10 at least) and NO Oteil Burbridge (better than most on the list). McCartney not Top 10 and probably not Top 50. Berry Oakley better than most in this “Top 10″ and not just #41. Put Tal Wilkerson on that list, too. Roger Waters better than Stanley Clarke or Tony Levin? Puh-LEAZE! This list sucks.

    1. Craig

      Dude, McCartney revolutionized the place of the bassist in rock. That level of melody and inventiveness challenged every bassist after him. Bet if you asked any of the guys you mention, he’s Top Ten

      1. Mike

        Absolutely! McCartney took the bass mainstream and turned it into an instrument, interwoven with the guitars. He played chords. And he never even wanted to be the baseplayer! I think if you asked the players on this list to vote, he would have been number one.

    1. Mike Brown

      I agree , Walter Page’s omission reflects how little distance anyone is willing to go for the best and most creative bassist of Modern times (thanks Gabe) , and then there’s Pop’s Foster who invented the ‘walking’ bass line which led to Walter , boogie-woogie and rock n roll . These guys ‘made’ stuff. Although the bassist’s listed , and sub-listed are all worthy of being great in their own way .

    1. Dan Wolfe

      Victor Wooten is exceptional but I don’t see him driving Deep Purple. And I like apples better than oranges… except when I don’t. How can bass be quantified? These are all excellent players. Just how excellent depends on what kind of music YOU want to hear now

  2. Doug Baynton

    No Percy Jones, Ray Shulman or John Wetton???? Not even Jeff Berlin????
    Tina Weymouth only no.36?
    How come Entwhistle, Flea and McCartney are so high up? Talk about overrated….

    1. Ralph S

      Can’t believe anyone would not put Entwhistle at least in their top ten. I think he’s right where he belongs on this list – number one. Check the real deal out on “Live at Leeds”, especially the extended album with a complete “Tommy” set.

        1. Richard

          I like Geddy but I still think Entwistle is a little better and that’s not a knock on Geddy Lee by any means but Entwistle…some of these people on this list couldn’t even carry his bass

  3. Neil

    Chris Squire (of Yes) is the greatest bass player around and knocks the others into a cocked hat so why on earth is he only No.16??
    Also no mention of Mick Karn (RIP) hugely talented fretless bass virtuoso who was also better than the vast majority on the list. Just because the band was/is great doesn’t mean that the individuals are great musicians.

  4. Lasmono Hadiatmadji

    Gary Thain (uriah heep), Mel Scacher (gfr), Greg Lake (elp), Stu Cook (ccr),
    Peter Cetera (chicago), John Taylor (duran duran) & David Brown (santana) should be on the list !

      1. Louis Almond

        I never knew much about bass players because they were unsung heroes, but growing up in the late 60’s/early 70’s, my ears really picked up on John Entwistle of the Who and Mel Schaker of Grand Funk as standing out and dominant … but I am NOT a musician!!!

  5. Craig

    these lists are always a crapshoot but seriously? The dude from Iron Maiden can’t hold a candle to bassists like Bruce Thomas from the Attractions. And if you want power and melody, Bruce Foxton from the Jam is a notable exception, much better than Sting

    1. Carlos

      Definitely Porcaro and also Timothy B Schmidt (eagles). Good bass is down there holding the sound together not up in the treble trying to play lead on bass and muddying the whole thing.

    1. Raybe

      Just like all the drummers polls this is just a popularity contest, John Wetton should be high up on this list but there are Jazz Fusion bass players who can play rings around all these guys with one hand tied behind their backs

  6. David Bradford

    I’ve only recently found her but I do feel that a rare girl bass player should get a mention on the list……. ” Tal Wilkenfeld ” she is awesome and can’t wait to seeing her live.. xxx

  7. brian galway

    very interesting indeed , as i’m planning a trip to Goa so i’m trying to jot down as many tracks as possible to possibly do on a karaoke

  8. John Bytell

    Phelix Paplardi,, outstanding bass man with one of the few 3 piece giants Mountain and producer for Cream. Jack Bruce would have been my no. 1. Not many people could have battle sessions with “GOD” like he did.. R.I.P.

  9. KeninMiami

    I’m old school. While it’s hard to pass on Jaco, Mingus, Entwistle and Jack Cassady, I have to go with the groove master…Donald Duck Dunn. While I was influenced by the others Dunn’s “style” was my cornerstone. He wasn’t a “showman” but then I’ve never been impressed with showmen in the rythmn section, that’s the front mans gig.

    1. Mikey Nails!

      I scanned through the list, finding almost everyone I thought should be on here. Then I did a page search for Jerry Scheff. Which brought me to your comment.

      Agreed.

  10. Craig Sawyer

    As with any list of this sort, I don’t get too excited or aggravated over the ‘order’ of the honorees, and the other commenters have pointed out that several phenomenal players didn’t ‘make’ the list. All the same I find it ironic that of my two favorite bassists, one topped the list and the other isn’t mentioned. Those two being John Entwistle and Jack Casady.

  11. Geoffrey Hansplant

    Some great bassists here to be sure, but here are five more worthies:

    Jack Casady – Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna
    Mark Andes – Spirit
    Ken Forssi !!!!! – Love
    Rod Clements – Lindisfarne
    John Lodge – Moody Blues

    1. rad5539@att.net

      Oteil Burbridge definitey belongs in the top 5 if not #1 and he is not even listed. Phil Lesh also should be near the top. What about Allen Woody?

      1. karmik

        and how about Mike Gordon of Phish ………? That guy is a monster on bass. Also Jay Mosley from The String Cheese Incident is great too, as well as John Wolochuk from the Canadian band KLAATU, who everyone thought was The Beatles in a secret reunion in 1977. ……….and how about MOE’s Rob Derhak ……….? another great bassist. There are sooooo many great players …………too many to mention. But i gotta say that Oteil is a real killer ………..

  12. r

    I dont know whats worse the list or the comments oh yeah the comments it a rock list forget the jazz guys get your own list & seriously bob dylan but there is jack Bruce and some of the others hover around 27 and the rest should just go sit with kim Deal & stu stu stucliff and because you dont know why thats why your picks are based on the period genre you only know.

  13. ATRIII

    No Pat Sullivan.
    No Dennis Dunaway???
    I know it’s hard to narrow down this type of list, so I just thought their names should at least be mentioned here.

  14. JOHN SUMNER

    You have one female on this list. Have you not seen Tal Wilkenfeld play with Jeff Beck? She’s better than 3/4 of that list and cute as hell too.

  15. James D

    The players on the list, and omissions are hardly anyone’s fault – they were collected from various polls on the internet.
    Interesting to see from the comments that personal biases cloud reasonable thoughts. Far too many are not listening to the bass players, or do not like the genre that they play, and it is preventing them to make fair comparisons.
    All I know is that there are some wonderful bass players on the list. Who is the best? I haven’t a clue. I know who I like, but that doesn’t make them the best, just my opinion. If someone has been left off, so what? You like them, you attend their concerts and buy their recordings if they are still alive , when it comes down to it, that is all that matters.
    I have had to re-appraise John Entwistle. He is very good, and I failed to give him credit where it was genuinely due. Is he the best? I really don’t mind if others rate him lower. I have seen the man play, and if others put him at 51 or 151, it matters not, he was a fine musician, and if you enjoy the Who music, he is just one of the reasons that cause you to enjoy them.

    1. karmik

      ahhhh yesss ………you are the true voice of reason here in the comments section of this list.

      after all, there is no such thing as “best” ………..it’s too subjective ………..people like what they like, and have different attitudes about what makes a player The Best ! ………….frankly, there are some players on this list i am just not familiar with ……….we can’t know and like everything or everybody. …….it’s impossible ……………. there’s just too much and too many …. Personal choice is just that ….personal. special and important to any individual. That’s what makes us – US !

