38 Bass Hooks You Must Listen To Before Next Sunday

Written by  on March 26, 2011 

As promised previously, I have assembled a laundry list of classic, influential, inspiring yet practical bass lines from the last 50 years, particularly ones that form the “hook” of the song.  The idea here isn’t to wow you with unachievable pyrotechnics, but to provide some alternatives to the usual quarter-and-eighth-note drivel that has come out of the mainstream worship scene in the last 10 years.  I’ve tried to include some examples from CCM & P&W recording where I was able to think of them.  Usual disclaimer: this is by no means a comprehensive list – how could it be? – but merely a list of specific bass lines that have inspired and influenced my own playing over the years, and I’ve added notes in the link tooltips (hover the mouse over the link) where there’s something particular to pay attention to. I hope that you can find things to learn from and apply easily to your current playing!

Note: I’m adding tunes as I think of more – there’s now more than 38!  Bonus tracks!


The Beatles (Paul McCartney) – Getting Better, Something, Come Together
Led Zeppelin (John Paul Jones) – Good Times Bad Times, Ramble On
Marvin Gaye (James Jamerson) – What’s Going On bass isolated version!
Jimi Hendrix (Noel Redding) – Fire

Led Zeppelin (John Paul Jones) – Dancing Days
Steely Dan (Chuck Rainey) – Josie
Doobie Brothers (Tiran Porter) – Takin’ It to the Streets (sorry, can only find live clips – you need to hear the studio version so you can hear the bass)
Aerosmith (Tom Hamilton) – Sweet Emotion
Joni Mitchell (Jaco Pastorius) – Hejira
Pink Floyd (Roger Waters) – Hey You

Bob Bennett (Gary Lunn)- Man of the Tombs
Paul Simon (Bakithi Kumalo) – Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
Peter Gabriel (Tony Levin) – Sledgehammer, Don’t Give Up
Tears For Fears (Pino Palladino) – Woman in Chains
The Police (Sting) – King Of Pain, When the World is Running Down
U2 (Adam Clayton) – New Year’s Day

Alice in Chains – Would? (Mike Starr), No Excuses (Mike Inez)
Dave Matthews Band (Stefan Lessard) – The Best of What’s Around
Toad the Wet Sprocket (Dean Dinning) – Walk on the Ocean, Fly From Heaven, Butterflies
Matt Redman – Can I Ascend (sorry, no video available)
Michael Card (Danny O’Lannerghty)- The Basin and the Towel
White Heart – Let the Kingdom Come (Tommy Sims), Unchain (Anthony Sallee)
PFR (Patrick Andrew) – Merry Go Round

New!  Radiohead (Colin Greenwood) – The National Anthem
New!  The Killers (Mark Stoermer) – Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
Muse (Chiris Wolstenholme) – Time is Running Out
Silversun Pickups (Nicki Monninger) – Panic Switch My band’s version!
U2 (Adam Clayton) – Vertigo
Death Cab For Cutie (Nick Harmer) – I Will Possess Your Heart, Summer Skin
Hillsong United (?) – Hosanna
Robbie Seay Band (?) – Hallelujah, God is Near

????????   Any suggestions from the last year or so?  Leave comments below!

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