With the news that former Ride and Oasis bassist Andy Bell is releasing some new material, we thought it might be a good opportunity to shine a light on the using heroes of the band, the bass players. Always a reliable engine room, you only have to listen to Motown classics to understand just what a bass can do. It drives the song, and forms an amazing rhythm section with the drums, but is also a melodic instrument all by itself. Bass playing is never as showy as lead guitar, which is why some players deserve a bigger light shone upon them. Here are some of the most underrated bassists out there.
Rush is certainly a band that either inspires sheer devotion or sheer hatred. But you can’t argue with someone like singer and bassist Geddy Lee. Rush is an influence on so many little quirky groups, not least bands like Primus, but also the musicians that took their hard rock template and stuck with that. Bass players like Gerard Zappa dealt in the lineage of the 80s anthemic rock template. While rock, in terms of Journey and REO Speedwagon certainly went in one direction, Rush was a group that always ploughed its own path and Geddy’s bass playing is melodic, rhythmic, and dealt with all of those complex time signatures deserves a round of applause.
Clearly, someone who never got his fair slice of the pie. Love or loathe metal music, Metallica were reeling after their original bassist Cliff Burton passed away. Jason Newsted was therefore viewed as a lesser member of Metallica, which is reflected in how he seems inaudible on his first album with the band, …And Justice For All. But he did an amazing job of picking up the rhythm for the band and was a solid part of the engine room and had to keep everything going when Lars Ulrich was not able to even keep time properly. The unsung hero of Metallica in every single way!
Not only a solid bass player but an amazing songwriter in his own right. Quietly dominating his corner of the most unique musical quartet, Queen, he embodied so much of the traditional stereotype of a bass player. Deacon was always quiet and lurked in the background, but his bass always provided an amazing sense of support whether it’s during the iconic piano-led verses of Bohemian Rhapsody, the McCartney-esque lines of Crazy Little Thing Called Love and, of course, the iconic riff that catapults Under Pressure. John Deacon is someone that brought the bass into the realm of guitar heroes in his own quiet and respectful manner.
John Paul Jones
The musician’s musician and the most underrated bassist ever. The fact is that people don’t appreciate how good he is. Constantly considered to be one of the greatest bass players of all time. With the galloping bass underpinning Achilles Last Stand, or the iconic sloping line from Dazed and Confused, there’s just too much to choose from!