    2. Ken Soderlund

      To your argument, any list excluding John McVie, in my opinion, is not valid. McVie honed his craft with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers ~ a group that influenced almost every rock band in the 60’s. And, with Fleetwood Mac? …enough said.

  16. Kim Jørsing

    Abraham Laboriel from Koinonia
    Tal Winkenfeld , one of the few female bassist in the world, born 1986.
    Richard Bona from Cameroun , played with Pat Metheny

    1. Danny P

      Heck, I’m gonna add about anyone who played bass with Tull. Much can be said about Ian Anderson, but he always brings the best musicians. Tull bassists were always expected to be well rounded – even down to wielding the stand-up bass when needed. Listen to the many renditions of “Bouree” for examples.

  17. Colin Duncan

    I’ve been playing bass for over 40 years and my heroes have always been Jack Bruce and Abraham Laboriel. Why isn’t Abe there? One of the most awesome bassists ever. Guitar Player Magazine described him as “the most widely used session bassist of our time”

  18. mudsharkable

    A list like this has got to be impossible to make. There’s no way you can take into account so many accomplishments by so many individuals over such a long time. There are so many great bassists that have come and gone and still linger on. No one even considers someone like Dusty Hill but he has made an indelible mark on history none the less.

  19. Mark Waller

    find it hard to believe that Noel Redding not there, nice to see Flea as high up. Also would like to see Jim Lea get an honourable mention, great bass player and all round musician.

    1. Sergey

      Composes of list just have no ears! Noel Redding, Bill Wyman, Jim Lea, Mel Shacher at least should be in (IMHO in top 20) Roll this shit carefully in tube and put in your a… back

  20. nickel1

    Entwistle was phenomenal. Easily my first choice. I liked the list though was surprised no Mike Watt or Doug Wimbish. Yeah, Jack Cassidy too. Some big time omissions. I’m not a metal guy but Steve Harris is phenomenal and maiden certainly not your average metal band

  21. Rich

    Of course most of these guys listed need to be mentioned BUT the order is way off.

    All you need mention about Chris Squire is listen to “Sound Chaser” to see how versatile he is, or anything by Geezer Butler to see that he’s an inventive genius. Then of course there’s the guys not mentioned, like Jack Cassidy, Greg Lake and Ian Hill (Judas Priest) that must be on this list. But nice try.

  22. Terry Mueller

    We all have our favorites, and we know this isn’t a scientific ranking- just a poll of polls.

    BUT, Prince’s new bassist, Ida Kristine Nielsen of 3rd Eye Girl (and NPG) is the best “newcomer” since Tal Wilkenfeld. And, Prince is right up there, too.

  23. Jay

    I want some of what y’all are drinking!! The order is whack and bad!! Why not include John Wetton; King Crimson!, Greg Lake; ELP, RON CARTER Mile Davis, etc!!! , Rick Danko The Band, Jack Cassady; Jefferson Airplane, Hugh Hopper; The Soft Machine, Adam Clayton; U2!!!, Larry Taylor, Canned Heat, John May all, etc!!! And one of my personal favorites Roy Estrada, Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, LITTLE FEAT. YOUR LIST isn’t worth crap!

  24. Jay

    Sorry about the confusion. It looks like there was another Jay that posted at almost the same time, but I have to agree with the first Jay and also include Rick Danko on the list.

  25. Steve

    Great Bassists should be known for what they contributed to the sound of a song. Its one thing if its a great song but if the song is notable because of how the Bass stands out and is unique, that is a true ‘top’ Bassist. Carol Kaye and James Jamerson and Joe Osborn (not even on the list) should be top ten, if you don’t know who they are you know ‘nothing’ about great Bass players. Others that should be on the list: Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick, Allan Spenner (many great recordings listen to the Jesus Christ Superstar 1970 album) and Graham Maby from the Joe Jackson Band.

  26. Jim

    I could quibble with the order (who couldn’t?) but my favorites were in the Top 10. In order not be completely dull and non-controversial, I’d have Flea and Geddy trade positions :)

  27. Jerry

    This list does suck. You got Donald Duck Dunn and Nathan East almost at the bottom. Have you ever listened to Peter Cetera work with early Chicago. Who you guys been listening to.

    1. Mark

      It’s nice to see someone else appreciate Cetera. The first 4-5 Chicago albums were stellar and he was a damned good player back then. The syrupy crap he put out later can’t take away from the genuinely brilliant playing he did in those early days.

  28. Mo Trukdriver

    Good list. I’m sure there are many other awesome bass player out there and everyone has their favorites or opinions on who falls where in the list. Personally, I would put Getty Lee as #1 and maybe flip flop John Entwistle with Flea but really, all of them are fantastic musicians. I was torn between Getty Lee and John Paul Jones at the #1 spot since Jones is so much more than just a bass player so a coin toss was in order. Lee got it. Seeing a lot of those names on the list and names in the comments brought back many good memories.

  29. S. Machado

    Peter Mars Cowling (Pat Travers Band), Leon Wilkeson (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Bob Daisley(Ozzy Osbourne & like ten other bands he was in) these guys are fantastic & even the guys that had to replace them were great to be able to play their lines correctly! These polls are usually a bunch of crap anyway!

    1. G Hester

      Having grown up in the 60’s I agree with Jack Bruce and John Entwistle – However I agree that Leon Wilkeson should definitely be on the list – what he did on base for Lynyrd Skynyrd is beyond belief and to not be included – criminal

  30. biff

    You forgot Percy Jones, Ray Shulman, John Wetton, Greg Lake, David Pegg, Miroslave Vitous, Al Johnson, Michael Henderson, Dave Holland, Randy Jo Hobbs, Ralphe Armstrong, Jonas Helborg, John Lodge, and Glen Cornick … in fact, this list is devoid of a host of bassists that made HUGE contributions to 70’s Progressive Rock and Jazz Rock. So therefore, it is BOGUS even though there are some very good players on this list.

    Try again, do more research, and dump the merely famous who were mediocre bassists at best, like frigging McCartney and Sting.

    1. Nitases

      Yeah..what he said. I love McCartney but i wouldnt call him a great bass player. I play for a cover band and i would definitely be a great bassist over McCartney. No eddie jackson, whom has chops but doesn’t need to prove it every song. No glen Hughes. Its harder to play bass and sing than it is to play guitar. Ive done both. Chris squire and geddy lee should be at the top. They make what they do look easy. To me, these guys can do anything that the rest of the guys on the list can do and sound great. Just because you are famous or have a memorable bass line in a famous song doesn’t make you great. Steven Santos of Lurid Jester has a very eclectic mix as well.

  31. kevi k

    obviously this list was compiled by some young asshole who doesn’t know much about music – sting actually made this list and Jack Cassidy didn’t ????

  32. Michael C

    Abe Laboriel was THE go to session bassist for several decades. Pop, rock, funk, jazz, etc. It didn’t matter. He could not only play it all but he created the hooks you heard all of those other guys use when they took it out on the road. He was the Quincy Jones of bass players and should have been in the top ten.

    Dusty Hill and Tommy Shannon deserve a spot on the list as well. And Willie Dixon should have been in the top five.

  33. Dougboblas

    These lists should make provision for more than one player on the same ranking.
    Dominic da Piazza and Ransome Knowling both sing for me, but the man who has utterly redefined the modern form of the instrument is Barry Guy.

  34. DJC

    Most of the names on this list are average. Top five
    5. Cliff Burton
    4. John Entwistle
    3. Flea
    2. Steve Harris
    1. Geddy Lee

    BTW, what about Jeff Pilson, Mark Anthony, and Billy Sheehan? They’d blow about 80% of the guys on this list right off stage!

    1. brad

      WTF you put flea before Entwistle hes far better than flea, to be honest hes far better than geddy lee as well. he revolutionized the sound of the bass and showed how a bass could be used in music, inspiring many including geddy but will always out shine geddy

  35. Phil

    Where is Dave Schools? #WSMFP, #HardWorkingAmericans

    I mean c’mon… When someone pokes the “bear” and makes him angry he “get’s down to business, shall we?… It’s time to stop plyin games”….

