The 10 greatest basslines of all time

Ah, the bassist: the member of the band that no one ever wants to interview (unless it’s Flea). They’re definitely the unappreciated middle child of the music world. So today, let’s right that wrong. Forget the guitar solo, because we’re here to celebrate all that is great about those basslines which are so bloody good they can ramp an average song up to colossal, foot-stomping heights. Here are my Top 10…


10 Daft Punk – ‘Around The World’
‘Around The World’ is pretty much the sound of basslines from the future. As soon as that fuzzier than an Ewok synth bass kicks in you’re instantly hooked and contentedly dancing in puddles of urine at festivals.

9 Interpol – ‘Evil’
‘Evil’s sinister opening bass drive has the instant Interpol stamp of approval. It’s simple, stylish and cool enough to stop global warming.

8 The Breeders – ‘Cannonball’
Yeah the distorted “oohing” and the tinkly drumming are pretty nice but 24 seconds in and you have one of the punchiest, basslines you’ve ever had the good fortune to slap you in the face.

7 Nancy Sinatra – ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin”
Jangly, walking bassline that oozes confidence. Shame Jessica Simpson killed it.

6 Nirvana – ‘Come As You Are’
It’s grungey, woebegone and it’s the first thing that was easy enough to attempt when we picked up a bass during the terrible teens.

5 New Order – ‘Blue Monday’
No greatest bassline list would be complete without Hooky, so logically he had to be on it twice. ‘Blue Monday’’s 7 minute hammering bassline is the stuff that has us staying in dingy indie clubs till closing time.

4 Lou Reed – ‘Walk On The Wild Side’
All the lyrics of transexuality, drugs, gigolos are kind of overshadowed by Herbie Flowers’ use of two, yes that’s right two, interlocking basslines. The double bass and fretless bass guitar that are meshed together make one of the most memorable walking bassline there is.

3 Talking Heads – ‘Psycho Killer’
The bass kicks in relentlessly stabbing away like a…well a Pyscho Killer. All credit to Tina Weymouth’s full-bodied bassline, which has provided rhythm for those who are about as able to bust a move as Screech from Saved By The Bell.

2 Joy Division – ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’
Yeah, Ian Curtis’ lyrics are the kind of thing we all scrawled across our desks at school, but what about the post-punk bass that drives the whole tour de force of emotion together? One of the most tear jecking basslines ever? We think so.

1 Pixies – ‘Debaser’

‘Debaser’ has the bassline that sends 20 minute guitar solos sobbing in the corner over their inadequacy. It’s a formidable, propulsive bassline that’s kind of on a par with trying your first Dib-Dab, just a pure sugar-rush.