The Greatest Bassists Of All Time – As Chosen By You

Kim Deal? Mani? Macca? Which four-string maestro gets your vote?

40 Mark Hoppus

Maybe not the most technical or revered of bass players, but there’s no denying the slinking pop-punk pull of bass lines like the one on ‘What’s My Age Again’. The Blink man’s a likeable bass legend.

39 Pino Palladino

His CV says it all.

38 Este Haim

Haim’s eldest sister is perhaps the most exciting new bassist of the decade – and not just because of her awesome gurning bass-face. Energetic and dynamic on stage, her lines are a integral part of the Cali sound.

37 Eric Avery

Avery began his career trying to emulate Joy Division’s Peter Hook, resulting in a musician with a creative and propulsive style which led him through Jane’s Addiction and tours with NIN and Garbage.

36 Chris Wolstenholme

From album to album, Chris has switched up his instruments and his style, using all manner of distortions. He’s to thank for bringing a heavier rock sound to the band pinned down by his muscular bass-playing.

35 Gene Simmons

The bass-wielding frontman of rock titans Kiss, Simmons is not just one of the genre’s biggest personalities, but one of it’s finest four-stringers.

34 Mike Watt

The Minutemen man’s a more cult figure than many on this list but his bass powers are just as persuasive.

33 Murdoc Niccals

It’s true – there’s a groove to those Gorillaz records, largely down to Murdoc, that’s key to their winning charm. We’re with you, Pete.

32 Carol Kaye

You might not know Kaye but you’ll know her elegant bass lines like the back of your hand. Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Scarborough Fair,’ The Monkees’ ‘I’m A Believer’ – session star Kaye played on all of them.

31 Gary Jarman

Can’t argue there. A true punk, Jarman’s bass playing is often violent and thrashy but he never misses a note or a beat.

30 Carlos D

Even though Interpol revealed that he actually disliked playing bass guitar a few months after he left the band in 2010, Dengler’s winning style – best evidenced on ‘Evil’ – was always cool and calm.

29 Lou Barlow

A star with both Dinosaur Jr and Sebadoh, Barlow’s reputation as an indie-rock hero is well deserved.

28 John Deacon

The solid foundation to Brian May’s more attention-grabbing guitar histrionics, Deacon’s reputation as one of rock’s good guys has only been enhanced by his refusal to take part in any Queen reformation without Freddie Mercury.

27 Squarepusher

Fusing live bass with throbbing electronica and jazz, in years to come this cult figure will be remembered as a ground breaker.

26 Bruce Foxton

True that. Foxton’s vibrant, inventive bass fret work gave the Jam the zest that made the mod champions.

25 Aston Barrett

The man who gave groove to Bob Marley – what else can we say? His delicious dub bass work for the Wailers are so crucial to their brilliant reggae warmth.

24 Leland Sklar

The missing link between Michael Jackson and Dolly Parton – Leland has played with them all. A master of his instrument.

23 Lemmy

Lemmy sounds like he’s swallowed razor blades, hammers his bass like there’s no tomorrow and keeps his riffs straight and powerful. What more do you want from a true rock star?

22 Alex James

The Blur bassist is perhaps the most iconic of British music in the 1990s. He had so many good lines: from the legendary ‘Girls & Boys’ to early B-side ‘I Know’. Despite spending more time with cheese these days, he’s still one of our favourites.

21 Chris Squire

A brilliant craftsman when it came to writing teasing bass lines. AND, as you can see from this photo, a snazzy dresser to boot.

20 Jenny Lee Lindberg

Warpaint’s master musical web-weaver, Jenny Lee Lindberg is one of this decade’s most beguiling bassists, proving that it’s not the top line that necessarily creates the most magical spell.

19 Charles Mingus

True Ella, but Mingus’ influence goes beyond jazz – everyone from Amy Winehouse to Flying Lotus credit him as an inspiration and understandably so. A soulful titan of his craft.

18 Nicky Wire

An enthralling performer and fierce political motormouth, the Manics man not only delivers the band their driving low end and onstage theatrics, but encapsulates the spirit of the Welsh group, too.

17 Krist Novoselic

Kurt became an icon. Grohl became an arena-filling mega star. But Krist was just as important to Nirvana, his dirty, sliding bass lines anchoring the grunge chaos around him. You’ve got to love his cheery smile too.

16 Phil Lynott

A popular suggestion among readers and rightly so. After stints singing for various bands, Lynott formed Thin Lizzy in 1969, becoming known for songs such as ‘The Boys Are Back In Town and ‘Jailbreak’ to which he brought a melodic, passionate style.

15 Colin Greenwood

Listen to the opening to ‘National Anthem’. Got the chills yet? Colin is to thank for some of the most glorious moments in the band’s lengthy career. He also plays other instruments. What a guy.

14 Les Claypool

Tapping, flamenco-like strumming, whammy bar bends, and slapping – nothing’s out of reach for the gifted Claypool, who’s bass lines stood at the centre of Primus’ idiosyncratic sound.

13 Andy Rourke

It’s the weaving bass work on ‘There Is A Light’ that does it for us Sean but point taken – Andy’s a stunning talent whose brilliance was a key part of the Smiths’ restless, kinetic energy.

12 James Jamerson

‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, ‘What’s Going On’, ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ – all Jamerson classics. An astonishing bass talent.

11 Tina Weymouth

Spot on, Brian – but don’t forget Tom Tom Club. Her bass line in ‘Genius Of Love’, with all its seductive slips and slides, made that a party anthem to be reckoned with.

10 Walter Becker

A technical virtuoso, Becker’s bass lines were complex but never for the sake of it or at the expense of melody. No wonder plenty of you suggested him.

9 Mani Mounfield

As if his groundbreaking sonics with the Roses didn’t give this affable Manc enough of a claim to legend status, he later became a member of Bobby Gillespie’s hellraising Primal Scream. A monstrously assured technique and endearing demeanour make him an indie hero.

8 Peter Hook

A huge character with even bigger bass lines, former Joy Division and New Order man Hooky is outspoken but on stage lets his fret work do the talking in the most staggering way.

7 Cliff Burton

You only need to look to ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ for proof of Cliff’s tidal, muscular brilliance on the bass. Sorely missed since his 1986 death.

6 Flea

Though the Chilis may not have the critical acclaim they once had, Flea’s talents at this point should be beyond debate. If his slap technique on songs like ‘Give It Away’ is too overbearing for you, try his amazing, more subdued Atoms For Peace contributions.

5 Jaco Pastorius

Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo’s personal hero, this jazz innovator, who worked with the Weather Report and Joni Mitchell, was a four string demon before his death in 1989, aged 35.

4 Kim Deal

We’re not sure her former band should be written off just yet, but it’s true Pixies’ aura seems dimmer since parting with the Breeders star. Simple, snaking, perfectly executed bass lines.

3 Paul McCartney

We’ll hand over to John Lennon (Playboy, 1980) for this: “Paul is one of the most innovative bass players … half the stuff that’s going on now is directly ripped off from his Beatles period.”

2 John Paul Jones

A bassist who needs little introduction. Jones’ bass riffs sparked off Page’s guitar with excellent, inimitable chemistry.

1 John Entwistle

Entwistle’s shuddering bass line in The Who’s ‘My Generation’ is perhaps the most genius moment of the band’s whole catalogue, giving it a dynamism and energy that brought it alive. A definite frontrunner for best of all time.