  36. Scott Taylor

    How about : Timothy B. Scmidt of ” The Eagles ” ? Great Bassist , Terrific High Vocals , Wonderful Harmony … What MORE could You Want ! ! !

  37. pierre diotte

    Two of the most underated and sadly forgotten amazing rock bassists of all time.Dennis Donaway from the original Alice Cooper band and the late Gary Thain from Uriah Heep.

  38. Dennis B

    Any collection of “greatest bass players” that doesn’t have James Jamerson at the top of the list is not serious and probably just a popularity contest. Carole Kaye, maybe #2. Everyone else tied for 3rd.

    1. Danny P

      As a bassist – yeah. Paul McCartney is a great in the rock world, no doubt, but bass is just what he did because The Beatles needed a bassist.

      McCartney has a bigger musical impact, but strictly speaking, Flea is hard to top as a bassist.

  39. Paul Patrick Martin

    Gerry McAvoy from Rory Gallagher’s band, Dee Murray from Elton John’s band, Rick Richards from The Georgia Satellites – how can you only choose 50? Great to see John Entwistle on top, and Steve Harris too!

  40. Keith Deer

    McCartney is a gifted, performer, writer and multi instrumentalist. But he wasn’t even the best bassist in the Beatles. How is he 40 places better that Donald “Duck” Dunn?

  41. Starblind

    You kidding? Steve on 7st position and McCartney on 5? :DDDDD im gonna suicide now ! )
    i think some ppl have no idea what Steve doing in IRON MAIDEN ) hes not only bassist hes a poet ) 80% of maiden lyric made by steve ) assholes ! world underestimates what iron maiden made !

  42. Don

    This list is invalid simply because Bill Wyman is on here! Bill Wyman was a horrible player. What about John Lodge of the Moody Blues? Listen to “Story In Your Eyes”. Jerry Penrod is the original bassist of Iron Butterfly and one of the best I ever heard, better than 95% of this list. Listen to “Unconscious Power”.

  43. Chris Sullivan

    Uh, George Porter should be in there. Let’s give some love to Jimmy Smith and Jack Mcduff while we’re at it. They play with their FEET while ripping it up on the organ. There’s scores of jaw dropping TUBA players in New Orleans that deserve some respect. Consider broadening your research next time. Don’t even get me started on CUBAN bass players, but check out Cachaito and cachao fer sure.

  44. Frank Sanger

    No list can be serious without Ron Carter on it at least somewhere. Why not try again asking people who know music. Personally I’d have Ray Brown a lot higher.

  45. Bob Blunden

    Some on the list are no more than good but great? Where is Jet Harris the guy presented with a bass guitar from Fender for doing more to introduce the bass guitar to the UK and Europe etc than any other musician. Sounds like your judges are a bit insular.

  46. Robert Grant

    surely someone must have heard of Paul Samwell Smith…Noel Redding deserves more notice..anyone heard of Bill Black..rings a rockabilly bell..and Willy Dixon deserves to be higher.

  47. John H

    It’s a POLL OF POLLS people!!!!!
    How many people here are moaning at these guys because their “bassman” is not on the list.
    HE’S NOT ON THE LIST BECAUSE HE’S NOT ON ALL THE OTHER LISTS!!!!!
    AND IF YOU WANT TO SEE HIM ON THE LISTS THEN GO AND BUY SOME MORE OF HIS BLOODY RECORDS!!!!
    Idiots.

    1. luana

      Oh thank you Master, and excuse us if we are not idiots as your level!
      i didn’t know thecnycal know how isn’t a parameter to make a list of best 50 bass players,
      otherwise it’s symplier make a list of 50 bassplayers in alphabetical order.

  48. Peter

    Gary Willis, Rocco Prestia, Federico Malaman, Hadrien Feraud, Henrik Linder, Sharay Reed, Matthew Garrison, Alain Caron, Steve Bailey, Victor Bailey, Tom Kennedy, Felix Pastorius, Anthony Jackson, Damian Erskine, Tetsuo Sakurai etc…

  49. PHILIP ARNOLD

    Without a doubt John Entwisel! Jack Bruce and Greg Lake aren’t far behind. John was never in the limelight, but when he had a 10 – 15 minute solo at one of their gigs everyone’s mind got blown away!

  50. rémi

    i think that’s a big joke because when you see flea and steve harris in the top ten and pastorius, marcus miller, graham, bootsy etc..Under thereAnd where are Ron Carter, will lee etc..?

  51. Burl

    Obviously a popularity contest. And I may be guilty of the same, somewhat. But Abraham Loboriel is not even on the list and probably should be listed at #1. Peter Cetera of the early Chicago recordings and Fielder of BS&T have more technique in their mistakes than the best of most of the ones on this list. Carole Kaye indirectly taught most of these people how to play!

  52. Eric

    pretty clumsy list.. you have got to be kidding..McCartney ??
    show me bass players that want to emulate Entwistle.. = none
    show me bass players that want to emulate Jack Bruce = everyone

    1. Chubbs Brickhaus

      Felix Pappalardi inspired me to pick up the bass.
      James Jamerson is the King.
      Carol Kaye is the Queen.
      Bruce Thomas is my personal fave.
      All great players on the list, regardless of ranking.
      Anyone who plays bass makes the world a groovier place!

  53. Aaron Sinwell

    LES CLAYPOOL could play the music of every other bassist on this. He has also been more innovative than most. He even invented other bass instruments to get more sounds. With all the amazing things he does on the bass, he still somehow manages lead vocals…

  54. Marion P

    Personally I thought that Dee Murray was a terrific bass player and Mark King was pretty good to. though not as good as he was.. I didn’t think much of Paul McCartney at all as a bassist, nor as a singer for that matter, I do agree about john Entwistle though he was great.

  55. Rolf

    Lists like this will allways be a matter of taste, but I really can`t see how Duff Mckegean can be in it, when John Myung from Dream Theater is not.

  56. KARL CUNLIFFE

    I think if you asked the majority of still living bassists on the list they would say Entwistle was the best as most of them were highly influenced by him. More importantly than this list is the Bassist of the Milennium which was also won by Entwistle.
    You will have to wait a long time before the next one comes around.
    Well done once again to The Ox credit were credit is due!

  57. Nitases

    So this is just a popularity contest and has no bearing of great bass players. Geddy Lee and Chris Squire can play everything the rest of the guys on the list play. It doesnt matter if i like these two guys or not.

  58. Dale Madaczky

    Tal Wilkenfeld who’s played with Jeff Beck among others is a tremendous young bass player. She can play rings around many of the people on this list.

  59. Neil L

    Firstly, I think perhaps the list should be read as ‘The 50 Greatest Bass players by virtue of their popularity’, With this in mind, Macca is well justified in being where he is, otherwise I would struggle with him being in that position when there are, or have been, many far superior bass players around. My own list would have to include Jack Cassidy, Doug Pinnick, Richard Sinclair, Jonas Reingold, Colin Moulding and Kasim Sulton, and I would have Jack Bruce sharing the No.1 spot with the Ox if possible.

  60. Batey

    I had to check my calendar. This reads like an April Fools prank. Sklar, Dunn, East, and Louis Johnson in the bottom 10?!?! Jamerson BARELY makes top 20. Jaco isn’t top 10, much less top 3.

    No Bob Babbitt?!?! No Joe Osborne?!?!

    “How to Prove You Know Nothing about Influencial Bassists in 50 Easy Steps”

    1. karmik

      Definitely Joe Osborne ……………. he’s played on more hits than most of these other players combined ………….. Carol Kaye, Chuck Rainey, Herbie Flowers Donald Dunn James Jamerson, Pino Palladino, Tony Levin, Lee Sklar, Bernard Edwards, Will Lee, Larry Knechtel……… these were/are the studio greats that define/d an era of great music………….

