100 Bass Lines You Should Analyze

In the previous article I talked about how I spent most of 2016 analyzing and transcribing bass lines looking to compile a reasonably comprehesnive list of devices (and secondary devices) used in rock and pop bass lines.

This task took me most of that year and I barely played as such outside of teaching commitments as all my "bass time" was devoted to this task.

I estimated once that I lookd in detail at either the whole bass lines or significant parts of the bass lines to just shy of 500 songs and have invested over 1000 hours doing this (going back to the original research in 2010 that I talked about with Cracking The Detroit Code).

I've also estimated that you can get most of the results I've got by analyzing around 100 songs.

To start to compile your own list of the most commonly used devices in rock and pop here are the 100 bass lines to songs I suggest you analyze (in no particular order) - there are commercially available transcriptions for a good number of these but some you'll have to transcribe yourself:

  1. Heatwave/Martha And The Vandellas/James Jamerson
  2. All My Loving/The Beatles/Paul McCartney
  3. Pride And Joy/Stevie Ray Vaughan/Tommy Shannon
  4. Isn't She Lovely/Stevie Wonder/Stevie Wonder (keyboard bass)
  5. Sweet Home Chicago/Blues Brothers/Duck Dunn
  6. Accidents Will Happen/Elvis Costello/Bruce Thomas
  7. Burning Love/Elvis Presley
  8. Statesboro Blues/The Allman Brothers/Berry Oakley
  9. Stuck In The Middle With You/Stealer's Wheel
  10. Only So Much Oil In The Ground/Tower Of Power/Rocco Prestia
  11. The Lemon Song/Led Zeppelin/John Paul Jones
  12. For Once In My Life/Stevie Wonder/James Jamerson
  13. Hotel California/The Eagles/Randy Meisner
  14. What's Going On/Marvin Gaye/James Jamerson
  15. What's Happening Brother/Marvin Gaye/James Jamerson
  16. Say What/Stevie Ray Vaugha/Tommy Shannon
  17. Bastille Day/Rush/Geddy Lee
  18. Roxanne/The Police/Sting
  19. Smooth/Carlos Santana/Benny Reitveld
  20. Carry On My Wayward Son/Kansas
  21. Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
  22. Losing My Religion/REM/Mike Mills
  23. You Oughta Know/Alanis Morisette/Flea
  24. Key To The Highway/Derek And Teh Dmonios/Carl Radle
  25. Go Your Own Way/Fleetwood Mac/John McVie
  26. Son Of A Preacher Man/Dusty Springfield/Tommy Cogbill
  27. Don't Let Me Down/The Beatles/Paul McCartney
  28. Anthem/Rush/Geddy Lee
  29. Hey Joe/Jimi Hendrix/Noel Redding
  30. Californication/Red Hot Chili Peppers/Flea
  31. The Thrill Is Gone/BB King/Jerry Jemmott
  32. All Along The Watchtower/Jimi Hendrix. (start with the live at Isle Of Wight version - bass by Billy Cox)
  33. Mrs Robinson/Simon And Garfunkel/Joe Osborn
  34. Teddy Bear/Elvis Presley. (or any rock and roll number from the mid to late 50s)
  35. Rain/The Beatles/Paul McCrtney
  36. Summer of 69/Bryan Adams
  37. Got To Get You Into My Life/Earth Wind & Fire/Verdine White
  38. Take It Easy/The Eagles/Randy Meisner
  39. Footloose/Kenny Loggins/Nathan East
  40. Get Up Stand Up/Bob Marley/Aston Family Man Barrett
  41. Mustang Sally/Wilson Pickett/Duck Dunn
  42. Rebel Rebel/David Bowie
  43. Wishing Well/Free
  44. Brown Sugar/The Rolling Stones/Bill Wyman
  45. Honky Tonk Woman/Elton John Live/Dee Murray
  46. Born To Run/Bruce Springsteen/Garry Tallent
  47. My Girl/The Temptations/James Jamerson
  48. September/Earth Wind & Fire/Verdine White
  49. In My Life/The Beatles/Paul McCartney
  50. Earth Blues/Jimi Hendrix/Billy Cox
  51. Pinball Wizard/The Who/John Entwistle
  52. Along Comes Mary/The Association
  53. Silly Love Songs/Wings/Paul McCartney
  54. Suspicious Minds/Elvis Presley (for extra credit transcribed and analyze the live version with Jerry Scheff on bass)
  55. I Shot The Sherriff/Eric Clapton/Carl Radle (also the Bob Marley original)
  56. The Chicken/James Brown/Bernard Odum
  57. Radio Radio/Elvis Costello/Bruce Thomas
  58. Something/the Beatles/Paul McCartney
  59. Hey Jude/Wilson Pickett/Jerry Jemmott
  60. True Love Can Be So Beautiful/The Jackson 5/James Jamerson
  61. Born Under A Bad Sign/Cream/Jack Bruce
  62. The Weight/The Band/Rick Danko (also the Aretha Franklin version wi Jerry Jemmott)
  63. I Put A Spell On You/Jeff Beck/Pino Palladino
  64. Fire/Jimi Hendrix/Noel Redding
  65. Further On Up The Road/Eric Clapton/Carl Radle
  66. Everyday I Write The Book/Elvis Costello/Bruce Thomas
  67. Sweet Home Alabama/Lynyrd Skynyrd
  68. China Girl/David Bowie
  69. Light My Fire/The Doors/Ray Manzerek (keyboard bass)
  70. I Heard It Through The Grapevine/Marvin Gaye/ James Jamerson
  71. I Heard It Through The Grapevine/Gladys Knight/James Jamerson
  72. Dock Of The Bay/Otis Redding/Duck Dunn
  73. 2112/Rush/Geddy Lee
  74. Proud Mary/Creedence Clearwater Revival
  75. Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting/Elton John/Dee Murray
  76. Long Train Running/The Doobie Brothers/Tiran Porter
  77. The One I Love/REM/Mike Mills
  78. Gimme 3 Steps/Lynyrd Skynyrd
  79. This Old Heart Of Mine/The Isley Brothers/James Jamerson
  80. Anything From THE RIVER/Bruce Springsteen/Gary Tallent
  81. Get Lucky/Daft Punk/Nathan East
  82. Lady Writer/Dire Straits. (also SoFar Away and Money For Nothing and Tunnel Of Love)
  83. Hello Goodbye/The Beatles/Paul McCartney
  84. Give Blood/Pete Townsend/Pino Palladino
  85. White Room/Cream/Jack Bruce
  86. China Grove/The Doobie Brothers
  87. It's A Kind Of Magic/Queen/john Deacon
  88. Ramble On/Led Zeppelin/John Paul Jones
  89. Sympathy For The Devil/Rolling Stones/Keith Richards(?)
  90. She Loves You/The Beatles/Paul McCartney
  91. Wild Nights/Van Morrison (also Domino)
  92. Can't Get Enough/Bad Company
  93. Highway To Hell/AC-DC/Cliff Williams
  94. Witchy Woman/The Eagles/Randy Meisner
  95. More Than A Feeling/Boston
  96. Rhiannon/Fleetwood Mac/John McVie
  97. Get Ready/The Temptations/James Jamerson
  98. Don't Stop Me Now/Queen/John Deacon
  99. Weather With You/Crowded House/Nick Seymour (also Don't Dream It's Over)
  100. Folsom Prison Blues/Johnnie Cash (also Ring Of Fire, Cry Cry)