HomeUncategorized50 Greatest Basslines of All Time: Consequence Bass Week

50 Greatest Basslines of All Time: Consequence Bass Week

Consequence’s Bass Week continues with a list of 50 Greatest Basslines of All Time. Don’t forget to check out our list of the 100 Greatest Bassists of All Time, and keep it locked here throughout the week for lists, artist-driven content, games, and more.

A good bassline is more than just a tune’s low-end or a rhythm section’s backbone. It can be the whole song, the root of the tree on which each melody grows. A good bassline is the moment you feel goosebumps because the bassist just took the whole thing down the octave. A good bassline is when the song begins with a line so memorable that you get excited for the rest of the band to come in. It’s the flourish that dominates an atmosphere, or the subtle moment of brilliance that can make a good track great.

Over the last 70-plus years of popular music, we’ve heard countless stunners. The explosion of soul, funk, and Motown led to the rise of players like James Jamerson, who topped our list of the 100 Greatest Bassists of All Time. The emergence of hard rock and metal gave us memorable basslines from Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, and Primus’ Les Claypool. And the most recent two decades have offered some of the greatest basslines in history, with countless musicians capitalizing on strong, active rhythm sections in the rock and pop worlds.

So, narrowing down the 50 best basslines was never going to be an easy task. For the purposes of this list, we’ve opted to keep the parameters in the sphere of popular music — meaning there are several influential jazz basslines that haven’t made the cut. That’s not to say those basslines weren’t “the best,” or that their impact levels have diminished. Like all pieces of music, each great bassline couldn’t exist without the trailblazers from before — the bass players who showed aspiring musicians that there are no limitations on their instrument.

Each of the basslines below have stuck with listeners over the years — the ones that are still giving us goosebumps. Take a ride down the fretboard with us and read below for our list of the 50 greatest basslines of all time, and listen to the full Spotify playlist after seeing what’s at No. 1. And if you want to learn more about the great bassists responsible for some of these lines, take a look at the rest of our Bass Week content here.

— Paolo Ragusa
Associate Editor

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