  61. Damian G

    Mani (Gary Mounfield) from The Stone Roses and Primal Scream should be in there. Written some of the most iconic base lines. I would also have expected Darryl Jones to be in there too. Just sayin…

  62. Sean B

    Paul Goddard of the Atlanta Rhythm Section should be in the top ten. Go listen to the bass solo in “Another Man’s Woman” . It’s the best solo in rock history. Also Felix Pappalardi, Jack Casady, Tommy Caldwell, and John Wetton belong on here.

  63. Morgan

    Don’t have enough hours in the day to read all comments, but I don’t see Joey DeMaio from Manowar, nor Niels Henning Ørsted Petersen (NHØP). Different styles, awesome bass players!

  64. Herschel

    You got #1 and 2 correct. The rest of the list needs a serious re-shuffle. Glaring omissions are Jack Casady and Felix Pappalardi (top 10 for me). Very subjective topic. Fun, nonetheless.

  65. Pat

    I think these 3 would put most of them to shame. John Myung from Dream Theater, Billy Sheehan from Steve Vai’s Band, and Stu Hamm.. Who makes up these list?

    1. Bill Zahn

      Breeze, you were the first to mention Chuck Rainey. All of the players say he was an influence. NHOP only came up once and did not see Christian McBride at all. This is not an objective list.

  66. Bruce

    As a bass player of 40 years myself, along the lines of Mel Schacher and Andy Fraser, the late Joe Schermie of Three Dog Night fame was really good. Great bass lines and tone. Will never get the respect he deserves.

    1. Dominic Pennachio

      Mel is a legend, truly one of a kind. Joe wrote great melodies which I would play on my record player at 45 so I could learn the lines. It was easier to hear at the higher rpm. Never been to Spain and Shambala were particularly melodic.

  67. Roger Dale

    John McVie and Mike Fleetwood have often been described as one of the best rhythm sections around – wasn’t all Mick Fleetwood was it? Maybe not top 10 for McVie but definitely top 50.

  68. Phil

    Where is jean jacques burnel? Best bass player from the punk era as far as I’m concerned. Fat, heavy riffs that drove the rhythm with no pretentiousness.

    1. Glenn

      JJ Burnel is there at 46, should be higher of course, but where is Peter Hook? Bill Wyman is outstanding on The Brussels Affair and Lemmy deserves to be there just for his performance on Space Ritual. Where is Overend Watts? Kim Deal?

  69. Billy

    I thought that Jaco might be a little higher and I agree with Cris. I don’t even think Paul should be on the list. He really didn’t even write much for the Beatles. Check out the Lyrics on John’s song about him called, “How do You Live With Yourself.” Also, his Post-Beatle songs were pathetic, like: “The Girl is Mine” (a duet with Michael Jackson) and “You Think People Would Have Had Enough With Silly Little Love Songs” and the list goes on and on—real R&R ha,ha. George and Ringo agreed too and they were right there. I think there music was much better than Paul’s CRAP after they broke up too. Check out the on John’s song about Paul, they’re awesome and true too.I thought that Jaco might be a little higher and I agree with Cris. I don’t even think Paul should be on the list. He really didn’t even write much for the Beatles. Check out the Lyrics on John’s song about him called, “How do You Live With Yourself.” Also, his Post-Beatle songs were pathetic, like: “The Girl is Mine” (a duet with Michael Jackson) and “You Think People Would Have Had Enough With Silly Little Love Songs” and the list goes on and on—real R&R ha,ha. George and Ringo agreed too and they were right there. I think there music was much better than Paul’s CRAP after they broke up too. Check out the on John’s song about Paul, they’re awesome and true too.

  70. Peter Nielsen

    Too many really good bass players not on the list. I guess it should have been a Top 100 list instead. I especially miss Felix Pappalardi on this list.

  71. Eric Wright

    Ron Carter, is an American jazz double w his appearances on over 2500 albums make him one of the most recorded bassist in jazz history Carter is also an acclaimed

  72. Jessica

    Overall not a bad list, I would switch Bill Wyman and Paul McCartney though, Wyman was far better and his bass lines on many Stones songs from the 70’s were just damn sexy! Entwistle will always be #1!

  73. Eric Wright

    Ron Carter, is an American jazz double. His appearances on over 2,500 albums make him one of the most recorded bassist in jazz history. Carter is also an acclaimed cellist who has recorded numerous times on that instrument he was elected to the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 2012

  74. Jim Hare

    These are all great players, I don’t think you could or should put them in an order of best to worst. Some are innovators, some are technically awesome, some are writers and creators of amazing bass, and some are just great influences. If it were me, guys like Billy Sheehan would be farther up the list, but that doesn’t mean he’s more important than Paul, Geezer, or Geddy. I just like the way he writes and plays. It’s ridiculous to say that one guy is better than another if he’s expressing himself though the art of music. There are many I think should be on the list that aren’t, John Taylor, Tommy Shannon, Stuart Ham, Michael Anthony, Rudy Sarzo, John Myung, Dave Larue, Timothy B. Schmidt, Tal Wilkenfold, John McVee, Ross Valory Marco Mendozza, Gene Simmons or Tom (T-bone) Wolk. All of which are deserving to be on the list and that’s just the rock guys.

  75. duckman

    No list as short as 50 is going to include people that others think were left out that should have been included. Nice effort, but Gerry McAvoy certainly belongs in the top 50. Keeping up with Rory Gallagher was not a task for the timid. Mel Schacher of GFR fame. Maybe expand the list to 75 or 100 next time. Might have a better chance to honor more fine musicians. Surely the list must’ve started out at 250 or 300…How do you decide who gets whittled down off the list? Tuff job…

  76. Gary

    Hugh Hopper indeed. What about Lee Jackson, John Greaves, Rockette Morton, Janick Top, Richard Sinclair, Bill McCormick, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Trefor Geronwy ? So many missed…

  77. Mark

    This is not a list of the best 50 bass players, but a list of ‘famous’ bass players. Where’s Norman Watt Roy? Stefan Lessard? They are both pure masters of their craft and not even listed.

  78. Stefan

    Muzz Skillings and Doug Wimbish are bad motherfunkers, and at least one of them should have been on this list. I guess not too many people are fans.

  79. NFL5151

    Carol Kaye at #35! Some lists rightfully have her at #1. This studio musician brought classical & jazz training to rock, pop & soul bass. She came up with the bass lines & performed on famous hits: the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”; the Righteous Brothers’ “You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and “Soul and Inspiration”; Sonny and Cher’s “The Beat Goes On” and “I Got You Babe”; Joe Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright”; and “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” by Simon and Garfunkel. In addition, Kaye has also performed music for TV and film, including the theme for Mission Impossible. Check this out: http://www.laweekly.com/music/carol-kaye-is-the-greatest-bass-player-you-probably-never-heard-of-5499694

  80. Tom E.

    Just to add my two cents I think Robbie Shakespeare, John G. Perry, Stu Hamm, Frank Fischer, Pekka Pohjola should all be included somewhere on this list.

  81. tom E.

    Just adding my two cents: I think Pekka Pohjola, John G. Perry, Frank Fischer,Stu Hamm, Robbie Shakespeare, Bill Rea should all be on the list somewhere. And if you haven’t heard of them then you should check them out.

  82. Joe Lac

    Another vote for Graham Maby for inclusion. Go back and listen to Joe Jackson band on I’m The Man and Look Sharp albums. Bass driven, man. And that may not have even been his best work from a very versatile career

  83. Peter

    How can you miss out John Gustafson. Most top bass players would have him in their top 20!

    What about Paul Dean (Jerusalem), one of the innovators of what later became Metal, Doom and Stoner.

  84. Mike Arsham

    You can always nit-pick with a list like this, and this one is not bad, but Israel “Cachao” Lopez was also a huge influence on other musicians in many genres and seems like a major omission

  85. Adrian

    I have always been a big fan of bass players and when I say this listing I had to go down the list. I was starting get worried when I didn’t see John Entwistle untill … number 1! He is the most fantastic bass player I have ever seen – Quadraphenia plays in my head when I hear his name. Some real greats on here: Mingus, East, Lee, Miller, McCartney, Bruce…. I have to agree with earlier remarks regarding Jack Casady. I have seen him play in each decade since the 1970s and I am always impressed and disappointed with him not making this Top 50. (I’ll throw in a plug for Dave Holland and Christian McBride.) Good list – great bass players!

  86. steve

    Hmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!

    Too many.

    AND

    Should be by music category IE: the absence of Nathan East (Fourplay) shows that it is not a fair list baed on ability. Where Jimmy Haslip or anybody who’s good enough to play with Robben Ford or Larry carlton probably the 2 most skilled players in the world.

    Entwistle at #1 ROCK bass player I wouldn’t disagree with but ardent Chris Squire fans (I am one) might.

    So for example how about
    Top 30 Jazz players
    Top 30 Hard Rock
    ” Prog Rock
    ” Pop
    ” Blues

    etc.

    Now you have a fair comparison based o actual ability vs popularity and avoid all the stupid venting and opinions on here that nobody cares about.

    You can’t compare Nathan East to John Entwistle or Paul McCartney but you can to Jaco Pastorius

    Nuff Said11111

  87. Ernie V

    Any Geezer Butler #11?? Just past Jaco?? Really?? Might as well have Gene Simmons in there if we are gonna be ridiculous about this whole thing!!

  88. J-Rock

    What a bullshit popularity contest. There are certainly more than 50 bass players out there better than Kim Gordon, Les Claypool is miles better than Paul McCartney and John Paul Jones and John Entwistle. Every list of greatest musicians is always limited to the few big rock players that these ignorant writers are aware of. What about jazz bassists? Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke could run circles around any of the top 10, same with Mingus, Dave Holland, Ron Carter, Scott Lafaro, etc.

  89. pat

    This list is just crazy. Billy Sheehen should be in the top 5. Also John Myung from Dream Theater should be top 5. McCartney not that great. Half of these so called great bass players played in good bands that does not make them great. Also Larry Taylor from Canned Heat listen to the Refried Boogie Tune.

  90. 4strings4music

    I had a lot of fun looking at the list. Well, well, well… What are the criteria ? The haircut, the sound, the bass guitars brands ?! Definitely not music, or not only. The sequence, not to mention the absents, is so ridiculous. I’m wondering if the people who voted have the slightest idea of what’s corresponding to the bass traclk when they listen to a record…
    Again : very funny, thanks a lot !

  91. Chris

    hmmm…how can you quantify sound It’s subjective so who’s to say who’s best we are talking about, your favorites my favorites..Steve down the streets favorirte? But you could certainly quantify this list according to success which would mean Paul McCartney would be #1, prob Sting #2, Adam Clayton #3, Flea #4 and so on. I like Oteil and Victor wooten, Steve Bailey is quite awesome but thats me. :) These list suck!

  92. Doug

    The late Chris Squires should have been a top 5 selection, top 10- at worst. He was the driving force behind Yes, that made them the prog rock stars they became. Like others, I too think that Greg Lake and John Wetton should have made the list. Someone from the smooth urban jazz genre that should have mad the list is the late great NBA star Wayman Tisdale. I saw him live, and was a real master on the bass.

  93. Nicholas Cressotti

    This list is a joke. No Walter Page, Slam Stewart, or Jimmy Blanton? No Bakithi Kumalo or Chuck Rainey or David Hood?!? I’m not saying all the people on this list aren’t wonderful bass players, I’m just saying some of them are definitely not on my list of the 50 greatest!! What about new guys like Hadrien Feraud or greats like John Pattitucci???!? This is a joke.

  94. Cormael Lia

    John Taylor of Duran Duran … just leave the DD hysteria out and listen to a genuine solid and awesome bassist! Rio are the best bass lines I ever came across!

  95. Steeler Bob

    Obviously, a list of 50 all time great
    bassists requires 52 slots!
    Therefore a will add Felix Papalardi
    and at NUMBER ONE…

    DRUM ROLL PLEASE………………………….

    MR. JACK CASADY.

  96. Wajd

    If it’s a list of bass-guitar players, why mixing between great bassists and great musicians???
    Roger Waters is a great musician, a good bass player but not a phenomenal one to be in the 13th place just after Jaco Pastorius and above bassists like Tony Levin and Billy Sheehan … and why Roger Glover is always underrated???
    Where is Glenn Hughes???
    Who make these lists??? :P

  97. david

    Has nobody else found or listened to TAL WILKENFELD, she is an awesome BASS PLAYER ( ask Jeff Beck ) and not on your list.. Therefore your list is very incomplete.. David

  98. A

    Patrick Djivas from PFM? Ray Shulman from Gentle Giant? Zia Geelani from Ozric Tentacles? And ROGER WATERS made the list??? One of the least talented bass players ever!

  99. dakmitch

    I know this is just me being picky, but I would put Claypool number 2, his creativity and mastery of all things bass make it simple. He shreds any strings you put in his hands.

  100. Paul Day

    Everyone posting wants their favourite on the list, which contains great technicians and great innovators. There’s no point arguing about the names, only the order and the omissions. For me, the great innovator and extraordinary technician who is missing is the wonderful Colin Hodgkinson-look him up, lie back and listen…..

  101. Jim C

    Chris Squire is top 5 easy. Jon Camp from Renaissance not even on the list? Ridiculous. He is top 5 and incredible. Paul McCartney number 5 is laughable. Otherwise the list is good.

  102. Joel Gelfand

    There are no “best” just favorites. For me it’s a tie for 1st: Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, John Entwistle, Felix Papilardi, Jack Cassidy, and Greg Lake.

  103. Edvard Mun

    I’m not a musician, just a avid rock consumer of 40+ years. My criteria is not as studied as many of the responses, just probably just fandom that guides me.
    First, I loved watching and listening to Chris Squire play, have all of Yes and his solo on vinyl.
    Tony Levin has intrigued me from the earliest King Crimson and Peter Gabriel days.
    Being a forever Kinks fan, Pete Quaife, was a favorite though he was only on the earliest albums.
    Greg Ridley’s Spooky Tooth contributions all appreciated.
    Dickie Peterson of Blue Cheer caught my ear early on, e.g., Saturday Freedom. Here’s what Neil Peart said about him: “Dickie Peterson was present at the creation — stood at the roaring heart of the creation, a primal scream through wild hair, bass hung low, in an aural apocalypse of defiant energy. His music left deafening echoes in a thousand other bands in the following decades, thrilling some, angering others, and disturbing everything — like art is supposed to do.”
    Mark Andes’ work with Spirit plus several other bands stands out in my ear.
    Did I ever love Ian Dury and the Blockheads and Norman Watt Roy was half the reason.
    Lee Dorman of Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda (side one), Ball, and Metamorphosis albums are good early examples. Plus his Captain Beyond career.
    Jack Bruce’s Crossroads will make you a believer.
    Love the John McVie/Mick Fleetwood axis.
    Not my favorite Floyd, but Roger Waters’ Money stands the test of time.
    Honorable Bassist Award: Ray Manzarek of The Doors

  104. Limpi

    John Paul Jones 2nd????
    Paul McCartney 5th?????
    While ranking Jaco Pastorius 12th????????

    Is it a list of the greatest bass players or it is “just” about fame and being known?

    To learn to play The Beatles song’s bass correctly from zero would take weeks.
    Led Zeppelin? Months.
    Cream? Years.
    Weather Report? Decades. If you’re very talented. With average talent, centuries.
    Do you think I am wrong? Prove it!!!

  105. Don Miata

    not necessarily in that order, if you ask me, ranking them suggest that one is better than the other and sometimes that will be the case but by far not always, its also a matter of taste, prefered music style, many people pick the bassplayer of their favorite band, good or not, but overal im more happy with this list

  106. Don Miata

    not necessarily in that order, if you ask me, ranking them suggest that one is better than the other and sometimes that will be the case but by far not always, its also a matter of taste, prefered music style, many people pick the bassplayer of their favorite band, good or not, but overal im more happy with this list, sincerely Don.Miata

  107. Datta

    Leaving Ron Carter off the list is denying a significant portion of Jazz History.
    Loved the depth of many of the comments, going to have to buy some more music-very informative.
    One amazing player I didn’t see mentioned anywhere was Benny Reitveld, virtuoso Cuban bassist and arranger who played with Santana.

  108. Don Weisman

    Graham Maby…and Garry Tallent is underrated. He performs to the needs of his Boss’ songs, not standing out, but filling his role in a very professional band.

  109. Rory

    One thing most of these players, especially many in the top ten have in common is they don’t stay bound to what some fans and musicians think bassists should do. I have been a bass player for about 30 years and over the last 5 or 6 years re examined how I was playing and made some changes. One change was running through a couple of effects units. I currently play with a guitarist and drummer in an all originals group and often use cello sounds, delay, overdrive, whah and the like and we feel that makes us sound different than many of the bands we play with locally. In other words do something different and you will make a mark.

  110. rsully

    only one bassist that could keep up with alvin lee’s reverse zin riffs. check it out on you tube concert play backs. then decide for yourself who is a real bassist.

  111. Charles Thompson

    What a ridiculous effing list. Maybe for rock enthusiast this list is true but greatest.. this is a plainly biased list. Larry Graham at 26th!!! Victor is heads above every one else in your top 10 except Claypool. Paul Jackson (HeadHunters) isn’t even on your list. Louis Johnson at 43rd. This list is wacked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  112. John Michlik

    When I was a seventh grader in the fall of ’66, I started playing bass by copying anyone and everyone. Sir Paul was probably my most influential teacher. Besides him, Motown’s James Jamerson…Bob Mosely of Moby Grape played very beautiful, almost orchestral, bass lines…Jack Casady…Jack Bruce (obviously)…John Paul Jones, for power. As I got older I really came to admire Lee Sklar and John McVie for their solid few-frills bottom end. There are sooooo many good ones, and each one has their gifts: Michael Anthony, Flea, Bill Leen of the Gin Blossoms, John Lodge, Fran Sheehan, Ross Valory, Geddy Lee. I could be here all day :) I’m thankful for each of them, and all the other unsung heroes of bass.

  113. Kitty Galore

    Duck Dunn is far too close to the bottom of the list. And Roger Waters at #13? Looks more like a list on how popular the band is, not the quality of the player.

  114. Kevin McDonough

    I agree with the number 1 choice. John Entwhistle was the best bass player, ever. I believe that the number 2 choice, however should have been Jack Bruce. Donald ” Duck” Dunn should have been number 3. Paul McCartney was a great bass player, but as much as I respect him, I felt he was placed a bit high on the list, as far a bass player performance goes.

  115. Josephine

    And why is Mark Stoemer of the Killers not on this list? he is a superb bassist, listen to his base solo at the end of” Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine”, he is consistenly ace on a Killers tracks.

  116. Marco Antonio De La Cruz Lopez

    as always in your liste forget more than a thousand great bass players , and the 40 is too small and the ones aren´t all : Greg Lake , Mel Sacher, Tony Stevens, Roger Glover, Geezer Butler, Rick Grech, Leo Lyons,……the list continues

  117. Eddie Grady

    I’m sorry, but is this list the work of a complete lunatic?? I’m assuming so; James Jamerson, who virtually single-handedly INVENTED the concept of melodic bassline in pop music at 19?? Jaco Pastorius, who turned the instrument on its head and completely reinvented its use at number 12? No mention of Bob Babbitt whatsoever, no Chuck Rainey, no Anthony Jackson, no Abraham Laboriel, no Freddie Washington, no Andy Rourke, no Mick Karn, I could go on and on….

    I’m sorry, but any Top 50 list of bass players that has Flea in the top 3 has absolutely ZERO credibility!!

  118. Feasting.with.Panthers

    James Jamerson simply the best. Most of the others are simply following the trail blazed by Jamerson. Listen to “Bernadette” or his many bass lines for Motown – lines written on the spot, every verse a little different. Lying on the floor of the studio at 3am – too drunk to sit on his stool – to record “What’s Going On”. Jamerson!!!
    Bet most of you are unaware of the founding father of bass & his losing battle with alcohol.
    #19…an insult.

  119. Dr DAVE L

    This list is ridiculous! Paul McCartney in the top rungs-NAH! Entwistle- Top?-NAH. These two would have to queue up for Bass lessons from Jaco, Mark King, Mel Scacher(GFR) and Geddy!
    While each of us,especially those who play the Bass have their preferences in the style of music,there must be some MINIMUM standards to fulfill to enter this list.Many have more than done that, and still cannot find a place here.Others who may not be fit enough to be even called bassists,enjoy pole positions.I will not throw names-My favs can teach the likes of McCartney how to HOLD a bass guitar.One great consideration has been missed: Has anybody given due thought to Bassists who were their bands VOCALISTS ? These will SURELY be the true greats- So Geddy Lee, Mark King, Phil Lynnot(the late) etc will come out tops,while Paul McCartney can find some consolation being way down in this list(included because of his fabulous singing and voice only).

  120. Dr DAVE L

    I have just committed the greatest sin— I have failed to place THE LATE GREAT JACK BRUCE, as one of the best,if not the best Bassist/ Vocalists of all time in the above mentioned list. And yet he struggles to hold down a place in the mid reaches! There are too many great ones left out to mention here.Lets take this list for face value and easy reading and continue to love and listen to our own favourites! Long live the Bassist- – often called the “wife ” of the band- when she’s there,nobody bothers- when she’s not ,watch what happens!!!!!!!!!

  121. Chas Setterfield

    Reggae, now there’s a medium driven by bass & rhythm section. Aston Barrett, but no Robbie Shakespeare?

    Zappa: Always had bands made up from the creme de la creme of musicians, but not always the flashiest. So, how about Scott Thunes, Arthur Barrow….?

  122. Jon

    Billy Sheehan – No.22? – You cannot be serious – This guy could play the ass off most of the higher listed players – He is in a league of his own with string bending, 2 handed tapping etc etc – I mean, Lemmy at 20 – Like the material, but he’s no great bass legend!

  123. Alan Harris Kurzer

    Ray Shulman(Gentle Giant),Paul Samwell Smith(Yardbirds),Andy Fraser(Free), Billy Cox(Jimi Hendrix)Andy West(Dregs),Lonnie Turner(Steve Miller),Ralphe Armstrong(Jean Luc Ponty)….

  124. Zawinul

    Once again the “best of in any category” is so subjective why do people start this shit it proves nothing and what are you basing this on popularity, education, talent, creativity, or limited knowledge on your part? their are so many artists you have not heard of and it shows by not including them.

  125. Mike

    I’m amazed at the lack of knowledge regarding Paul McCartney’s innovative and pioneering bass playing. Without Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf and Buddy Guy, Clapton and Page would just be a couple of guitar players. You have to have lived thru the 60’s to recognize the impact McCartney had on all the other bass players behind him. You cannot judge him by today’s players, because without him, all the others would be buried low in the mix, melding with the drums. There was no other rock bass player doing what McCartney was doing at the time. That’s called innovation. Just listen to two Beatles songs: Paperback Writer and Rain. Turn up the bass. For a good essay on his career see http://abbeyrd.best.vwh.net/paulbass.htm

  126. Darryl

    Dudes,
    This is a tough and subjective list to comprise, but I had to throw in to this. First OF all I agree Mel from Grand Funk,( a band that doesn’t get the props they deserve), should be up here. I believe these 5 guys should be top 25:
    Dave Allen Gang of Four – Crazy funky driving bass. “Entertainment”
    Wilbur Bascomb – Session man. Jeff Beck “Wired”
    Robert Trujillo – Great dexterity. Metallica, Suicidal Tendencies
    Ron Carter – Jazz great. John Coltrane and Miles Davis and many others.
    Major Holley. A guy you don’t hear much about. Jazz bassist. Great with the bow on the double bass, (scats to the notes). “Mule” Listen to the song “Angel Eyes” the ending in particular is AWSOME.

  127. Darryl

    Mike,
    you’re on point about McCartney getting the bass sound up front early in the game. Great songs Paperback Writer and Rain displaying signature McCartney technique and sound. To that add “The Word”, “And Your Bird Can Sing”, and the his masterpiece of the style “TAXMAN”.

  128. Jedubass

    How could Jaco not be amongst the top ten? He should be number 1. Really! He’s done some much for the bass world. Where is Stanley, where is Richard Bona, Where is Talk Wikinfield? where is Bootsy?

    What kinda list is this?

  129. Dave

    Jon Camp from the 70’s Prog Rock band Renaissance should be on this list. The band, like many Prog bands of that era, the songs were long 10+minutes long, and was all about the keyboards and singer, but Bass was the lead string, guitar was just background rhythm. Few bands had a Bass player as the integral string melody.

    Listen to the first few songs (20 minutes) from this 1976 youtube concert. You can see how prominent his playing is; Outside of the angelic voiced Annie Haslem, Jon Camp is the only other player out front. Few Bass players work that hard on the frets and are that melodic. That type of playing is typical throughout the concert. Especially watch the 25+ minute “Ashes are Burning” starting at the 1:18:00 mark, where Jon Camp does a duet with John Tout’s Piano before breaking out in an extended bass solo at about 1:29:00 and plays the bass like a guitar.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onFiCvB2GOs

  130. Nuvo

    Hahahaha you can tell this list was made by a white guy,Flea number 3 lolol my ass James Jameson not on top 10 ? Jaco not in top 10 ? you should have made this best rock n roll bass players of all time.Cause you excluded Mingus,Bernard Edwards,Pino Paladino and a few others.And James Jameson played on 37 number one albums nobody else gets close to this accept maybe Sir Paul McCartney !! Not a good list at all.

  131. Daddy Dave

    Tina Weymouth? You’ve got to be kidding. I remember thinking when I first saw the Talking Heads that she was lucky to have friends who cared enough to be patient with her boring lines. She’s the luckiest girl in the world.

    1. tmcg

      Weymouth is pretty funky. Goes good with the sound of the band. I really love the bass lines. When they went increasingly world music it went even better. Boring I don’t get from it. She’s nice and loud and consistent too, it really adds the music.

  132. peter chrisp

    I have a couple more but as you suggest i guess they are not in the same ball park with the ones that have been listed above, but the bands that they were i consider legendary if not for their bass playing we have Free, Robin Trower, & Grand Funk, Andy Fraser & James Dewar & Mel Schacher

  133. dc

    NO ???? John McVie He should had been top ten , play strong go back and listen
    John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (1965–1967)
    peter green -Fleetwood Mac (1967

  134. joseph kirley

    What about the bombastic bass playing on what I consider to be one of the most energetic live albums ever, Grand Funk Live Album, witch features Mel Schacher on bass? I consider him to be severely over looked!

  135. JR

    No Keith Ferguson? Not completely legit list. Duck Dunn near 50? And you have Duff (G n R) in the top 20? Please. I guess it all depends on what the individual wants in music, and what they actually hear.

  136. Saw4fire

    Yeah, Jack Casady should not only be on the list, but should be very high on the list.

    Most of the players on the list would rate Jaco Pastorius at the top of the list. He changed how the instrument was played, just as Hendrix changed how the guitar was played.

    Two more missing names: Tal Wilkenfeld and Charlie Wooten.

  137. Another Jerry

    Andy Fraser, Greg Ridley…but without doubt the biggest omission is Peter Hook from New Order. The list may be American, but surely he has some exposure over there?
    Jah Wobble is worth a mention also.

  138. Glenn

    Another bullshit list based upon what, if you are going create such lists lets base it on criteria that people can put a score to.. PAul Mccartney a great bass player … hardly

  139. Patrick Longworth

    I admit I am not as familiar with bass players as I am with lead guitarists, even with my favorite band Survivor. Jack Bruce I am familiar with and generally I’ve been impressed with what little Cream I have heard. As for the Beatles, I am not so sure about the effect of the bass on the music. During his solo career, did/does McCartney still play the bass guitar or did/does he play lead for his songs, I wonder?

  140. Dave

    Chris Squire, Jaco pastorius, Charles Mingus, Ray brown, and James jammers should be in the top ten. They would totally shred many of the rock players listed. Another bass player you might have missed because the genre he plays – gospel music – Abraham Laboriel. Check him out. he is a killer bass player, endlessly inventive, driving,and creates killer sophisticated grooves.

  141. Matt

    Might want to consider flipping Bernard Edwards of CHIC with Flea. Edwards is worthy of the top spot, actually. Good call on Steve Harris… he is the driving force behind the true Gods of metal music.

  142. Dan Kibler

    My brother Bob Kibler, was one of the finest bass guitar players of all times. He gained the most noteriety when playing in a New York based band called Taxi. They backed up Gary U. S. Bonds, The Shirelles, Chuck Berry, etc. during a revival of the fifties and sixties. They also played in concerts with many current artists.
    Bob passed away at age 57. I’ll miss him forever.
    Love,
    Brother Dan

  143. Neak

    Probably should just list them alphabetically since ‘best’ is the most subjective word in the English language! Also should include an honerable mention list for those not quite at the list but instantly recognizable.

  144. Don

    Noel Redding is better than MOST of the ones you put up there………and he was doing it long before MOST of the ones you put up there………yet……he wasn’t up there…..he complimented Mitch Mitchell and Jimi beautifully……..Rainy Day……1983……..Crosstown Traffic……..all great stuff by Redding…….among the other 50 or so songs that could be added here !

  145. Mange

    This is total bull…
    Cliff Burton and Steve Harris better than Tony Levin, Phil Lynott and Billy Sheehan…? Rubbish.
    Tony Levin should be top 5.
    Billy Sheehan should be at least top 10 and that goes for Marc Anthony (Van Halen) as well…
    Phil Lynott was way better than Harris and Burton…

    And however much I lika Lemmy – he’s NOT top 50 on this list in my opinion… but he was the no. 1 on the “coolest dude”-list… ;-)

  146. Alex

    Missing: Peter Overend Watts by Mott The Hoople, Gene Simmons by Kiss, Trevor Bolder by Spiders from Mars, Raf Benson by Latoscuro, Faso by Elio e le storie Tese, And many others. I believe there are tons of great bass player all over the world better than the 50 on list, but are they popular? Or famous? Who did the riffs we all remember or we recognize just few notes? Another one bites the dust? I was Made for loving you? My generation? Who was a rock and roll star on stage?

  147. Bob Trezise

    I’ve gone down the entire reply list of this obviously celebrity driven list and I was perplexed to find no one mentioning the incredible Chris Hillman. Next time “Eight Miles High” crops up on your oldies station stop and take a listen. For the Byrds, the Burritos, Manassas and his own solo and Country career, Chris’ bass chops are incredible.
    And thanks to all the mentions of the incomparable Rick Danko of the Band. Most notable moment? Listen to the live “Don’t do It” from Rock of Ages. Brilliant.

    1. Mike

      Look most of these list that are on the web today are popularity contest of pop culture. We stopped educating out kids on music diversity a long time ago. So yes those with a broad range of understanding and experience would would never rank Jaco lower than 2nd.

      But remember this is a list compiled by people with a small amount of musical education and even smaller amount of experience.

      So base it off current “here and now” influence. I’m not surprised.

      Based on skill and creativity. Well the list is not even in the same reality.

  148. Nicolas Liautaud

    Jack Casady is clearly missing, and he should be high ranked. You can even see bassists in U2 or in McCartney’s Band playing on a Jack Casady Model on stage ! The article says “sometimes they step out into the spotlight, like Paul Mc Cartney, Lemmy, Sting or Roger Waters”. Let’s be honnets, they didn’t step out specilally because of their bass playing, they were all singers-songwritters in famous bands…

  149. Dennis Redman

    Hate these lists! They rarely get anything right. Jamerson for example, influenced many of the players listed above him. Technically Jaco would have to rate near the top. However I do not think his tone and sound has aged very well. I love Roger Waters, but do not think for one minute, he belongs on this list. I’m sure he would agree with me. Popular and greatest are not the same thing. Where’s Eberhard Weber?

  150. Rich

    David “Leo” Lyons, Ten Years After
    “Going Home”-My favorite Bass Riff of all time. Woodstock, The man deserves an award for keeping up with the late great Alvin Lee.

  151. Gregg H

    Tim Bogart is undoubtedly the greatest I ever heard live. Whoever made up this list never listened…I mean REALLY listened to any Vanilla Fudge or Cactus or Beck, Bogart, Appice….and Ronnie Woods??? Bass with the Jeff Beck Group w/ Rod Stewart and then guitar with Stewart and Faces and then the Stones?? Pretty versatile. I could name a dozen who belong on this list, as have others, BUT, not including Tim Bogart??? Come on

  152. Chris

    I have not read any of the comments to not be swayed:

    It’s mostly the right people, but it’s a popularity contest. The order is completely jacked. Victor Wooten is arguably the most technically accomplished of any living bass player on this list. And Jaco is the greatest who ever lived—he did more to shape the world of electric bass than anyone on this list. He is the gold standard, and has been since the late 70’s. Don’t get me wrong, I love Geddy and Entwistle, too—but I am sure they would agree that Jaco, Victor or Les could mop the floor with them.

  153. Mr. Lama

    Oh man ..you missed a lot, to name a few.. Richard Bona, John Patitucci, Jimmy Haslip, Stanley Clarke, Christian McBride, Gary Willis, Sean Malone, Esparanza Spalding, Avishai Cohen
    & there’s much more. Jaco should be in No.1.

  154. gary

    Im a bass player also, my brother played bass for the righteous brothers in the 60s and mack davis to name a few, my point is ive listened to a lot of bass players over the yrs. My two favorites are paul and peter, the beatles and chicago. Jason who took peters spot is great also, his dad was the b p for elvis. Dont forget the STYLE of the bass player is very important.

  155. JimiX

    Victor Wooten is nice but cannot play like Les Claypool in many ways. One is very technical and a bit boring and the other is a technical mutant of very strange music which can play such crazy solos which nobody could play today (just check his tommy the cat solos…). Flea is the most entretaining but his creativity is limited without John Frusciante and he usually play similar riffs.

  156. Eric Hall

    Paul McCartney number 5? You’re having a laugh!
    And Chris Squire only at number 16? That’s pretty hilarious too.
    And I’m disappointed that I didn’t make the list :-(

  157. blankend

    I am glad to see Entwistle at the top where he belongs. I also agree that Jack Casady is a glaring omission, and people seem to be underrating Paul McCartney’s contributions just because of his high profile as a Pop musician. Just listen to his workout on John’s ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ from Abbey Road. Like was mentioned, Paul really didn’t want to be a bass player, he just got assigned the role after Stu Sutcliffe, who couldn’t play bass, by the way, left the band in 61. Paul was actually a better guitarist than John, but John had a brand new Rickenbacker and he was the leader at that point, so Paul went to bass duty. As a guitarist, he winded up doing some interesting and progressive things at bass, much like Entwistle did with The Who.

  158. alexander morton

    I know he couldn’t compete technically with many on your list but as for being important in the history of our music he cannot be denied….Bill Black, the late eccentric double-bass player for the Hillbilly Cat, certainly deserves a mention.

  159. D.E. Ankele

    Classically trained rocker/jazz bassist, Jack Bruce is tops for me! Carol Kaye very impressive, but mostly in studio, she played on so many of the big hits. She is very high on my list as well. Look her up on YouTube. Cool to see all the top hits she played on, especially Motown.

  160. Jeremy Montague

    Glenn Cornick (Jethro Tull 1967-1970) should be on here IMHO … Bouree, Living In The Past, Teacher, To Cry You A Song, Nothing is Easy, Driving Song, Wonderin’ Aloud, A Song For Jeffrey, New Day Yesterday … great, great contributions to the art of rock bass!

  161. Doug Horspool

    The”Johns” are absolutely correct…Entwistle first, then John Paul Jones! I saw them both in concert three times and never was less than amazed! Missing is Paul Newton, the original bassist from Uriah Heep. Casady, Geddy Lee, the guy from Van Halen…meh! This coming from a long-time bassist.

  162. Mike

    Chris Campbell for his work in the silver bullet band
    Jim Kale for his work with The guess who and my favorite live album live at the paramount
    Tommy Caldwell for his work in the Marshall Yucker band

  163. Scott

    McCartney is the best. It’s not about HOW he plays; if so, this list should be populated by 50 unknown session bassists. It’s about WHAT he plays.

    And Steve Harris is shit.

  164. K_G_Gecko

    On my list I would slot in Dennis Dunaway from the original Alice Cooper Band in top 20. Give the Schools’ Out album (and others) a listen for some of the best rock bass work ever!

  165. P, F. Anderson

    This listis about half right. Still 50% is a FAIL! Yes agood case can be made for putting Entwistle on top. But a better case can be made forMcCarney, IF you are talking rock. But ya got jazz& other styles sprinkled iin there. You cannmot put Ray Brown and Stanley clarke ubder a phil Lynott for crying out loud! And you may only put Chris Squire below McCartnet & Entwistle in rock. But since you had to go & sprinkle other styles in there anda session guylike Sklar (who is too low), then where the heck are Edgar Meyer? Abe Laboriel?

    This list is skewed to havor hard rock and metal.

  166. Jim

    This list has obviously been made based on fame and poor research. Honestly Victor Wooten alongside Marcus Miller and Jaco pastorious and others should be at the top to say the least. I don’t think Paul McCartney could ever outplay those guys, not just Paul, he’s just an example but mostly all of them who are placed in top ten. Anyone whos not a bassist or know little about the bass and who weilds it, never use this list of bass players as a reference of who’s better than who. I hold nothing against the famous band bass players , I love their stuff but this list is not correct.

  167. Rev. Kelvin McKisic

    I don’t know who was surveyed and how you judged the meaning of best, but bassist number 12 through 32 would eat numbers 1 through 9 for lunch. To put Stanley Clarke at 17?! His bass skills actually surpass the skills of the 6-string guitar players for the bands in numbers 1 through 9.

  168. Ram

    everyone needs to understand this
    1.) Alex Webster-Cannibal Corpse
    2.) Alex Webster-Cannibal Corpse
    3.) Alex Webster-Cannibal Corpse
    4.) Alex Webster-Cannibal Corpse
    5.) Alex Webster-Cannibal Corpse
    6.) Alex Webster-Cannibal Corpse
    7.) Alex Webster-Cannibal Corpse
    8.) Alex Webster-Cannibal Corpse
    9.) Alex Webster-Cannibal Corpse
    10.) Alex Webster-Cannibal Corpse
    Alex Webster of Cannibal corpse skill wise in layman’s terms shit over all of your bass player full stop no argument he just wins by default he is a more skilled bass player than anyone need proof listen to Frantic Disembowlment

  169. Greg B

    Donald “Duck” Dunn should be in the top ten.

    And including Charles Mingus is just silly – not because he isn’t a great bassist, but because he is clearly the only jazz bassist you knew. So why even open that door? Where is Paul Chambers? Scott LaFaro?

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